The ‘Blues’ were looking to respond after surrendering a lead four times in their last two outings, but struggled to find a way through a stubborn rearguard in the early exchanges. As frustration grew around Stamford Bridge, Marcelo Bielsa’s men began to gain a foothold in the contest, with Raphinha’s venomous free-kick stinging the palms of former teammate Edouard Mendy. The Brazilian handed the ‘Lilywhites’ the lead eight minutes later with a penalty, leaving the goalkeeper rooted to the spot. Marcos Alonso was the guilty party, lunging into a late challenge on Daniel James and leaving referee Chris Kavanagh with no choice but to award a spot-kick.
The Spaniard looked determined to avenge his error, and he did so successfully moments before HT. He dispossessed Stuart Dallas in his own final third before squaring to Mount, and the Englishman provided a tidy finish into the near post. Chelsea nearly completed a rapid-fire turnaround before the break, but Illan Meslier saved smartly to deny Kai Havertz.
Raphinha has often proved his side’s greatest asset since arriving last summer, but he cost his side dearly after the restart. Back in his own box defending, the winger lunged into a challenge on Antonio Rüdiger, which was eventually deemed to be a penalty on review. The nerveless Jorginho converted from 12 yards to send the European champions into the lead.
Leeds responded well to falling behind, coming close to an equaliser within minutes as Raphinha surged through on goal, but Mendy stood firm to keep him out before the offside flag was raised. Joe Gelhardt was introduced in the 81st minute and was on the scoresheet within 81 seconds. The visitors sliced the Chelsea defence open with some superb play down the left before Tyler Roberts’ cross was converted by the 19-year-old to score his first Premier League goal.
The drama wasn’t over there, as Mateusz Klich hauled Rüdiger down in the box, deep into injury time. Jorginho was on hand to send Meslier the wrong way and raise the roof in West London, giving Chelsea a crucial victory in the title race.
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