x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Mourinho points finger at Vertonghen for Torres’ dismissal

Chelsea salvage a draw at Tottenham, Southampton strikers Osvaldo and Lambert on-song against Crystal Palace, wins for promoted clubs Hull City and Cardiff City and Manchester City lose to Aston Villa

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard of Chelsea controls the ball ahead of Kyle Walker of Tottenham Hotspur. Clive Rose / Getty Images
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard of Chelsea controls the ball ahead of Kyle Walker of Tottenham Hotspur. Clive Rose / Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur 1

Sigurdsson 19’

Chelsea 1

Terry 65’

Red card Torres (Chelsea)

Man of the match

Juan Mata (Chelsea)

LONDON // Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho felt Fernando Torres’s harsh dismissal cost his team victory against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s first-half opener was cancelled out when John Terry headed in Juan Mata’s free kick.

But Chelsea were left holding on for a 1-1 draw after Torres received a second yellow card with 10 minutes remaining following an innocuous aerial collision with Jan Vertonghen.

Sigurdsson, so often Spurs’ unsung hero, opened the scoring on 19 minutes as he latched onto Roberto Soldado’s knock down on the edge of the box. The Icelandic midfielder was off balance after taking an extra stride to beat Terry’s outstretched leg, but he somehow managed to roll the ball into the net to goalkeeper Petr Cech’s right.

Spurs then paid dearly for Vertonghen’s lapse in concentration as Mata, on as a second-half substitute in place of Jon Obi Mikel, put a high swirling ball in to the box, Vertonghen lost Terry for a second and he headed beyond Hugo Lloris.

Asked if the result was fair, Mourinho told BT Sport 1: “I don’t think it was.

“I think they were better in the first half but not much better, they didn’t create so many chances.

“In the second half, there was only one team. The team was very, very strong until the moment the referee made a mistake, a big mistake that had a big influence on the result.

“The referee is not guilty, the player [Vertonghen] is guilty – he pretended that Fernando had a big contact on him and the referee went on trust.

“At that moment we were much better, they were in big trouble. We were winning everything in midfield and going in waves of attack, [Andre] Schurrle had just had a chance that normally he has to score.

“It leaves a bad taste because we should win.”

Opposite number Andre Villas-Boas said of Torres’s dismissal: “It was a difficult decision for the referee, both players were going for the ball and he decided Fernando was over the top.”

Reflecting on his team’s performance, Mourinho’s former assistant said: “It was a good game in general and I’m extremely happy with the performance.

“Our second half wasn’t as good as we wanted and Chelsea did well to score from the set-play.

“With their pressing we lost fluidity and they did well to come back in the game.

“Both teams had chances, the chances were spread. We had a chance to [lead] 2-0 before half time and that would have been the killer.”

The fractured relationship between the two Portuguese managers had dominated the build-up to the game but Mourinho said: “Between men – not children – this is not public. It is between us.

“What you want and the people want, we gave, which is a very good football match.”

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Swansea City 1

Davies 82’

Arsenal 2

Gnabry 58’, Ramsey 62’

Aaron Ramsey believes Arsenal can go on and win the Premier League after returning to the top of the table with a 2-1 win away to Swansea City.

City Ramsey scored his eighth goal in nine matches to add to an earlier strike from teenager Serge Gnabry, and the visitors held on after Ben Davies pulled a goal back.

The result sees Arsenal top the table by two points from rivals Tottenham Hotspur, with Chelsea a further two points back.

“That’s our target,” Ramsey told Sky Sports. “We have a lot of quality. We’ve had a lot of injuries recently but we’ve managed to dig in and put a load of wins together and hopefully now we get players back and we’re in with a shout.”

It was a welcome anniversary present for manager Arsene Wenger, who was marking 17 years in charge of the club. “There is nothing better than winning,” he said with a smile, his day made better with Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea all dropping points.

Aston Villa 3

El Ahmadi 51’, Bacuna 73’, Weimann 75’

Manchester City 2

Toure 45’, Dzeko 56’

Manuel Pellegrini, the Manchester City manager, was baffled by his team’s shock 3-2 defeat at Aston Villa.

Pellegrini was at a loss to explain how his team failed to hold on for three Premier League points after twice leading at Villa Park.

City dominated the first half and led through Yaya Toure’s sixth goal of the season just before the interval.

Even after Karim El Ahmadi equalised City seemed set for victory when Edin Dzeko headed in but Leandro Bacuna and Andreas Weimann struck in quick succession to turn the game around.

Pellegrini said: “Of course it is disappointing because I think we played very well in this game.

“From the beginning we had possession of the ball, we had the chances and we didn’t have any risk in our own goals. It is unbelievable we didn’t win this match but football has these things. The team that deserves to doesn’t always win.”

Southampton 2

Osvaldo 47’, Lambert 49’

Crystal Palace 0

Two quickfire second-half goals from Southampton’s strike partners were enough to see off Crystal Palace for a first home league win since March.

The 2-0 win came courtesy of strikes from Dani Osvaldo and Rickie Lambert in the first four minutes of the second half.

This was the first time both had found the back of the net in the same game since Italy international Osvaldo joined from Roma last month.

Hull City 1

Brady 12’ (pen)

West Ham United 0

Robbie Brady’s fourth goal of the season handed Hull City a deserved victory over West Ham United as Steve Bruce’s side made it back-to-back wins in the Premier League.

Brady, who is fast becoming the breakout star of Hull’s campaign, won and converted a penalty in the 12th minute at the KC Stadium and that proved enough for Hull to follow their 3-2 success at Newcastle United with another three points.

Fulham 1

Ruiz 45’

Cardiff City 2

Caulker 12’, Mutch 90+1’

Cardiff celebrated a first win away in the top flight since their ascension to the Premier League with a last-gasp defeat of Fulham to pile more pressure on Martin Jol.

Cries of “Jol out” were heard at Craven Cottage after substitute Jordon Mutch inflicted defeat on Fulham with a curling goal after Steven Caulker’s opener had been cancelled out by Bryan Ruiz.

sports@thenational.ae