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Premier League

  • April 7, 2012
  • • 22:00
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: M. Jones
  • • Attendance: 40651

Chelsea 2-1 Wigan: Dramatic late Mata winner keeps Blues in Champions League hunt after controversial Ivanovic opener

Chelsea 2-1 Wigan: Dramatic late Mata winner keeps Blues in Champions League hunt after controversial Ivanovic opener

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Juan Mata snatches all three points for the Blues after Mohamed Diame scored what the Latics thought was a decisive late equaliser to cancel out the Branislav Ivanovic's strike

Juan Mata scored a priceless late winner as Chelsea saw off a brave Wigan side with a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge.

Mohamed Diame scored a stunning equaliser from 20 yards after Branislav Ivanovic had earlier headed in from a Raul Meireles cross just after the hour, but replays showed he was clearly offside as the ball was played in.

But Mata scored in stoppage time after a Fernando Torres volley hit the post and the former Valencia man was there to bundle in from close range.

It was Chelsea’s second Premier League victory on the spin after last week’s 4-2 triumph over Aston Villa and their fourth in succession over the Latics, moving them back above Newcastle into fifth place in the Premier League.

Roberto Di Matteo made wholesale changes from midweek as Gary Cahill replaced captain John Terry, who has cracked ribs. Didier Drogba started ahead of Fernando Torres, Ryan Bertrand came in for the injured Ashley Cole, while Raul Meireles, Daniel Sturridge and Florent Malouda also started.

The Latics were unchanged from last week’s win over Stoke, meaning Franco Di Santo started against his former club, while Diame returned to the bench after sitting out the last two games with a groin injury.

It was a slow start at Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea were the first to press forward with David Luiz, who made one of his trademark driving runs forward and drew a foul off Di Santo, but the free-kick came to nothing as Wigan were able to clear.

The Blues tried to impose themselves, moving the ball around well, and Ivanovic eventually won a free-kick after Maynor Figueroa’s late challenge outside the right-hand side of the area, but Drogba was unable to make a good connection with Mata’s cross.

Bertrand showed some skill on the left early on, swinging over a superb cross which fell to Malouda, but his volley was poorly timed and it ended up rolling out for a throw-in.

Meireles then won a corner which Wigan managed to clear, but Chelsea retained the ball and it was eventually worked to Cahill, who unleashed a rasping 30-yard drive which was heading for the top corner until Al-Habsi parried

93' GOAL!! Mata turns it home for Chelsea!! Drogba picks out Torres at the far post, and he rasps a volley off the far post only for Mata to bundle the ball home.

Wigan were well in the game halfway through the first half though. Moses had an impressive 45 minutes, and on the 23rd he turned round Bertrand before hitting a low 25-yard strike, but it was easily dealt with by Cech.

Chelsea moved up the other end moments later as the game’s tempo increased, Drogba shrugging off a challenge before fizzing a low effort just wide of the post.

But Wigan continued to impress, with Moses showing good movement. He worked it wide to Maloney who ran into the box and won a corner off Cahill, which Gary Caldwell headed over.

The Blues then had an excellent chance to take the lead 10 minutes before the break. Drogba slotted through Mata with a fine pass, who cut inside the defender but was denied by Al-Habsi, whose parry fell to Drogba, but his header was cleared off the line by Figueroa as the Latics held Chelsea at the break.

Wigan came out strongly, and the first opening of the second half fell to Emmerson Boyce, who flew in late to meet an excellent Jean Beausejour cross, but he was unable to direct the header and it flew well wide.

Chelsea finally came into the half nine minutes in. The ball fell to Mata on the edge of the area and he chipped over to Drogba, who unleashed a low left-footed effort at goal, drawing another excellent save from Al-Habsi.

The Blues began to turn the screw, enjoying a spell of possession. The ball fell to Sturridge on the edge of the area, but the young winger slipped as he shot and it flew well over.

Di Matteo then threw on Torres just before the hour, with the Spain striker joining Drogba up front in a partnership which has proved unsuccessful so far.

Ivanovic then won a free-kick and Mata’s cross was cleared by the Latics defence, but the ball came out to Meireles who played a first-time ball back in, and Ivanovic was there to head home from what appeared to be a clear offside position, but the goal stood and Chelsea took the lead.

Wigan nearly equalised immediately as Moses tried to round Cech, and the keeper’s clearance fell to Di Santo who shot first time, but Ivanovic was there to clear off the line to protect the lead he just provided.

As the game moved into the final 20 minutes, Martinez made two changes for Wigan, bringing on Diame and Ben Watson for Beausejour and James McCarthy as they searched for a leveller.

Mata had a glorious chance to double Chelsea’s lead soon after as Drogba headed on a long kick from Cech, but the Spaniard blasted high and wide from the edge of the box.

Drogba slipped a pass through to Sturridge moments later, and the England international tried an audacious effort from a tight angle, but put it well wide, much to the frustration of the Stamford Bridge crowd.

Wigan started to press in the final 10 minutes and enjoyed a decent spell of possession. Diame received the ball 20 yards out, doing well to provide himself a small amount of space and unleashing a ferocious drive into the corner which Cech could only watch fly in.

Kalou then had a golden opportunity to win it for the Blues late on as he received the ball in acres of space in the area from a Torres cross, but he shanked a low effort harmlessly wide.

However, with the points looking certain to be shared, Mata won the game for Chelsea in stoppage time, bundling the ball home when Torres volleyed low against the post.

Torres nearly made it 3-1 in a one-on-one, but Al-Habsi was able to match it as Chelsea saw out the final moments to earn the win.

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