Turning the tide

A two-goal lead against Chelsea is no guarantee of three points as the Blues proved last Saturday in our memorable 3-2 victory at Southampton.

The relegation-threatened Saints appeared to be on course for a precious victory, when they led 2-0 after 69 minutes, but their advantage was wiped out in the space of nine minutes thanks to a brace from Olivier Giroud and Eden Hazard’s 88th goal for the club.

That fine comeback win at St Mary’s Stadium reminds us of some other memorable games in recent years, when the battling Blues came from two goals down to get a result against their opponents.

Liverpool, January 1997

Southampton manager Mark Hughes would know all about Chelsea comebacks after netting crucial goals to help us come from behind to semi-final victories against Arsenal (League Cup) and Vicenza (Cup Winners’ Cup) in 1998. However, his most inspirational performance in a Blue shirt came the year before in the FA Cup, when he was brought on as a half-time substitute with Chelsea trailing 2-0 to Liverpool in the fourth round. Sparky pulled one back within five minutes and then set up the equaliser for Gianfranco Zola, as we came back to win 4-2 en route to lifting the trophy for the first time in 27 years.

Charlton Athletic, August 2002

Chelsea’s opening match of the 2002/03 season started badly as we went two goals down after 33 minutes in our London derby against Charlton Athletic, a team that had beaten us in all four of our league meetings over the previous two seasons. Zola gave us a lifeline when he pulled one back two minutes before half-time but we still trailed when the Italian was replaced by Carlton Cole with 16 minutes left. However, the teenager duly equalised with a fine solo effort in the 84th minute and Frank Lampard completed the comeback when he tucked in the winner a minute from time.

Tottenham Hotspur, March 2007

Chelsea had not lost to Tottenham at Stamford Bridge for 17 years when we met them in the FA Cup quarter-final in 2007, but a poor first-half display allowed Spurs to take a 3-1 lead into the interval. The visitors wasted chances to extend their advantage in the second half and they paid the price as Lampard reduced the deficit with his second goal of the game in the 71st minute before Salomon Kalou volleyed in the equaliser with four minutes left. Chelsea secured a 2-1 win in the replay at White Hart Lane replay as we went on to lift the FA Cup with victory over Manchester United in the final.

Napoli, March 2012

Trailing 3-1 after the first leg of our Champions League last 16 clash against Napoli, Chelsea mounted a magnificent comeback to stun the Italian side at Stamford Bridge. Headed strikes from Didier Drogba and John Terry either side of half-time put us ahead on away goals, but Gokhan Inler edged Napoli back in front with a half-volley before Lampard coolly converted a penalty 15 minutes from the end to send the match into extra-time. That set the stage for Branislav Ivanovic to rifle home the winner in the 105th minute, as the Blues marched on to our first-ever Champions League title two months later.

Tottenham Hotspur, May 2016

While the 2015/16 season did not go too well for the Blues, we did show a knack for coming back from two-goal deficits as we rescued points from that position on three occasions. Goals from Ramires and Willian in the final 11 minutes rescued a 2-2 draw at Newcastle United in September, while John Terry’s 98th-minute equaliser earned us a 3-3 draw with Everton in January. However, the best-remembered of those stalemates came in early May when second-half strikes from Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard salvaged a 2-2 draw with Spurs, that sealed the Premier League title for Leicester City at the expense of our London rivals.

Leicester City, September 2016

Chelsea looked to be headed for an early exit in the League Cup after a brace by Shinji Okazaki put the Foxes two goals up after 34 minutes at the King Power Stadium. However, Cahill pulled one back with a header in first-half stoppage time before Cesar Azpilicueta equalised with a glorious volley early in the second half. Cesc Fabregas then completed the comeback in extra-time, firing us ahead in the 92nd minute after a clever back-heel by Hazard, before crashing in a half-volley two minutes later to seal a 4-2 victory.