English Premiership

Diouf equaliser denies Chelsea

Bertrand Traore (Getty)
Bertrand Traore (Getty)

Cape Town - Bertrand Traore saw his stunning strike cancelled out by Mame Diouf's late header as Stoke City held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Despite some good football in the opening stages, neither side was able to carve out a clear-cut chance until the 20th minute, when Ibrahim Afellay looked to curl one into the top corner from long range, requiring a diving save from Thibaut Courtois to keep it out.

The Potters created another great chance just two minutes later when Mame Diouf picked out Afellay on the left flank. The Dutchman got down the wing and slid the ball across goal, where Diouf had continued his run from the halfway line meet the cross but he couldn't get a clean connection and missed the target.

Next it was Chelsea's turn to threaten through Willian, who picked up possession after Marco Arnautovic had been caught out by Cesar Azpilicueta, driving towards the Stoke box and thumping a strike wide of goal.

The Blues came close again in the 33rd minute when Eden Hazard marauded forward down the left and played it inside for Oscar. The Brazilian couldn't control it properly but it fell for Bertrand Traore, whose shot was blocked by Marc Muniesa before Willian also had a go, but Erik Pieters was in the way.

The ball was down the other end soon afterward when Afellay slipped it down the right flank for Xherdan Shaqiri, who looked to pick out Diouf at the far post, but the Senegalese striker volleyed wide from close range.

Traore then struck again in the 39th minute, receiving a pass from Nemanja Matic with his back to goal and turning his marker to work some space before shifting it onto his favoured left foot and firing a rocket inside the far post.

The Blues could well have had a penalty in the 72nd when Muniesa bundled Oscar to the ground with a clumsy push from behind just as the Brazilian was picking up possession on the edge of the box, but the referee wasn't interested and the hosts hardly appealed for the spot kick.

Stoke were then level when Shaqiri burst down the right flank and whipped a cross into the box that Courtois came out to meet with a diving punch, but the Belgian didn't get enough on it allowing Diouf to head home on the rebound.

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