Jamaica Gleaner

Cour­tois sent off as Chelsea draw 2-2

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CHELSEA BE­GAN their Premier League ti­tle de­fence with a red card for goal­keeper Thibaut Cour­tois and a 2-2 draw at home t o Swansea on a frus­trat­ing open­ing day for the English cham­pi­ons.

José Mour­inho’s side twice had the lead, but paid the price for Cour­tois’ rash chal­lenge on Swansea striker Bafe­timbi Gomis as the France in­ter­na­tional raced through on the coun­ter­at­tack.

Ref­eree Michael Oliver had no hes­i­ta­tion in pro­duc­ing a straight red card and point­ing to the spot, al­low­ing Gomis to beat sub­sti­tute keeper As­mir Be­govic from the spot and make it 2-2.

Manch­ester United, seen as chal­lengers for Chelsea’s ti­tle this sea­son, needed an own goal to beat Tot­ten­ham 1-0 in the day’s early kick-off, while Clau­dio Ranieri’s Le­ices­ter beat Sun­der­land 4-2, and Crys­tal Palace earned a con­tro­ver­sial 3-1 win at Nor­wich.

There was no fairy­tale start to Bournemout­h’s first-ever sea­son in the English top flight, as the team slumped to a 1-0 de­feat to As­ton Villa at their 11,700ca­pac­ity sea­side sta­dium.

Wat­ford, pro­moted along with Bournemout­h at the end of last sea­son, were twice in front against Ever­ton be­fore hav­ing to set­tle for a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.

The big­gest game of the day was saved for last, though, as Chelsea came out for what was ex­pected to be a rou­tine vic­tory at Stam­ford Bridge.

HEC­TIC SPELL

In a hec­tic spell mid­way through the first half, Os­car put the hosts ahead in the 23rd minute, An­dré Ayew lev­elled in the 29th and Chelsea’s lead was re­stored with an own goal by Swansea de­fender Fed­erico Fer­nan­dez.

How­ever, ev­ery­thing changed within 10 min­utes of the restart, when Cour­tois felled Gomis as the France striker burst into the area on the break.

Gomis easily con­verted the penalty in the 55th minute and also had the ball in the back of the Blues’ net in the 68th, but the strike was ruled out for off­side.

Chelsea were not the only side that had to rely on an own goal yesterday.

At Old Traf­ford, Spurs de­fender Kyle Walker handed all three points to United by steer­ing the ball into his own net in the 22nd minute as he tried to tackle United cap­tain Wayne Rooney.

It was one of very few chances in a scrappy match which Louis van Gaal’s new-look United started with four pre-sea­son sign­ings.

Ser­gio Romero was in goal af­ter Van Gaal de­cided that Real Madrid tar­get David de Gea was not in the right frame of mind to play. Full­back Mat­teo Darmian, along with mid­field­ers Mor­gan Sch­nei­der­lin and Mem­phis De­pay, all made con­vinc­ing de­buts, and Romero im­proved af­ter some early signs of nerves.

Another of new United’s new sign­ings, midfielder Bas­tian Sch­we­in­steiger, re­placed Michael Car­rick on the hour mark.

“It was a very dif­fi­cult game be­cause you have seen t wo teams that want to press. So ev­ery player at the ball had a very small (amount of) time to play,” Van Gaal told BT Sport. “We didn’t keep the ball too much ... but we cre­ated a few chances.”

Le­ices­ter were the place to go for goals, where for­mer Chelsea coach Ranieri made an ideal start to his re­turn to the Premier League af­ter an 11-year ab­sence.

Jamie Vardy struck first with a header af­ter 11 min­utes, and Riyad Mahrez scored in the 18th and from the penalty spot in the 25th. Jermain De­foe and Steven Fletcher grabbed sec­ond-half goals for Sun­der­land, while Marc Al­brighton got Le­ices­ter’s fourth to seal the points.

Noth­ing went right for Nor­wich, which had a po­ten­tial equaliser dis­al­lowed in what be­came a heavy home de­feat.

Premier League ac­tion con­tin­ues on Sun­day with Ar­se­nal at home to West Ham, New­cas­tle host­ing Southamp­ton and Liver­pool away to Stoke.

 ?? AP ?? Chelsea’s Thibaut Cour­tois is shown a red card by ref­eree Michael Oliver dur­ing the English Premier League football match be­tween Chelsea and Swansea City at Stam­ford Bridge, Lon­don, yesterday.
AP Chelsea’s Thibaut Cour­tois is shown a red card by ref­eree Michael Oliver dur­ing the English Premier League football match be­tween Chelsea and Swansea City at Stam­ford Bridge, Lon­don, yesterday.

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