Chelsea moves to third spot in CL qualification

London: On an important Premier League (PL) night, a pair of tackles had the most significant impact on the hard-fought race for Champions League qualification.

Chelsea’s 3-2 win at Crystal Palace was secured only because of a remarkable last-ditch challenge from centre-back Kurt Zouma. The Frenchman somehow made up ground to divert the ball away as Christian Benteke was about to shoot late in stoppage time.

At the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal led 1-0 against Leicester City and was on course for a win that would have thrown open the fight for a finish in the top four. But, it dealt a heavy blow when substitute striker Eddie Nketiah was handed a straight red card in the 75th minute for a studs-first lunge on James Justin.

Jamie Vardy equalised nine minutes later with a goal, which took a while to be confirmed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), to seal a 1-1 draw. The two results left Chelsea (60 points) in third place, a point clear of Leicester (59 points), which dropped to fourth after a poor run of results in the league since late January.

Mikel Arteta-managed Arsenal has 50 points and is unlikely to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition. Meanwhile, Palace remained 14th with 42 points.

Meanwhile, AC Milan scored three times in five astonishing secondhalf minutes as it hit back from two goals down to beat visiting Serie A leader Juventus 4-2 on Tuesday.

Juventus appeared to be cruising to another win when Adrien Rabiot put it ahead with a solo goal two minutes after the break and Cristiano Ronaldo netted his 26th goal of the season. But, Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled one back from a penalty in the 62nd minute, with Franck Kessie equalising for Milan four minutes later.

Rafael Leao put the home side ahead one minute after that as Juventus astonishingly collapsed. Ante Rebic completed the scoring. Despite the defeat, Juventus, on 75 points, is seven clear with seven matches to play after secondplaced Lazio lost 1-2 at lowly Lecce. Milan climbed to 49 points, but is still 14 adrift of the top four.

 

Agency