Chelsea survive second-half scare to overcome Sunderland

Chelsea 1 Sunderland 0

Frank Lampard proved the master of being in the right place at the right time once again today as Chelsea survived a second-half scare to beat Sunderland in the Barclays Premier League.

Lampard scored for the third successive match since his latest recall, although he knew little about a goal which owed everything to a superb Fernando Torres volley that smashed against the crossbar and back off his team-mate.

Torres also saw two strong penalty claims turned down in what was one of his best displays in a Chelsea shirt, Nicklas Bendtner had one rejected at the other end and James McClean missed an open goal that might have snatched a point for the visitors.

Indeed, the watching Gary Cahill would have fancied his chances of breaking into the Chelsea defence when he finally completes his protracted move from Bolton as the hosts somehow kept a rare clean sheet.

That cut the gap to leaders Manchester City to eight points, while providing a setback for the Sunderland revival under Martin O'Neill.

The Wearsiders were first to threaten, with Stephane Sessegnon running through non-existent tackling before Jose Bosingwa prevented McClean tapping home in the fourth minute.

The much-criticised David Luiz was then booked for his latest silly challenge, on Bendtner.

Frank Lampard had already seen a shot blocked at the other end and Torres then flicked a header wide at the tip of an unfamiliar 4-1-4-1 formation.

And the duo inadvertently combined to give Chelsea a spectacular 13th-minute lead, Torres scissors kick smashing against the crossbar and careering back off Lampard and into the net.

Terrible defending from a corner forced Larsson to clear Lampard's hooked volley off the line as the home side held sway.

Luiz got a knee in the head from Lee Cattermole after being brought down by David Vaughan and Phil Bardsley blocked another header from Torres, who was being given vocal backing by the Stamford Bridge crowd.

But they were almost silenced 10 minutes before half-time when Bendtner dragged Sessegnon's pass inches wide with Petr Cech beaten.

Torres did the same at the other end after a neat turn 20 yards out before leaving Matthew Kilgallon in a heap following a seemingly-innocuous aerial challenge.

Kilgallon stayed down and was eventually was carried off on a stretcher in stoppage-time, with Michael Turner coming on.

Chelsea had kept only one clean sheet at home in the league all season and Sessegnon fired an early warning shot after the break when he drilled a volley straight at Cech.

Simon Mignolet kept out Torres shot from a tight angle, the excellent Juan Mata volleyed the resulting corner over the top and Ramires failed to capitalise when Mignolet spilt Ashley Cole's cross.

Torres was convinced he should have had a penalty after going down under John O'Shea's challenge and Bendtner thought the same at the other end seconds later after being bundled over by Cole but referee Phil Dowd disagreed on both counts.

He had no hesitation whistling and producing a yellow card when a frustrated Cattermole clattered into Lampard as tempers frayed.

Vaughan flashed a 30-yard strike narrowly wide before McClean missed an open goal in the 63rd minute, stabbing wide after a brilliant run and cross from Larsson.

Torres was denied another penalty claim when he was clearly tripped by Bardsley, Dowd rubbing salt into the wound by booking the striker.

Luiz produced a vital interception to rob McClean before Sunderland withdrew Vaughan for Craig Gardner.

Raul Meireles was soon cautioned for bringing down the new man, who was then joined on the field by the fit-again Michael Essien, who replaced Lampard to make his first appearance of the season.

Essien skidded a 30-yard drive wide before Sunderland brought on Connor Wickham for Kieran Richardson.

Cole had to be alert to beat Bendtner to a cross as Sunderland poured forward in the final 10 minutes, during which Chelsea introduced Florent Malouda for Mata.

Cech got away with flapping at a McClean cross either side of a Meireles chip tipped over by Mignolet and a horrible shank from the same player.

Sunderland missed two glorious late chances to equalise, Gardner sidefooting wide after a great Sessegnon run and Bendtner lifting the ball over the bar with only Cech to beat.

PA

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam