Premier League • England

Chelsea stun spirited Leeds as major penalty drama produces thrilling contest

Jorginho celebrates with Chelsea team-mate Marcos Alonso, December 2021

Chelsea claimed a dramatic late 3-2 win over a spirited Leeds at Stamford Bridge with the third penalty of an all-action Premier League contest.

A lively first half saw both sides score, with Raphinha netting from the spot before Mason Mount hit back for the hosts.

In the second half, Leeds started well before Jorginho scored a spot-kick of his own to complete Chelsea’s comeback. However, Joe Gelhardt then netted his first goal for the Whites only 80 seconds after coming on.

But there was to be more drama right at the death. Leeds gave away another penalty and Jorginho slotted home again to claim a huge three points for the hosts.

Leeds will feel hard done to after showing their fighting spirit under boss Marcelo Bielsa. However, it is a crucial win Chelsea, who kept pace with title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, who also won on Saturday.

Chelsea, looking for a response after last weekend’s Premier League defeat to West Ham, got the better start. Timo Werner and Ruben Loftus-Cheek got forward and Illan Meslier had to collect a cross and a through-ball.

Meslier then deflected Reece James’ cross into Mount’s path, but the England international shot straight at the Leeds goalkeeper.

Leeds took 15 minutes or so to settle, but when they did, they caused Chelsea problems. The Blues had to defend two corners in quick succession.

Raphinha then had a fantastic free-kick effort saved by Edouard Mendy. However, the Brazilian got the better of Chelsea’s goalkeeper from a penalty just before the half-hour mark.

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After Marcos Alonso brought Daniel James down, Raphinha stuttered his run-up, kept his eye on Mendy and slotted the ball home.

Chelsea looked shaky from then on and it showed. Centre-backs Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva both gave the ball away, while the offside flag stopped James from getting forward.

Mason Mount scores for Chelsea, December 2021

But Thomas Tuchel‘s men did get an equaliser after 41 minutes. Alonso redeemed himself by shrugging off his marker and advancing down the left flank.

An accurate cross – helped by poor Leeds defending – then allowed Mount to ghost in and sweep home a first-time finish into the near post.

Leeds came fast out of the blocks in the second half. They pressed Mendy as a unit and won the ball back, before Jack Harrison cut inside and fired straight at the Senegal international.

But up the other end, Chelsea hit back and took the lead through a penalty.

Chelsea comeback thwarted by Leeds

Jorginho celebrates after penalty for Chelsea, December 2021

Raphinha went from zero to hero as he slid in on Rudiger in the box in a tackle which had shades of the one Alonso gave away. But while referee Chris Kavanagh did not give the spot-kick straight away, he went to the VAR monitor and reversed his decision.

Jorginho subsequently stepped up and sent Meslier the wrong way, putting Chelsea in front.

But Leeds responded, with Raphinha still lively. Blues defender Silva was saved by the offside flag on one occasion his fellow Brazilian got past him, before Raphinha fired a free-kick into the wall.

In fact, Leeds went on to dominate and got an equaliser. Raphinha came off for Gelhardt after 82 minutes. Eighty seconds later, he tapped in Tyler Roberts’ accurate cross to send the travelling fans into ecstasy.

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Leeds wanted a winner, but it was Chelsea who would eventually find it. Rudiger controlled a simple ball into him and Klich kicked at the German, who went down.

Jorginho stepped up again to make it 3-2 and ensure they kept pace with their title rivals. For Leeds, though, it is a first defeat in four games in a match they will feel they could have won.