Jose Mourinho maintained his unbeaten home record in English Premier League soccer as Chelsea defeated Aston Villa 2-1.
Branislav Ivanovic’s 73rd-minute goal gave Chelsea the win last night at Stamford Bridge in London. The Blues took the lead on an own goal from Antonio Luna in the seventh minute and Villa’s Christian Benteke tied the score just before half time.
Mourinho has never lost in 62 home league matches at Chelsea. The Portuguese returned to the club for a second stint in June after leaving Real Madrid and opened the season with a 2-0 win against Hull City four days ago.
“That was very hard,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “I told Paul Lambert that they deserve a point. It wouldn’t be unfair.”
After being routed 8-0 at Chelsea last season, Lambert’s Villa team provided a tougher test last night.
The Blues used a bit of fortune to take the lead. Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan pushed out Eden Hazard’s shot, only to have the ball ricochet into the net off defender Luna.
Villa, which won 3-1 at Arsenal in its season opener, drew even in first-half stoppage time as Gabriel Agbonlahor drove down the left side and squared the ball for Benteke to score between Petr Cech and the post for his third goal of the season.
Ivanovic headed in Frank Lampard’s free kick three minutes after receiving a yellow card in the 70th minute for hitting Benteke in the face with his arm as the two went up for the ball. Lambert said the Serbian defender should never have been given the chance to score.
“It’s easy to come on here and have sour grapes, but it’s there for everybody to see,” Lambert told Sky Sports. “He clearly elbowed Christian Benteke. It was a sending off.”
The win took Chelsea atop the standings having played a game more than every team but Villa. Their match was rescheduled because of the Blues’ participation in the UEFA Super Cup against Bayern Munich on Aug. 30.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at email@example.com.