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Black Cats savage Chelsea's title dreams

NOT HAPPY: Jose Mourinho

PERHAPS JOSE Mourinho sincerely believed that Chelsea were not title contenders this season and that his " little horse," would only develop into a title winning thoroughbred next season. Perhaps it was pure Mourinho mind games to get into his players, and to make a statement to the rest of the Premier League that the self styled special one was back at the club where he is loved and would claim a fourth title.

Whatever the reality of what passed before the visit of Sunderland, one thing which would have been absolutely certain was that, save for a few thousand optimistic travelling Sunderland fans, no one could have actually believed that we would witness the demise of Mourinho's 77 Premier League unbeaten record. However that was exactly what transpired at Stamford Bridge in Saturday's evening kick off (April 19).

When Samuel Eto'o tucked away a routine volley to put his side ahead, another Chelsea win was on the cards. However Conor Wickham levelled before the break after Mark Schwarzer spilled Alonso's effort.

Fabio Borini then struck from the penalty spot after Cesar Azpilicueta brought down Jozy Altidore in full flow, for a shock 2-1 win to the Black Cats. The shock was too much for the Blues assistant coach Rui Faria who was sent to the stands and had to be restrained by Mourinho and Chelsea's director of communications Steve Atkins, after visibly attempting to confront referee Mike Dean.

Chelsea had won the last six Premier League meetings with Sunderland, and 17 of the last 18 league encounters. Sunderland had only won two of their 12 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge, conceding 38 goals including a heavy 7-2 defeat in January 2010.

Schwarzer started for Chelsea, who were without the ill Petr Cech. Talisman Eden Hazard remained sidelined as Eto'o and Oscar came back into the Chelsea starting line-up. Sunderland were unchanged from the side which drew at Manchester City in midweek.

With only 12 minutes on the clock, Willian swung in a corner, which Eto'o volleyed in having held off his marker too easily. It seemed to be the perfect foundation for the Blues to record another home win, but six minutes later, the visitors levelled.

Fresh from his double strike at the Etihad stadium, Wickham chipped in after Schwarzer could only parry Marcos Alonso's shot from a corner from which Chelsea were guilty of leaving Alonso in acres of space.

Stung into action, Chelsea tried to regain the advantage when Branislav Ivanovic's towering header saw Vito Mannone's goal threatened, but the Black Cats' keeper grabbed the ball at the second time of asking after deflection off his bar.

Ramires then should have done better from Mohamed Salah's cross, that is until Sebastian Larsson's robust challenge averted the danger with the Brazilian on the floor. The two would later clash in controversial circumstances.

A flurry of late first half activity should have seen Chelsea reduced to ten men when Ramires looked to have swung his arm and caught Larson. Referee Mike Dean waved the Swedes' protests away, but replays suggested the official got that decision wrong. A retrospective look at the incident by the FA is almost certainly likely to cause more grief for Ramires.

Chelsea then had loud appeals for a penalty turned down when Alonso turned into a rising ball. A spot kick would have been harsh, and the sides ended the half with a goal apiece.

Three minutes after the restart, Willian surged from his half. The Sunderland defence backed off, and he passed to Eto'o, who with only Mannone to beat, shot agonisingly wide.

Sunderland's defensive height and determination in the fight for their top flight life was amplified by Wes Brown and captain John O'Shea and symbolised by Lee Cattermole's tenacity to prevent Oscar advancing, which earned Cattermole' a yellow card.

Desperately seeking another goal, Mourinho brought on Demba Ba for Oscar. The Senegal striker worked an opening with Willian but as he took the return pass, mis- hit his shot wide of Mannone's upright.

The game would hinge on Azpilicueta's untimely slip up ten minutes from time. Substitute Altidore has only netted twice this season and looked odds on for a third goal. The US striker seized on the slip up and powered through, but got caught by Azpilicueta as he desperately tried to make up ground. Assistant referee Stuart Burt signalled a spot kick.

Up stepped the former Chelsea trainee - Borini - who is on a season loan from Liverpool to coolly slot the ball down the middle, giving Schwarzer no chance.

Andre Schurrle fired over almost form the restart as Chelsea desperately sought a leveller, with John Terry then seeing his header go straight at Mannone. It was too late for Chelsea. They had been out manoeuvred by Gus Poyet's side who may yet succeed in their last gasp dash to stay in the Premier League.

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