Chelsea stars booed off at Stamford Bridge as fans endure shambolic wolves defeat

Chelsea were booed off at Stamford Bridge as Wolves delivered a 4-2 hammer blow defeat to Mauricio Pochettino’s hopes of qualifying for Europe.

Cole Palmer had fired Chelsea into an early lead before Matheus Cunha’s deflected effort dragged the visitors level only minutes later. That suckerpunch left the Blues reeling and it was little surprise to see Wolves ahead before the break through Axel Disasi’s own goal.

Cunha scored twice in the second half to notch a deserved hat-trick on a miserable day for the hosts, who cut the deficit through a Thiago Silva consolation.

That Chelsea went ahead so early was in keeping with not only their fine home form, entering this game on a ten-match unbeaten run at the Bridge, but also the fast start made by both teams.

Wolves’ high press forced errors from the home team as both Pedro Neto and Cunha tested Djordje Petrovic before Christopher Nkunku was denied one-on-one inside the first five minutes.

A slick left-to-right move created the opening goal as Moises Caicedo played Palmer into the box, and the 21-year-old finished low into the far corner for his 12th Chelsea goal of the season.

Just over two minutes later, Wolves levelled when Joao Gomes stole the ball off Caicedo and Cunha’s shot cannoned in off Silva.

The Blues provided little in the way of a response as they continued to make errors in possession and it was a swift Wolves attack that put them ahead just before the break, Neto crossed for Rayan Ait-Nouri to strike goalwards on his 100th appearance for the club and it went in via a deflection off Disasi.

Chelsea allowed Neto to shoot at goal moments after the restart but were quickly on the front foot themselves, Palmer and Ben Chilwell combining to tee up Raheem Sterling in the box, but he dragged his shot wide.

As so often has been the case with Chelsea of late, errors were comprehensively punished as the immense Neto stormed down the right flank to leave Silva in his dust and tee up Cunha for 3-1 on 63 minutes.

Nicolas Jackson had entered the game off the bench only moments beforehand and he soon missed a chance to cut into their deficit, heading a glorious chance wide at the back post from a fine Malo Gusto cross.

A first win away to Chelsea since 1979 was then sealed by Cunha, who grabbed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after being fouled by Gusto.

Silva’s late header in response failed to prevent the Blues from dropping to 11th in the table, as Wolves edged above them to go within four points of the European places.

Photo Credit: premierleague/ X

(Watch Highlights) South Africa goalkeeper saves four penalties as Cape Verde crash out of AFCON after shootout

South Africa goalkeeper Ronwen Williams saved four penalties in the post-match shootout against the Cape Verde Islands to carry his country into the last four of the Africa Cup of Nations after a 0-0 draw in their quarterfinal on Saturday.

Mothobi Mvala scored the decisive kick to make it 2-1 on penalties and win South Africa a semifinal place for the first time since 2000 but they were fortunate to get past the smallest nation in the tournament at Charles Konan Banny Stadium.

South Africa now take on Nigeria in Bouake in their semifinal on Wednesday.

It was a game full of missed opportunities but Cape Verde, who have a population of 600,000 but draw most of their players from a large diaspora in Europe, had most of the chances and were only denied a last-four place by the heroics of Williams.

South Africa survived several scares with Williams making a brilliant save to take the game into extra time before continuing his heroics in the shootout by saving four of the five kicks taken by the Cape Verdians.

South Africa dominated the early exchanges but went off the boil after the cooling break, midway through the half, and it was Cape Verde who finished the first half strongly.

They could have been ahead had captain Ryan Mendes taken his chance as the ball fell favourably for him in the box but after several touches to get into a shooting position, his effort was blocked.

There was an even better opportunity for Garry Rodrigues when he was free on goal after breaking down the left but he hit a soft shot straight at Williams.

Another chance for Rodrigues in the 70th minute as South Africa failed to clear a corner was blocked and Kenny Rocha and Jovane Cabral also came close minutes after.

But they should have sewn it up in stoppage time when Gilson Benchimol got goalside of the defenders and onto the end of a pass from the midfield, hitting the ball perfectly on the half volley but Williams made an outstanding save, deflecting the ball onto the woodwork and collecting the rebound.

Cape Verde veteran goalkeeper Vozinha had little to do in the 90 minutes but made two excellent stops at the start of extra time, first a point-blank save from Mihlali Mayambela and then turning a header from Evidence Makgopa over the bar.

Vozinha also made one save in the shootout but it was Williams who emerged as the hero.

Cape Verde have punched above their weight from the start of the tournament, upsetting Ghana in their opening match and finishing ahead of record winners Egypt in their group.

Earlier on Saturday, hosts Ivory Coast scored in the last minute of extra time to come from behind and beat Mali 2-1 in Bouake. The Ivorians meet the Democratic Republic of Congo in their semifinal on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: CAF_Online/ X