Chelsea 1-1 Stoke City: Late equaliser from Diouf costs Chelsea the chance to move up the table

The Blues couldn't hold on to their lead late on as they dropped two crucial points at home to Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.

Chelsea 1-1 Stoke City: Late equaliser from Diouf costs Chelsea the chance to move up the table
(Source: @ChelseaFC)
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Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Baba Rahman; Matic (Fabregas), Mikel; Hazard (Loftus-Cheek), Oscar, Willian; Traore (Remy).
Stoke: Butland; Cameron, Wollscheid, Muniesa, Pieters; Imbula, Whelan; Shaqiri, Afellay, Arnautovic; Diouf.
SCORE: 1-0, min. 39, Traore. 1-1, min. 85, Diouf.

Chelsea failed to keep Stoke City at bay in a 1-1 draw that prevented the Blues from moving up to seventh in the table.

A superb opener from Bertrand Traore was cancelled out late on by Mame Biram Diouf in an open affair at Stamford Bridge.

The draw leaves the two sides where they started, with Chelsea sitting in tenth while Stoke's impressive season continues and they are in seventh as the two experience very different campaigns.

Dull first-half before Traore opens scoring

The game started fairly even with chances few and far between. The best chance for Chelsea in the early going came in the 27th minute when Willian lined up a shot from range but it went just wide of the far post.

Diouf should've broken the deadlock with ten minutes left in the first-half but his volley was hit into the ground and bounced wide to the right of Thibaut Courtois' goal.

Chelsea would make Stoke pay for the missed opportunity thanks to a wonderful hit from young striker Traore. After receiving the ball from Nemanja Matic, Traore spun before firing past Jack Butland from the outside of the box to make it 1-0 to the hosts.

The second-half provided a bit more action than the first, with Eden Hazard going close in the opening five minutes. A quick Cruyff turn freed the Belgian from his marker but his shot flew across the face of goal and past the far post. 

Chelsea were left disappointed with just a point. (Picture: Getty Images)
Chelsea were left disappointed with just a point. (Picture: Getty Images)

Courtois was forced into a great save before the hour mark as Xherdan Shaqiri burst into space and fired toward the corner but the Chelsea 'keeper got done well to tip the shot wide.

Chelsea went close to doubling their lead with nine minutes remaining as Willian fed Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the box but the youngster's shot was saved well by Butland in the Stoke net. Chelsea's failure to put the game to bed cost them with five minutes remaining as Stoke levelled the score.

Diouf punishes hosts for not building on lead

After Willian was dispossessed, Shaqiri's cross from the right side was poorly cleared by Courtois and his punch clear fell straight to the head of Diouf, who made no mistake from eight yards out.

A deserved goal for the visitors who had threatened all day but an avoidable mistake for Guus Hiddink's side. A goal that will also give Diouf a huge sense of relief after he missed a handful of golden chances for Stoke.

Oscar almost stole the three points late on with a glancing header but his effort went inches over the bar.

A 1-1 draw was the fair result on the afternoon but Chelsea will feel they should've ran out as winners today. The draw makes no difference to the table as both sides remain in the positions they started in before kickoff.

Chelsea are three points behind Stoke and nine points behind a European place with time running out to salvage anything from their season. Chelsea's draw still means that they are undefeated in the league since Hiddink took over as manager.

Chelsea's fixture against Liverpool next weekend has been postponed due to the Blues' FA Cup involvement, which pits them against Everton, while Stoke welcome an out-of-form Southampton team to the Britannia Stadium.