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Blues claw back to earn draw

28 September 2013, 15:44

London - Juan Mata has inspired a Chelsea recovery as the first managerial clash between former colleagues Jose Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas ended in a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Much had been made of the breakdown in the relationship the two managers had once shared in the build-up to the Premier League game at White Hart Lane.

Villas-Boas was a trusted scout at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan before the pair parted ways in Italy.

Villas-Boas then began his own career in management, which saw him sacked as Chelsea manager in March 2012 and then appointed by Tottenham last season.

Terse pre-match comments and a brief handshake moments before kick-off were exchanged, but it was a player with whom Mourinho has a strained relationship who was to prove central on the day.

Chelsea had been outclassed in the first half and trailed to Gylfi Sigurdsson's goal, but they were transformed once Mata -- a player Mourinho has used sparingly due to concerns over his work rate -- was allowed to come on for the second half.

Indeed, Chelsea were strong enough to see the game out with 10 men after Fernando Torres was questionably shown a second yellow card for an elbow on Jan Vertonghen.

The home side took the lead in the 19th minute through Sigurdsson, who capped a fine move with a neat finish to record his third goal of the campaign.

Christian Eriksen was the architect, nipping past Frank Lampard before passing to Roberto Soldado, who, with a defender at his back, laid the ball off for Sigurdsson. The Iceland midfielder rode John Terry's challenge before beating Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Mourinho sat morosely in his seat as Villas-Boas celebrated by punching the air and the home side continued to dominate when play restarted.

Branislav Ivanovic had to put a Soldado cross over this own bar, and Cech was soon required to save from Kyle Naughton following more good work from Eriksen.

Chelsea saw an Eden Hazard drive deflected behind for a corner and Andros Townsend, having neatly turned Ashley Cole, was booked for diving as Lampard challenged.

Townsend's response was to set Paulinho up for a chance that saw his shot beat Cech but hit the goalkeeper's near post and bounce away to safety. Chelsea were fortunate not to be two goals down, although Terry headed a good chance wide just before the break.

Mourinho had scuttled off down the tunnel before the half-time whistle and he made an immediate change for the second period, with Mata replacing John Mikel Obi.

Oscar was on the end of a Torres ball across the box, but could not hit the target at full stretch, as Ramires dropped back into one of the two defensive midfield slots to accommodate Mata in the number 10 role, with Hazard switching to the right.

Torres was booked for tripping Vertonghen before embarking on a run that saw him beat Michael Dawson before Hugo Lloris came out to make a smart stop.

Mata put the ball in the net but it was ruled out for offside, before Hazard forced Lloris into another save with a long-range effort.

Vertonghen was booked for a late challenge on Ramires and Chelsea levelled from the free-kick. Terry lost his marker to head Mata's delivery past Lloris, but Mourinho barely reacted to that goal either.

Andre Schurrle replaced Hazard before Lewis Holtby came on for Eriksen, who had faded, and Villas-Boas then played his final card, with Jermain Defoe coming on for Soldado for the last 15 minutes.

Chelsea finished with 10 men after referee Mike Dean judged that Torres had used an arm in an aerial tussle with Vertonghen and was shown a second yellow card.

Sigurdsson almost won it for Tottenham late on with an effort that beat Cech but just drifted wide.



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