Late goals as Chelsea comes from behind to beat Southampton
SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) Late goals from Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic saw an impressive Chelsea come from behind to beat Southampton 2-1 at St Mary's Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday.
Southampton took the lead on 41 minutes through Shane Long, but Fabregas drew the champions level in the 75th, as Chelsea became the first team to score against Southampton in seven games.
Ivanovic headed the winner in the 89th minute following a corner taken by Willian.
Chelsea extended its unbeaten league run since interim manager Guus Hiddink replaced Jose Mourinho in December to 11 games. That level of form could yet salvage Chelsea's season, with the team moving up to 11th in the standings, 11 points behind fourth-place Manchester City.
Southampton, which had not conceded in six games before Saturday, dropped to seventh place in the table - dealing a blow to its own hopes of European football next season.
In a surprise move, given Southampton's recent fine form, made Ronald Koeman made two changes, giving striker Charlie Austin his first league start in place of Graziano Pelle, as well as recalling right-back Cedric for James Ward-Prowse.
Chelsea, which was still without injured captain John Terry, remained unchanged after last weekend's 5-1 victory against Manchester City. The visitors were however forced into an early change after Pedro pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury, with Oscar taking his place.
But just as Chelsea was beginning to grow into the game, Southampton took the lead following a mistake by Baba Rahman. The young defender headed the ball straight into the path of Long, and Southampton's top scorer was able to race into the penalty area before beating Thibaut Courtois with a highly composed close-range chip.
However, Chelsea produced a vastly-improved performance in the second half and got its reward with a fortuitous equalizer, when Fabregas sent over a 75th minute cross that crept past goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
The goal gave Hiddink's side renewed hope, with Willian going close from the edge of the area.
Willian then followed up by providing the corner kick for Ivanovic's match-winning header.