Chelsea Draw 1-1 With Maribor Due To Poor Officiating


John Terry – Flickr Creative Commons

Diego Costa was robbed of his 10th goal of the season after the linesman unfairly raised his flag when Cesc Fabregas received the ball in the box. Replays show that the midfielder was clearly onside before breaking clear of the defensive line. The decision cost Chelsea a win, Costa a goal, and Fabregas an assist — stats which Chelsea fans are used to as of late.

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I am by no means making any excuses for the Blues; they dug themselves into a slippery hole which they struggled to climb out of. Chelsea had a poor first half, and did not make the most of their chances. Kurt Zouma could have opened the scoring quite early; he did well to rise and get on the end of Fabregas’ wonderful cross, but he headed wide.

Andre Schurrle had another poor game today, after having such a great impact during Germany’s World Cup-winning run, he hasn’t settled back into the Chelsea set up. Willian didn’t do much better, he put in an industrious effort as usual, but he didn’t provide much going forward. Both midfielders were taken off at the half, they were replaced by Costa and Oscar.

“When you dont play well for 90 minutes, you risk , and in the last 30 minutes when we played really well and creative with big desire to win. We had lots of chances to do it, the goalkeeper was magnificent.” – Jose Mourinho

Maribor looked nothing like the team which lost 6-0 at Stamford Bridge, they were magnificent. They went toe-to-toe with the Blues in front of a raucous home crowd. Agim Ibraimi stunned Chelsea with a wonderful curling effort which beat Petr Cech, giving the home team a 1-0 lead.

After going down a goal, the Blues put in a spirited display; Nemanja Matic leveled the score when John Terry brought a corner down into the box. They kept pressing and were very unlucky to not score a second goal; Oscar was clearly fouled in the box, and Costa’s goal was unfairly waved off by the linesman.

Eden Hazard won himself a penalty, but could not beat Jasmin Handanovic from the spot. Hazard — who was Chelsea’s best player today — had never missed a penalty before this match. Mourinho was quite forgiving, in his post-match interview, he seemed to give Hazard a pass due to the fact that he had an otherwise splendid game.

"“I think when a player plays so well like Eden Hazard did, for me he was absolutely fantastic. By far the best player of my team, a player with a performance like this can miss a penalty and still be the best player in my team.”"

The Maribor keeper had a splendid outing, making save after save, frustrating Chelsea’s players and fans alike. The team played positively and they made it a very entertaining game, but I think that Chelsea got the short end of the stick from the officiating team.

“I think we deserved to win, but with this referee I have a long story — from my Italian times — but I don’t want to go in that direction.”

The Blues played well enough to win, and they would have won if the match officials were competent enough. Mourinho was clearly unimpressed with the referee.

Group G remains wide open, Chelsea lead with eight points but with two games remaining, anyone can still qualify.