Ba strikes cru­cial win­ner as Chelsea beat Swansea

Daily Trust - - SPORT -

Chelsea gained a gritty 1-0 vic­tory over a re­silient Swansea side that had been re­duced to play­ing with 10 men for most of the game.

Chico Flores’ red card halted the hosts’ strong start, but Chelsea strug­gled to im­pose them­selves as they put in a dis­jointed per­for­mance and wasted the chances they cre­ated, be­fore Demba Ba fi­nally got the all-im­por­tant goal in the sec­ond half.

Chelsea should have taken the lead in the open­ing min­utes af­ter Branislav Ivanovic’s cut­back found Mo­hamed Salah, but the Egyp­tian side­footed wide from just a few yards out to send one of the best chances of the game go­ing beg­ging.

Swansea were en­joy­ing the bet­ter of the first half, how­ever, with Jonjo Shelvey first wast­ing an ex­cel­lent open­ing with a poor cross be­fore a tow­er­ing Wil­fried Bony header was well-saved by Petr Cech. But things were about to get a lot worse for the hosts.

Chico ended up in the book with a cyn­i­cal foul to deny a Chelsea counter-at­tack, and just two min­utes later the Spa­niard brought down An­dre Schur­rle as he ad­vanced down the left flank with a poor chal­lenge. Phil Dowd hes­i­tated, but in the end pro­duced a sec­ond yel­low for the cen­tre-back to bring the hosts down to 10 men.

De­spite the nu­mer­i­cal ad­van­tage, Chelsea could not make it count and strug­gled to put real pres­sure on the Swansea goal. Salah had an­other fine chance just be­fore half-time, but con­trived to blaze over the bar from just 10 yards out.

Mour­inho re­acted by mak­ing two half-time changes, bring­ing on Os­car and Sa­muel Eto’o for Schuer­rle and Ramires, and the vet­eran striker had a golden op­por­tu­nity not long into the sec­ond half. Ash­ley Wil­liam’s botched clear­ance saw the ball fall right to him just 10 yards out, but he con­trived to drill it wide with the goal gap­ing.

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