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Soccer PIX: Chelsea held to 0-0 draw by Brighton

April 21, 2021 09:57 IST
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Images from the football matches played across Europe on Tuesday.

Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech in action

IMAGE: Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech in action. Photograph: Chelsea FC/Twitter

Chelsea laboured to a 0-0 draw at home against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Tuesday, a match overshadowed by reports that the Blues had ditched their plan to join the breakaway European Super League.

In a setback for Chelsea's push to qualify for next season's Champions League -- the competition they had controversially planned to snub -- the hosts failed to find a way through the well marshalled defence of relegation-threatened Brighton.

Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel was left to voice his frustration loudly in his native German as his expensively assembled team saw every attack easily mopped up by the visitors' back line led by captain Lewis Dunk.

 

Tuchel said his team had been distracted by the outpouring of anger at the breakaway plan.

"I was affected so I think the players were affected. We talk of nothing else but Super League before the match," he told the BBC.

"Nobody asked about the match before. It is like this. You have to accept the distraction.

"We made big mistakes, looked tired, mentally tired," Tuchel said. "We did not deserve to win which is maybe for the first time since I come here."

Brighton substitute Adam Lallana wasted a glorious chance when he pounced on an error by Chelsea centre back Kurt Zouma but fired wide in the 77th minute.

Danny Welbeck struck a post two minutes later with a shot from outside the box as Brighton pushed for a shock win.

Brighton defender Ben White was sent off for a second yellow card in the 92nd minute.

"We had a couple of chances at the end," Lallana told Sky Sports.

"I should have buried mine. That is what football is about - the underdogs coming here tonight. We were outstanding and should have taken three points."

The draw pushed Chelsea up into fourth place and into the Champions League qualification spots but only on goal difference above West Ham United who they are due to visit on Saturday.

Chelsea are also still in contention to lift the FA Cup and Champions League trophies.

It was the 15th clean sheet in 20 games for the Blues since Tuchel took over from Frank Lampard in January.

Brighton remained in 16th place, seven points ahead of Fulham who occupy the highest of the relegation spots.

The game lacked the drama seen outside Stamford Bridge before the match where hundreds of angry Chelsea fans demonstrated against the club's plan to join the ESL.

The protests turned to celebrations as media reported that Chelsea had begun the process of withdrawing from the breakaway league with fans singing: "We've got our club back."

Bayern within reach of title with 2-0 victory over Leverkusen

Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting celebrates on netting Bayern's opening goal.

IMAGE: Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting celebrates on netting Bayern's opening goal. Photograph: Bayern Munich/Twitter

Bayern Munich eased to a 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday with two early goals to open up a 10-point gap at the top of the Bundesliga as they moved to within one win of securing a record-extending ninth straight league crown.

Bayern have endured a turbulent seven days following their Champions League quarter-final exit to Paris St Germain and coach Hansi Flick stating his desire to leave the champions at the end of the season despite being under contract until 2023.

Yet it did not take long for the hosts to score and forward Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting, replacing the injured Robert Lewandowski, netted for the third straight game as he volleyed in to give Bayern the lead in the seventh minute.

Joshua Kimmich doubled their advantage six minutes later, firing in following a bad Leverkusen clearance before they took their foot off the gas.

Leverkusen hit the crossbar late in the game but the result all but kills off any lingering hopes of a top-four finish for them. Leverkusen are on 47 points in sixth place.

With four games remaining, Bayern, on 71 points will seal the title with a win over Mainz 05 on Saturday.

Second-placed RB Leipzig had earlier slumped to a shock 2-1 loss at struggling Cologne to bury their title hopes.

Eintracht Frankfurt moved up to third place with a 2-0 victory over Augsburg on 56 points, two ahead of VfL Wolfsburg, who are in action against VfB Stuttgart on Wednesday.

Borussia Dortmund are fifth on 49 with the top four teams qualifying for the Champions League group stage.

Watford on the brink of promotion after beating Norwich

Watford put Norwich City's Championship title celebrations on hold after a 1-0 away win that left them on the brink of automatic promotion to the Premier League on Tuesday.

Dan Gosling's 57th-minute goal earned the visitors the points to put Watford nine points clear of third-placed Swansea with three games remaining and a massively better goal difference.

Already-promoted Norwich have 90 points to Watford's 85 with Swansea, who lost 1-0 to Queens Park Rangers at the Liberty Stadium, on 76 with three games remaining.

Lyndon Dykes scored in the 89th minute with his sixth goal in seven games to send QPR eighth.

Fourth-placed Brentford's slim automatic promotion hopes were all but dashed as they were held to a 1-1 home draw by Cardiff City to continue their slump in form.

The Bees, who suffered a late season collapse before losing to Fulham in the playoff final last season, have 75 points with four games to play, with Bournemouth on 74 and Barnsley on 71.

At the bottom, last-but-one Sheffield Wednesday staved off relegation for another day after beating Blackburn 1-0 while Wayne Rooney's Derby County remained in danger after a 3-0 hammering at Preston.

Derby are on the edge of the drop zone, four points clear of Rotherham United -- who have three games in hand -- and Wednesday, whose hopes were kept alive by Josh Windass's deflected winner.

Wycombe Wanderers are bottom, five points behind Wednesday.

Schalke relegated after 1-0 loss at Bielefeld

Schalke 04 were relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time in 33 years on Tuesday after losing 1-0 to fellow strugglers Arminia Bielefeld to stay in last place, 13 points off the relegation playoff spot with only four matches remaining.

Fabian Klos's powerful 50th-minute strike sealed the fate of Schalke, who have managed only two wins in the entire season. It was another lacklustre performance from Schalke who never really threatened.

The visitors were left with 10 men when Malick Thiaw was sent off for a second booking in the 71st minute and keeper Ralf Faehrmann had to save a penalty in the 80th.

On the final whistle Schalke players were left crying, swearing or just looking on in complete shock.

"This is a very bitter hour for all Schalke supporters," said Schalke coach Dimitrios Grammozis, who took over last month.

"We are brutally disappointed that we now know for certain that we have to go to the second division. Despite this disappointment we have to look ahead and field a team that will make our fans proud once more."

Having gone through five coaches in the current campaign, Schalke have conceded 76 goals, more than any other team in an entire season since 2000.

Earlier in the season they narrowly missed equalling the worst run in Bundesliga history by a game, having gone 30 consecutive league matches without a win.

The Royal Blues, among the most fiercely supported clubs in Germany with a usual average attendance of over 60,000 per game, were relegated three times in the 1980s -- the last time in 1988. Overall it was their fourth relegation.

They enjoyed more success in the following decades, winning the UEFA Cup in 1997 and reaching the Champions League semi-finals in 2011.

The seven-time champions have never won the Bundesliga since the introduction of the top division in 1963 with their last German league title dating back to 1958.

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