CHELSEA 1- 1 BURNLEY…IS RACISM BY FANS ABOUT TO BRING CHELSEA DOWN?

CHELSEA 1- 1 BURNLEY...IS RACISM BY FANS ABOUT TO BRING CHELSEA DOWN?

League leaders Chelsea drop two points
Ivanovic scores but Blues denied two penalties
Nemanja Matic sent off for Chelsea
Burnley equalise with Ben Mee goal

Chelsea had Nemanja Matic red-carded as the Premier League leaders were held to a draw by relegation-battling Burnley.

Branislav Ivanovic put the Blues ahead when he slotted in Eden Hazard’s cross.

An Ivanovic shot struck Michael Kightly’s arm and Diego Costa was pushed by Jason Shackell as the home side had two penalty appeals rejected.

Matic was dismissed when he reacted angrily to a challenge from Ashley Barnes and Burnley capitalised when Ben Mee headed in a late corner.

Midfielder Matic was furious at Barnes’ 70th-minute challenge, in which the Burnley forward won the ball but caught him high up on his shin with studs showing.

The Serbian pushed Barnes to the ground but his exit left the way open for Burnley to level and then even go close to a winner when Danny Ings shot high in the final moments.

Matic is now set to miss the Capital One Cup final against Tottenham on 1 March, as well as league games against West Ham and Southampton.

The draw will give hope to Chelsea’s title rivals Manchester City, who will try to reduce the gap at the top to five points with a win over Newcastle in the 17:30 GMT kick-off.

It looked like it would be a routine home win for Chelsea when right-back Ivanovic’s fourth goal in six games gave them the lead.

Juan Cuadrado recovered possession for the Blues and found Hazard, who wonderfully jinked past two defenders before pulling the ball back for Ivanovic to slot in from close range.

This was proving a more of a business-like than a buccaneering Chelsea performance but, nevertheless, they had two appeals for penalties rejected by referee Martin Atkinson.

First, an Ivanovic shot struck the raised arm of Kightly and then Costa appeared to be pushed over by Shackell as the Burnley defender tried to make up for giving the ball away to the Spain striker.

Those decisions proved crucial as the hard-working visitors made the most of Matic’s dismissal with defender Mee’s far-post header earning them a point as they moved up a place to 18th in the table.

The draw for Chelsea comes at the end of a difficult week. The Blues had drawn 1-1 at Paris St-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday but the aftermath has seen them deal with the fallout of a small group of their supporters preventing a black man from boarding a train in the French capital before the match.

The club has since banned five fans and, with Saturday’s game having already been designated as Chelsea’s annual Game for Equality before the midweek incident, it gave the Stamford Bridge side a chance to show further its stance against discrimination.

The home players had ‘Building Bridges’ written on their shirts, while there was a banner reading ‘black or white, we are all blue’.

BBC FOOTBALL

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