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Rediff.com  » Sports » EPL: Chelsea held 3-3 by Villa in thriller

EPL: Chelsea held 3-3 by Villa in thriller

Last updated on: January 02, 2011 22:48 IST

An extraordinary last 10 minutes at Stamford Bridge saw Chelsea fight back from 2-1 down to lead Aston Villa 3-2 only for the champions to gift the visitors an injury-time equaliser on Sunday.

After Didier Drogba made it 2-2 in the 84th minute, defender John Terry scored his first league goal for a year to send the home fans wild.

Yet barely before most of them had retaken their seats, Chelsea's defence went to sleep to allow Ciaran Clark a free header from point-blank range to change the atmosphere again.

When the dust settled it meant Chelsea had taken just 10 points from the last 30 available. They remain in fifth place in the English Premier League on 35 points, one behind Tottenham Hotspur and four behind Arsenal. Manchester United and Manchester City lead the way with 41 points.

"I'm disappointed because we worked very hard in the second half to come back into the game when 2-1 down," Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, told Sky Sports.

"We did a fantastic job. We came back and scored to make it 3-2 and everyone thought the game was finished. We needed to be focused, we needed to play another five minutes.

Aston Villa's Richard Dunne is ecstatic after teammate Ciaran Clark (right) scored the injury-time equaliser against Chelsea on Sunday"We are improving, we have more confidence but we needed to win this game. We didn't and now it's more difficult to prepare for the next game."

Both Chelsea and Villa went into the match on a poor run, and both teams looked nervy in the first half.

Chelsea went ahead with a Frank Lampard penalty after 23 minutes but Villa levelled with their own penalty, by Ashley Young, just before half-time.

An Emile Heskey header put the visitors ahead two minutes after the restart, and after Brad Friedel made three great saves it looked as if Villa would hold on for a morale-boosting win.

The American keeper did well again to block a Drogba shot after 84 minutes but the striker forced the rebound through three defenders to make it 2-2.

Terry then seized on another rebound to shoot home what he and most of the stadium thought was the winner in the 89th minute.

However, Chelsea inexplicably allowed Clark to ghost in unmarked to nod in Marc Albrighton's cross.

"We just kept fighting back today and hopefully we can kickstart our season from here," Friedel said.

"We've had many chats but there is a time when the talking just has to stop, and I thought the boys showed some true grit and determination. Today was just about grinding out something. There was a different feel about us today."

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