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Report: Swansea City 2 Chelsea 2

The Blues had to settle for a point after an enthralling contest in South Wales lit up by Diego Costa’s brace.

The striker fired us ahead in a first half we dominated, but we were made to pay for not taking any of the ensuing chances we created when Swansea hit back with two goals in three minutes. Gylfi Sigurdsson – from the spot – and Leroy Fer, controversially, were their scorers.

But Antonio Conte's team rallied, just as in our previous away fixture at Watford, and levelled with 10 minutes remaining when Diego Costa’s overhead kick deflected in to the net.

It was end-to-end stuff from there on in, but neither side found a winner so this engrossing Premier League fixture finished all-square. We head back to London having dropped points for the first time this season but certainly not for the want of trying. It’s Liverpool at the Bridge next in what promises to be another tasty encounter.

Conte felt no need to make any changes to the starting XI that so comprehensively dismantled Burnley a fortnight ago. There were new faces on the bench though in the form of David Luiz and Marcos Alonso.

For our hosts, Ki Sung-Yeung replaced the absent Wayne Routledge, while the other returnee, Neil Taylor, came in wide on the left in a flexible formation that changed depending on whether or not the Swans held possession.

They didn’t have much in the opening exchanges, lit up by Willian, who first had a fierce strike punched wide by Lukasz Fabianski, and then forced the keeper to stretch and gather a dangerous low centre at the second attempt.

The Pole could do nothing about our opener on 18 minutes, however. His defence failed to fully clear a testing Branislav Ivanovic cross, allowing Oscar to pluck the ball from the sky and square it sharply to Diego Costa. The striker swept his first-time finish into the bottom right-hand corner of a net he has fond memories of from his only previous appearance at this ground, in January 2015.

It was almost two in as many minutes when Eden Hazard breezed through, with momentum on his side, after intercepting a wayward pass midway inside the Swansea half. The winger was foiled by Fabianski.

Conte’s men were dominant now – tenacious in the tackle, composed in possession and a threat going forward. Leroy Fer and Federico Fernandez were booked for cynical fouls on Diego Costa (also carded before the break for a late tackle), and Cesar Azpilicueta drew a near-post stop from Fabianski after overlapping.

Such was our prowess, Francesco Guidolin deemed a first-half tactical sub necessary, taking Taylor off for Modou Barrow. Swansea shifted to four at the back, but it didn’t look like it would make any difference when a low corner landed at Diego Costa’s feet a couple of yards out. He screwed his effort across goal and not into it, though, so when the teams went in the only frustration was that our lead wasn’t greater. Both of Swansea’s efforts in the half had gone wide, Courtois only looking troubled by a Gylfi Sigurdsson long-ranger.

Jordi Amat became the third home player booked for going through the back of Diego Costa early in the second period. The striker required lengthy treatment, this blow coming on the back of his head, but thankfully was okay to continue.

He was immediately back in the thick of the action, expertly holding play up then charging upfield before Fernandez took his legs out. The striker was at his unplayable best.

But the Premier League is a dangerous beast and if you don’t take your chances, you’ll likely to be punished. That’s exactly what happened when Swansea broke from one of our corners and the exposed Courtois felled Sigurdsson with his feet a yard inside the box. The Icelandic midfielder made no mistake from the spot.

Swansea’s second shot on target, three minutes later, yielded their second goal. Cahill was unfairly dispossessed by Fer, who raced clear and just about squeezed his shot through Courtois and over the line. In a flash, the Blues were behind.

In response, Oscar drew a fine save from Fabianski, not long after the keeper and Diego Costa had collided outside the box with the ref waving our appeals away, just as he had when it looked like Cahill was fouled in the build-up to Swansea’s second.

With 13 minutes remaining, Conte shuffled his pack hoping for the same effect as at Watford. Cesc Fabregas and Victor Moses replaced Matic and Willian.

It worked, again! Fabregas’s chip found Oscar, who did well to feed Ivanovic. The Serbian beat a man and shot; it deflected up in to the air and there was Diego Costa to acrobatically scissor-kick in from six yards, the ball helped in to the net by Fernandez. 2-2. It is now seven goals for the Spain forward against the Swans. 

A rapid counter in minute 87, started by Fabregas, ended with Diego Costa stinging Fabianski’s palms; at the other end, it needed a cynical Hazard foul to stop Barrow getting away.

Fabregas nearly provided the calm touch required in a frantic finish, but saw his goalbound shot blocked. Moses then blasted over, and so it was honours even after 90 minutes of football both teams can take satisfaction from. 

Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Kante; Willian (Moses 77), Oscar (Batshuayi 88), Matic (Fabregas 76), Hazard; Diego Costa.
Unused subs Begovic, David Luiz, Alonso, Pedro.
Scorer Diego Costa 18, 81
Booked Diego Costa 41, Courtois 59, Hazard 89, Terry 90+2

Swansea (3-5-1-1): Fabianski; Fernandez, Amat, Kingsley; Naughton, Fer, Cork (c) Ki, Taylor (Barrow 41); Sigurdsson (Rangel 88); Llorente.
Unused subs Nordfelt, Van der Hoorn, Britton, Montero, Fulton.
Scorers Sigurdsson (pen) 59, Fer 62
Booked Fer 26, Fernandez 42, Amat 48

Referee Andre Marriner   
Crowd 20,865

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