Aston Villa 2-2 Chelsea Gallagher rescues draw at Aston Villa but Chelsea fume over disallowed goal

Perhaps the underlying reason for Mauricio Pochettino flanking Craig Pawson as the referee headed down the tunnel was the nagging sense that Chelsea should, really, have recorded an extraordinary comeback win long before Axel Disasi’s 95th-minute header was ruled out after the video assistant referee intervened.

By then Aston Villa, pushing to pip Tottenham to fourth place, had squandered a two-goal lead and badly faded. Disasi headed in off the underside of the bar after Chelsea recycled a corner but Benoît Badiashile gave Diego Carlos a crude bump in the buildup. Pawson may have missed it the first time but, this time, the review was only going to end one way.

Noni Madueke dragged Chelsea back into the contest soon after the hour before Conor Gallagher, seemingly inspired by the captain’s armband, located the top corner with a beautiful strike with nine minutes of normal time to play. Madueke and Badiashile were booked for their protests at the officials after the final whistle, with Chelsea’s assistant manager, Jesús Pérez, pulling players away from the scene. Toni Jiménez, Chelsea’s goalkeeping coach, ushered Cole Palmer, back from illness, away. “In this situation it is really painful as it has damaged English football, the image [of the game],” Pochettino said of Chelsea’s disallowed winner. “If every single challenge like this is a foul we won’t finish with 11 players in any game. These types of decisions are damaging the game.”

Villa’s players were also deflated and traipsed down the tunnel after surrendering two points. Unai Emery banged the pristine red turf in front of the home dugout after Morgan Rogers scored Villa’s second goal on 42 minutes but his evening ended in frustration. Ollie Watkins skied a rare second-half opening, blazing over close to the penalty spot with a couple of minutes left. The substitute Jhon Durán sent a header on to the roof of the net with almost the last action. Villa can only hope they do not look back on this as a costly slip in the race for the top four.

Morgan Rogers celebrates his goal against Chelsea.
Morgan Rogers doubled Aston Villa’s lead in the first half

After the pummelling by Arsenal on Tuesday, Pochettino sought a reaction but his team trailed with fewer than four minutes gone. Villa shifted the ball from right to left and Pau Torres roamed forward and spied Lucas Digne on the overlap. Digne cut a low ball back for John McGinn, whose first-time shot pinballed off Marc Cucurella, under pressure from Watkins, and trickled past Djordje Petrovic in the Chelsea goal. Emery punched the air, Pochettino slapped his thighs in frustration.

Petrovic was fishing the ball out of his net again on 42 minutes when Rogers squeezed a shot inside the Chelsea goalkeeper’s near post to deepen the misery for Pochettino. Rogers picked up Matty Cash’s pass on the edge of the box, jinked inside Trevoh Chalobah and sent a precise strike through the legs of the defender and into the bottom corner of the net.

Aside from Nicolas Jackson heading a Cucurella shot against the upright, Chelsea struggled to penetrate the hosts in a one-sided first half. Jackson earlier had an equaliser ruled out by VAR for offside after Moisés Caicedo flipped a pass over the top of Villa’s high line. Pochettino did not celebrate and Torres and Ezri Konsa seemed confident they perfected their distances. Replays showed Jackson had gone too soon.

For Villa, there were worrying shades of their collapse against Brentford at the start of the month, when they conceded three goals in nine second-half minutes before Watkins headed in a late equaliser to avoid defeat. After that game Watkins openly questioned Villa’s mentality and they invited pressure here. Emiliano Martínez’s half-time exit with a hamstring injury did not help. McGinn and Rogers were fortunate to buy fouls late on as Chelsea sensed a vulnerability in their step. Then Villa beckoned Gallagher to find the top corner from the edge of the box and he obliged, curling in stylishly.

Emery had tried to stem the flow of Chelsea pressure, introducing Diego Carlos in place of Leon Bailey as they moved to a back five with 75 minutes on the clock. Tim Iroegbunam replaced Douglas Luiz, who had been cautioned. Moussa Diaby, who arrived on to the field on 27 minutes to replace the injured Youri Tielemans, was later withdrawn on 83, with Durán thrown on in his place. A Diego Carlos error gifted Palmer a chance to score in the phase before Disasi thought he had clinched victory from a recycled corner, but Olsen diverted his effort wide.


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