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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Chelsea dealt title blow by Sunderland

Chelsea’s hopes of winning the Premier League were dealt a serious blow after Sunderland recorded a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool loanee Fabio Borini celebrates after putting Sunderland in front against his former club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Liverpool loanee Fabio Borini celebrates after putting Sunderland in front against his former club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues had the chance to move to the top of the table and pile the pressure on Liverpool, who travel to Norwich on Sunday.

Everything looked to be going according to plan when Samuel Eto’o volleyed into the roof of the net following a Willian corner.

However, the Black Cats were soon level after Connor Wickham, who scored twice against Manchester City in midweek, was first to a rebound following Mark Schwarzer’s save from Marcos Alonso.

And things went from bad to worse for the Blues on the 82nd minute as Sunderland took the lead, with on-loan Liverpool man Fabio Borini netting a penalty against his former club after Cesar Azpilicueta had brought down Jozy Altidore.

The Black Cats remain bottom of the table despite the win, but are now just three points adrift of safety.

Chelsea currently no longer have the title in their own hands, while the result brings an end to Jose Mourinho’s undefeated record at home in the Premier League.

Cardiff City's chances of Premier League survival were dampened as they were held to a 1-1 draw in a pulsating encounter with Stoke City in Wales.

Jordan Mutch wasted a good opportunity to put the home side ahead; his side-footed effort proved easy pickings for Asmir Begovic. The Stoke goalkeeper, though, was in fine fettle to deny Peter Whittingham shortly before the break. The winger's free-kick cleared the Stoke wall, but Begovic tipped the ball onto the post.

It proved costly for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, who went behind on the stroke of half-time when Stoke were awarded a controversial penalty. Peter Odemwingie was fouled by Kim Bo-kyung and Marko Arnautovic coolly converted the resulting spot-kick.

However, six minutes into the second half and Cardiff were level. Fraizer Campbell was caught in the box by Steven Nzonzi and Whittingham curled home Cardiff's first penalty of the season.

Cardiff thought they had completed the turnaround minutes later following pandemonium in the area; Steven Caulker was denied by Begovic and then the post, before Juan Cala's follow-up was correctly ruled out for offside.

David Marshall superbly kept the home side in it with minutes remaining, first turning Odemwingie's effort behind before parrying Oussama Assaidi's one-on-one shot. Jonathan Walters curled the ball against the woodwork in the dying seconds as both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Christian Eriksen was again the architect as Tottenham Hotspur halted embattled Fulham's resurgence with a 3-1 win at White Hart lane.

The Denmark playmaker has been one of the few shining lights in a disappointing season for Spurs, whose top-four charge looks destined to fall short in another trophyless campaign. He set up two goals in a man-of-the-match display as Fulham missed the chance to climb above Norwich and out of the relegation zone.

It was far from easy for the North London side, who had goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and some wayward finishing to thank for restricting the visitors to one Steve Sidwell goal.

That strike came moments after Paulinho had given Spurs a first-half lead by ghosting in unmarked to prod home an Eriksen free-kick. But after Younes Kaboul again gave Spurs the lead from an almost identical free-kick delivery from Eriksen, and Harry Kane headed home his third goal in consecutive games, there was no way back for the Cottagers.

The results saw Cardiff pull above Fulham into 18th, with both clubs two points shy of Norwich. Spurs are now six points clear of Man United in what is currently the final Europa League berth, but the Red Devils have two games in hand.

Newcastle United slumped to a fifth consecutive Premier League loss as Swansea City increased their chances of Premier League survival with a 2-1 win at St James' Park.

Shola Ameobi found the net with his first league strike since December 2012 after 23 minutes;  Luuk De Jong played a return ball to the striker, who held off Swansea's defence and slid the ball past Michel Vorm for the opener.

A bizarre substitution occurred ten minutes before half-time; referee Chris Foy, who earlier took a ball to the face, had to be replaced by fourth official Anthony Taylor.

Garry Monk's side levelled minutes before the break when Wilfried Bony headed Ben Davies' corner past Tim Krul.

An otherwise lifeless second half sprang into action with five minutes left on the clock as Swansea twice went close to stealing all three points. Jonathan De Guzman fired narrowly over the crossbar before Krul was alert to deny Marvin Emnes late on.

The away side, though, finally found a winner in the second minute of added time. Chieck Tiote fouled substitute Emnes and Bony fired the ball high into the net to ease their relegation woe and leave Toon fans booing heavily at the final whistle.

Crystal Palace's resurgence under Tony Pulis continued as they frustrated West Ham with a 1-0 victory at Upton Park.

Shortly before kick-off, West Ham marked the passing of 20-year-old striker Dylan Tombides with a minute's applause, while the club also retired the number 38 shirt in his memory.

Andy Carroll could only direct Kevin Nolan's cross over the woodwork, but was on hand at the other end as he cleared Kagisho Dikgacoi's header off the line.

Both sides saw penalty appeals turned down by referee Martin Atkinson. First, Palace's claims were waved away after Nolan appeared to divert Adrian Mairiappa's goal-bound effort with his hand. Carroll was then denied a spot-kick when he went down under Mile Jedinak's challenge.

Julian Speroni twice thwarted powerful efforts from Mo Diame, while Carroll again saw two headers fail to beat the Palace stopper as both teams went into the break on a par.

However, Palace took the lead from the spot when Cameron Jerome was clipped in the box. Jedinak stepped up to blast the ball into the top corner and Palace held firm for all of three points.

Aston Villa and Southampton cancelled each other out in a stale, 0-0 draw at Villa Park.

Luke Shaw, under the watchful eye of Manchester United manager David Moyes and coach Phil Neville, showed great pace down the left touchline but Rickie Lambert could only head his effort straight at Brad Guzan, who later denied Steven Davis from eight yards out after a lapse from Villa's backline.

Southampton wanted a penalty late on when Nathaniel Clyne's cross appeared to strike the hand of Ryan Bertrand, but it was not given and neither side could find a breakthrough in the end.


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