Chelsea reversed a first-half deficit to end the season on a high with a 2-1 win over Championship-bound Cardiff in an entertaining contest in the Welsh capital.
Defeat consigned the hosts to bottom spot in the Premier League, with Chelsea forced to settle for third following Liverpool’s victory over Newcastle.
Craig Bellamy’s deflected strike edged the hosts ahead in an open first half which saw Chelsea spurn a number of clear-cut chances.
But the visitors shrugged off their profligacy to draw level after the restart through substitute Andre Schuerrle before Fernando Torres tucked home with 15 minutes remaining to secure maximum points.
The game was overshadowed by lengthy protests against owner Vincent Tan and his decision to change the club's shirt colour from red to blue.
4’ – TORRES BOTTLES IT! Fernando Torres beats David Marshall to a loose ball, rounds the stopper and is faced by an open goal… He should score but the Spaniard, clearly disturbed by the 100 balloons that litter his path to goal, bottles his shot. Stephen Caulker hacks his tame effort clear.
10 – CAMPBELL WREAKS HAVOC! Fraizer Campbell beats one, another, past a third, he’s still going… Could this be one of the all-time great goals? Nope. His effort barely reaches Mark Schwarzer's goal.
15’ – GOAL! Cardiff 1-0 Chelsea. Bellamy picks up the ball on the edge of the area, fancies a crack and unleashes a shot which flies into the net (via the bottom of Azpilicueta).
21’ – CARDIFF PROTEST! "We'll always be blue, we'll always be blue, we're Cardiff City, we'll always be blue..." Not the most inventive chant but we get the idea, Cardiff fans.
22’ – BIG MISS FROM OSCAR! Oscar controls a long ball, twists towards goal but delays his shot for an age before shooting wide.
67’ – HAZARD GOES CLOSE! The Belgian ghosts in behind the Cardiff defence and crashes a shot into the net. Unfortunately for the visiting faithful, it’s landed in the side netting. Cue cheers from the away end, then louder, ironic cheers from the home fans.
71’ – GOAL! Cardiff 1-1 Chelsea. Marshall makes a stunning save from Azpilicueta. The Chelsea defender gets up, dusts himself down and crashes the rebound against the crossbar. Third time lucky? Yes! Schuerrle sends a bouncing shot into the goal with Marshall unable to adjust in time to make the save.
75’ – GOAL! Cardiff 1-2 Chelsea. Schuerrle balloons a header into the Cardiff sky, it finds its way to Torres who has acres of space and tucks home. Fabio was playing everyone onside. No celebration from the £50 million striker.
Andre Schuerrle scored his eighth Premier League goal of the season, but his first in 15 apps as a sub in the competition.
Craig Bellamy has scored six Premier League goals against Chelsea; against no side has he scored more often in the competition.
Stats courtesy of Opta
Can Cardiff bounce straight back to the Premier League? Much will depend on appeasing a fiery owner and maintaining the core of their squad, but in Ole Gunner Solksjaer they have a manager who seems set for a long-term project.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea): His backside may have inadvertently created Cardiff’s opener, but the Spaniard was imperious in defence and a threat going forward.
Cardiff: Marshall 7, Fabio 4, Caulker 6, Turner 5, John 6, Gunnarsson 6, Mutch 6, Whittingham 6, Daehli 6, Bellamy 6, Campbell 7. Subs: Cowie 6, Healey 6, James N/A.
Chelsea: Schwarzer 6, Azpilicueta 8, Ivanovic 6, Kalas 7, Cole 6, Mikel 5, Matic 7, Salah 7, Oscar 6, Hazard 6, Torres 5. Subs: Schuerrle 6, Ake 6, Swift N/A.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Premier League
- Fernando Torres
- Craig Bellamy