Chelsea FC’s Jose Mourinho watched his players make history. Unfortunately for the Portuguese manager, it wasn’t the sort of history he wanted.
Their 1-2 home defeat to the relegation-battling Sunderland FC marked the first time that the London club had suffered a home defeat under Mourinho in 77 games.
It’s hard to fathom that a 77 home game unbeaten streak was ended by the last placed team in the league.
Perhaps the Blues had one eye on their upcoming match against Atlético Madrid. Champions League football is still very important to Mourinho and his team.
As the only English side left at this crucial stage, it makes sense to rest key players ahead of their important CL game.
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) April 19, 2014
However, it’s important to remember that a team that is fighting for its life will not necessarily arrive to an away fixture a bundle of nerves.
In the case of Sunderland, it was clear from early in the first half that the team intended to take the fight to Chelsea.
Following a 12th minute goal by Samuel Eto’o off of a Willian corner kick, the home team likely believed they were cruising to an easy win.
That dream was dashed just six minutes later by Sunderland’s Connor Wickham. From then on, it was as if the wind had been taken out of the sails of Chelsea’s players and home fans.
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 19, 2014
The match was level until late into the second half. It was as if the Blues were willing to accept the draw so long as they could conserve their energies for their Madrid opponents. They no doubt were hoping to make up points next week at Anfield.
Then came disaster.
César Azpilicueta brought down Jozy Altidore in front of the Chelsea goal and referee Mike Dean simply pointed to the spot.
Chelsea surrendered a penalty. At the 82nd minute, Fabio Borini made the game 1-2.
— Goal UK (@GoalUK) April 19, 2014
Chelsea dropped three crucial points in a defeat that no one saw coming. Should Liverpool FC defeat Norwich City FC tomorrow, they will go five points clear.
If the faltering Blues fail to stop the Rising Reds when the two teams clash next week, it could be the game that decides the league title.
— LFCpictures™ (@LFCpictures) April 19, 2014
Image via Champions League, Twitter