Southampton's hopes of surviving relegation from the Premier League took a hammer blow on Saturday afternoon. A 2-0 lead late in the second half, quickly fell apart as Chelsea came from behind to secure a 3-2 victory away from home. Eden Hazard and a double from substitute Olivier Giroud helped Chelsea turn things around within 10 minutes, breaking the hearts of Southampton fans.
Tadic Taps Home
It would be the home side who started better, not allowing Chelsea any room in the opening stages of the match and having the better of the early chances. Southampton got their reward for a good start after 20 minutes as Ryan Bertrand's blistering run down the left ended with the ball being cut back to Dusan Tadic, who tapped it in past Thibaut Courtois.
That goal would wake Chelsea up, who immediately sought a response to going a goal down. A well worked team move saw Alvaro Morata with a good chance inside the box, but he could only lift his effort over the bar.
Just before half time, Chelsea were lucky not to be reduced to 10-men after Marcos Alonso's nasty challenge from behind on Shane Long saw nothing given.
Three Goals, Ten Minutes
The half-time whistle came just in time for the visitors, who had endured a poor first half and needed a better response after the break. That response didn't arrive in the opening stages of the second half, with Shane Long going close yet again. Long did well to bring down a long ball forward and race past Andreas Christensen, before cutting back and curling an effort towards the top corner, but Courtois expertly tipped the shot over.
Minutes after Courtois' save, Eden Hazard had his first chance of the game, but saw his near post shot saved well by Alex McCarthy. Southampton would go 2-0 up with half an hour to play, thanks to a debut goal from Jan Bednarek. James Ward-Prowse's free kick found Bednarek, who lost his marker and finished well from close range to mark his Premier League debut with a goal.
Chelsea needed a change and brought on Olivier Giroud with under half an hour to play, hoping to spark a comeback. In the 70th minute, Olivier Giroud made his mark, getting on the end of Alonso's cross and guiding his header into the bottom corner.
The visitors were level, four minutes after grabbing their first goal, as Hazard fired home from inside the box. Willian's low driven cross found Hazard, who took a calm first touch and hammered his shot into the top of the net to make it 2-2. Southampton's heads had dropped, and they would drop even lower three minutes later as Chelsea completed their comeback in the 78th minute. A quick free kick allowed Hazard to lift a cross into the box, only for it to bounce around and fall to Giroud, who fired his shot first time past McCarthy. A ten minute comeback from Chelsea that could prove devastating to Southampton's season.
The hosts almost found an equaliser late on through Josh Sims, but his shot was parried by Courtois at the near post and Chelsea would hold on for all three points. Mark Hughes' side, who are sitting in the relegation zone, will look to this game if they do indeed get relegated this season. Chelsea took all three points in their race for a Champions League spot, while Southampton sit three points from safety and are in heavy danger.