EPL leader Chelsea held 1-1 by Burnley after Matic sent off
LONDON (AP) — Chelsea was surprised by relegation-threatened Burnley on Saturday, conceding a late goal after Nemanja Matic was sent off in the 1-1 draw. Chelsea lead in the English Premier League was cut to five points.
After Branislav Ivanovic gave Chelsea the halftime lead, Ben Mee headed in from a corner in the 81st minute to earn Burnley a valuable point.
The corner came after Ashley Barnes’ low strike was saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Barnes, though, escaped punishment in the 70th for a dangerous-looking high challenge on Matic, who angrily pushed the Burnley striker and received a straight red card.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was clearly unhappy — as he was in the first half when two penalty claims were dismissed. Michael Knightly handled to block Ivanovic’s shot in the 33rd, and Chelsea striker Diego Costa was shoved over by Jason Shackell in the 43rd. Barnes also avoided any sanction in the 30th for fouling Ivanovic.
“I am not in a mood to laugh,” Mourinho said.
The day got worse for Mourinho when second-place Manchester City beat Newcastle 5-0 to trim Chelsea’s lead to five points.
Chelsea started assertively against Burnley at Stamford Bridge, which was coincidentally celebrating diversity and equality day after Chelsea fans were involved in a racist incident in Paris.
When Chelsea went in front in the 14th, the host was in complete control and appeared set to strengthen its grip on top spot. Eden Hazard skipped through the defense unchallenged before reaching the byline and cutting the ball back for Ivanovic to clip in.
But decisions went against Chelsea, and striker Diego Costa managed just one shot on target on his domestic return after completing a three-game ban.
It was only the second time this season Chelsea has dropped points at home after being held by City in September.
Mourinho had to contain his fury over referee Martin Atkinson’s decisions, having been fined and warned by the English Football Association recently for claiming officials were influenced by a “campaign” against the club.
“This game had four crucial moments — minute 30, minute 33, minute 43, and minute 69, and this is the story of this game,” Mourinho said.
“I am punished when I refer to these situations, and I don’t want to be punished,” he added.
But Mourinho did suggest Atkinson should have sent Barnes off long before the second-half incident for the challenge on Ivanovic.
“Minute 69 has a big relation with minute 30 because the player, if I can call him a player, who was involved in minute 69 was involved in 30,” Mourinho said. “And normally minute 31 (Barnes) should be in the shower.
“So no minute 69 if the person in charge (Atkinson) does it in the proper way on minute 30.”