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21:37 6th April 2012


Superb Latics stunned by dramatic late winner

Chelsea 2
Ivanovic 62
Mata 90+2

Wigan Athletic 1
Diame 82

Report by Nick Taylor

Latics looked destined to come back and win a game that saw them controversially go behind to a goal judged not to be offside but, just as they had the chance to win it Chelsea countered and Juan Mata scraped a victory for the home side.

The excitement all came in the second half and Stamford Bridge was set alight by two sides determined to take all three points. It saw potentially one of the goals of the season from Mohamed Diame who let fly from outside the area.

Roberto Martinez kept the faith in his side that beat Stoke City last week and made no changes but, Diame returned to the bench.

Latics' mission at the Bridge was simple, take the game to Chelsea.

They did that from the off and Chelsea old boy Franco di Santo looked up for it as he hounded the defence and chased every ball.

The Argentinian and his forward partner Victor Moses had the hosts back pedalling when they ran with the ball and looked promising.

Chelsea had the better chances of the first half, forcing Ali Al Habsi to make a string of excellent saves.

The first came after 19 minutes when Gary Cahill felt lucky from all of 30 yards.

The defender let rip towards the top corner but, the Omani keeper pulled off a sensational save to tip the ball over.

Al Habsi then had Maynor Figueroa to thank.

The keeper pulled off a great close range effort from Mata but, the ball rebounded to Didier Drogba who had an open goal to aim at.

In came Figueroa from out of nowhere to smash the ball clear.

Right on the stroke of half time Al Habsi was at it again when Drogba rose above the defence to head a Ryan Bertrand cross goalwards.

It was a world class header and an even better save as Latics' number one stopper leaped into the top corner to save once again.

After half time it heated up even more, especially the controversy.

As Latics looked to defend a free kick quite easily, the ball was looped back over the defence and Branislav Ivanovic did the honours from yards out.

But, it was the yards that caused the issue for Latics.

The players were left seething as the Serbian was at least three yards offside.

The officials took no notice of their claims despite being berated by the away side.

It may not have been deserved but, it gave Chelsea a real boost as they looked to add to their tally.

The slippery surface at Stamford Bridge played its part in keeping the score at 1-0 as Fernando Torres found himself through twice but, lost his footing and hit the floor.

Then came the push for an equaliser.

On came Diame and Ben Watson and the Senegalese midfielder hit a game changing shot.

As Chelsea cleared the ball deep from their defence, Antolin Alcaraz calmly chested the ball down and ran into the opposition's half.

He slipped the ball into Diame's feet and from out of nowhere the ball was lashed into the top corner as Cech looked on.

There was nothing the keeper could do about it and the travelling support went into raptures.

The excitement wasn't over there.

First Conor Sammon had the chance to head home a winner but didn't gamble on a Figueroa cross and then Gary Caldwell had the chance to seal it when he got free at the back post with a header.

The ball was blocked at the last moment and Chelsea hit Latics on the counter.

Then came the heartbreak for the away side as Torres hit a shot across goal from inside the right of the area.

It cannoned back of the post and fell fortunately to Mata who did the honours for Chelsea.

Despite defeat, Latics will take a lot of pride from their performance and if it wasn't for the controversial opener who knows what might have happened.

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Essien (Mikel 73), Mata, Drogba, Malouda (Torres 59), Meireles, Sturridge (Kalou 82), Cahill, Bertrand
Unused Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Bosingwa, Ferreira

Wigan: Al Habsi, Alcaraz, McCarthy, Figueroa, Caldwell, Di Santo (Sammon 79), Maloney, Moses, McArthur (Watson 70), Boyce, Beausejour (Diame 70)
Subs: Kirkland, Crusat, Gomez, Stam

    Data provided by Press Association