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IMPROVED DISPLAY GOES UNREWARDED!

A defiant Stoke City have subjected Chelsea to their seventh defeat of the season and pile more misery on Jose Mourinho .

Despite a much improved performance from the Blues, the Potters held out to rise triumphant over a dejected Chelsea side. Having been reduced to ten men, Stoke were battling adversity but somehow managed to hold off the onslaught to force penalties. The defeat exacerbate’s Mourinho’s predicament by adding to the pressure placed on the Portuguese’s shoulders.

Chelsea appeared re-energised at the beginning of the game, displaying great attacking intent. The Blues amassed a total of six shots, yet these efforts failed to materialise into goals. Chelsea’s best opportunity of the first-half fell to the feet of Ramires. The Brazilian had been delightfully fed by Abdul Baba Rahman who produced a stunning pass, Ramires opted to round Butland yet failed to squeeze home from an acute angle.

Both Oscar and Eden Hazard tested Butland’s competence in the Stoke goal, yet the Englishman was equal to the task in hand. In fact, it was former Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic who certified the game would remain goalless at the end of the first-half. Jonathan Walters received the ball a mere 8 yards from the goal, Begovic’s awareness was unrivalled as he confidently denied Stoke of a one goal advantage. 0-0 HT.

Stoke began the second-half with greater purpose, this endeavour soon warranted Mark Hughes’ side with a goal, a spectacular one in fact. Glen Whelan found the Irishman with a relatively simple pass. The ball bounced invitingly for Walters, who produced a stunning half-volley which flew beyond the reach of the hopeless Begovic. 1-0 Stoke.

A sense of de ja vu overshadowed the game from a Chelsea perspective. It seemed that nothing that the Blues attempted would warrant any fortune. Mourinho resorted to his bench in an attempt to resurrect the cup-tie, youngsters Bertrand Traore and Robert Kendey were entrusted with the task of maintaining Chelsea’s Capital One Cup defence.

Both succeeded in impacting the game, coincidentally it was Kenedy who earned Chelsea the corner that led to the equaliser. The corner was met by the towering Kurt Zouma, the ball then fell favourably at the feet of Remy who was on hand to blast the ball into the back of the net. This prompted scenes of jubilation amongst players and supporters alike. FT 1-1, extra time required.

Despite being empowered with a numerical advantage moments prior the end of normal time- which was long over due after dangerous challenges from both Charlie Adam and Marc Wilson went unpunished while Ryan Shawcross can also count himself rather fortunate after the officials let slide a number of bookable offences- Chelsea failed to conquer Stoke’s unprecedented determination which perhaps was best personified by Mame Biram Diouf.

Diouf, a renowned striker was operating as a make shift right-back. Penalties was to determine the outcome of this Capital One Cup fixture.

An enlivened Stoke seemed confident and clinical in the penalty technique, scoring all five of their spot-kicks. Likewise, Chelsea succeeded in matching Stoke’s efforts, until Eden Hazard – who performed remarkably well on the night – stepped up to take the climacteric penalty.

The Belgian’s effort was saved, Stoke City won the game, progressing to the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup. Consequently, this defeat might mean that Chelsea’s clash with Liverpool on Saturday will determine Mourinho’s future at the club.

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