Chelsea implodes, draws 2-2 at Reading
Chelsea squandered a two-goal lead with three minutes remaining
to draw 2-2 at Reading on Wednesday, virtually ending its English
Premier League title hopes and piling more misery on under-fire
manager Rafa Benitez.
The European champions looked certain to win after goals by
Frank Lampard and Juan Mata either side of halftime, but substitute
Adam Le Fondre scored in the 87th minute and grabbed the equalizer
in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
”It’s difficult how to explain how we drew this game,” Benitez
said. ”We were controlling the game for 85 minutes . everyone
could see the game was under control for us until the last
Chelsea is 12 points behind league leader Manchester United in
third with 14 games remaining, and Benitez will surely come in for
more criticism with the team winning only one of its last five
matches in all competitions. On Sunday, Chelsea drew 2-2 at
third-tier Brentford in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
”We all take responsibility. We don’t blame anyone: It’s for us
to analyze why we didn’t kill the game off, and to work to stop the
mistakes,” Benitez said.
”We’re still in a really good position in the table, but it
could have been really better.”
The point lifted Reading out of the relegation zone on goal
difference ahead of Wigan, with Aston Villa dropping to second from
Le Fondre has scored six goals as a substitute this season,
including a late double in a 2-1 win at Newcastle on Jan. 19.
”Of course I’d (like to) start with him, but I’m trying to find
a way to get results,” Reading manager Brian McDermott said.