FORMER Chelsea youngster Fabio Borini gave rock-bottom Sunderland fresh hope in the survival battle after inflicting a first ever home Premier League defeat on Jose Mourinho.
Borini’s second half penalty handed Sunderland a first top flight win since February and moved the Black Cats within three points of safety after following up Wednesday’s draw at Manchester City, with a further upset in the title race.
Samuel Eto’o had given Chelsea an early lead when he converted Willian’s penalty, but Sunderland immediately hit back with Connor Wickham netting his third in two games.
Sunderland were on the back foot for large portions of the second half, but with eight minutes to go, substitute Jozy Altidore was brought down in the penalty area.
On-loan Liverpool striker Borini kept his cool, with his seventh goal in Sunderland colours utterly transforming the Black Cats’ prospects of remaining in the Premier League.
Sunderland were unchanged for successive Premier League games for only the second time during Gus Poyet’s stewardship as Black Cats boss, as he stuck with the side which drew 2-2 at Manchester City in midweek.
There was a change on the bench though, with fit-again Ondrej Celustka taking the place of academy product Liam Agnew.
Former Middlesbrough keeper Mark Schwarzer started for Chelsea, with Petr Cech missing out through illness.
That was one of three changes for Chelsea, with Samuel Eto’o and Oscar taking the places of Demba Ba and Andre Schurrle.
Chelsea dominated possession in the opening stages, without threatening the Sunderland goal, yet the Black Cats produced the first meaningful effort of the game in the seventh minute.
Connor Wickham brought Vito Mannone’s goal-kick under control before laying it off to Fabio Borini, who let fly with a right-footed shot from 25 yards which was well wide.
But in the 12th minute, Sunderland fell behind by the familiar route of a set piece - the 17th time this season they have conceded from a deadball situation.
Willian drifted in a corner from the left and with Vito Mannone opting to stay on his line, Samuel Eto’o met the ball five yards out, ahead of the stooping Lee Cattermole, who tried to head the ball clear, a foot off the deck.
It took Sunderland just six minutes to draw level though after Wickham netted his third in two games.
Seb Larsson took a corner short to Marcos Alonso, in acres of space 20 yards out, and the Spaniard unleashed a left-footed drive which was spilled horribly by Schwarzer.
Wickham pounced on the rebound and tucked it coolly into the net from six yards.
Moments later, Adam Johnson curled a left-footed shot a couple of yards wide of the far post after cutting inside from the right.
Sunderland had an almighty let-off from another Chelsea corner in the 36th minute after Mannone again failed to come for Willian’s deliver from the left.
Ivanovic met it with his head, but his effort was blocked by Mannone onto the crossbar before landing fortuitously back in the goalkeeper’s arms.
Three minutes before the break, Mannone produced a more confident contribution after blocking Nemanja Matic’s dipping shot from 20 yards.
The Italian then reacted to Mohamed Salah’s rebound by pushing the ball away from the six-yard box.
Seconds later, Mannone didn’t get a clean connection to Salah’s cross from the right and the ball bounced invitingly into the path of Ramires, with the goal at his mercy, eight yards out.
But Ramires appeared to be pushed out of the way by Larsson - not an offence spotted by referee MIke Dean - with the Brazilian sending his off-balance header wide.
Ramires then enacted some retribution by throwing an arm into the face of Larsson, although that somehow wasn’t seen by Dean either, despite being just a couple of yards away.
HALF-TIME Chelsea 1 Sunderland 1
Eto’o was a whisker away from doubling his tally three minutes after the break after a lightning quick break from Willian.
The winger collected possession midway inside his own half, raced forward and fed Eto’o on the left-hand side of Sunderland’s area, with the striker cutting inside and curling a shot inches wide of the far post.
Chelsea went close in the 65th minute when Eto’o fed Willian on the right-hand by-line and he pulled it back dangerously into the path of substitute Demba Ba.
But Ba couldn’t keep his balance and sliced his shot harmlessly wide of the far post.
With eight minutes to go, Sunderland went ahead after being awarded the chance from the penalty spot.
Cesar Azpilicueta slipped as he tried to clear just outside his own area and substitute Jozy Altidore nipped in, charged into the area before being brought down by the full-back.
Fabio Borini kept his cool from the spot, placing it straight down the middle, with Schwarzer diving fruitlessly to his right.
Chelsea coach Rui Faria was then sent to the stands after reacting furiously to referee Dean, before Mannone tipped over Andre Schurrle’s shot from 25 yards.
Emanuele Giaccherini then shot just over the bar from the edge of the area in stoppage time.
FULL-TIME Chelsea 1 Sunderland 2
CHELSEA: Schwarzer, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Matic; Willian, Oscar (Ba 59), Salah (Schurrle 66), Eto’o (Torres 74). Subs not used: Hilario, David Luiz, Mikel, Lampard, Torres. Booked: Torres (90)
SUNDERLAND: Mannone, Vergini, Brown, O’Shea, Alonso, Cattermole, Colback, Larsson (Celustka 90), Johnson (Giaccherini 66), Borini, Wickham (Altidore 66). Subs not used: Ustari, Ba, Scocco, Mavrias. Booked: Cattermole (56), Brown (73)
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