Chelsea defender Marco Alonso on Thursday scored a glorious equaliser to earn a 1-1 home draw with Leicester City, despite the hosts being wasteful on the night.
The result meant that Chelsea effectively sealed third place in the English Premier League ahead of the final round of fixtures on Sunday.
The draw lifted Chelsea to 71 points, 19 behind leaders Manchester City and three ahead of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in fourth, but Chelsea’s far superior goal difference means Spurs have no realistic chance of overtaking them.
While they will be delighted to seal third place, Chelsea will be disappointed not to win a game that saw them produce 27 shots but only the one goal as they dominated possession.
In contrast, Leicester scored with their only effort on target after seven minutes as Kasper Schmeichel sent a sweeping long ball to Timothy Castagne and his deflected pass fell into the path of James Maddison who curled a shot past Edouard Mendy.
Chelsea’s 34th-minute equaliser was exquisite as Reece James lofted a diagonal ball into the area for Alonso to volley home and it looked a matter of time before they added to their tally.
Thiago Silva sent a raking ball into the box but the lively Hakim Ziyech could not connect with it as Chelsea sought to turn their dominance into goals.
They earned a number of corners and free kicks around the area and though Leicester’s loose defending at set pieces has proved costly all season, Schmeichel was quickly off his line to claim the ball and avert danger.
As the clock ticked towards the hour mark Ziyech threatened twice, first from a free kick and then with a shot from the edge of the box, but again Schmeichel snuffed out the threat.
Christian Pulisic missed a glorious chance to bag the winner for Chelsea, completely miscuing his shot from Romelu Lukaku’s ball across the face of goal and sending his effort wide, and the hosts were to come no closer as the game ended all square.
Chelsea round off their league campaign at home to relegated Watford on Sunday when Leicester, who are in ninth place on 49 points, host Southampton. (Reuters/NAN)