Chelsea and Brighton players clash after stoppage-time drama as Pochettino steps in

Mauricio Pochettino was forced to mediate on Sunday as his Chelsea players tangled with Brighton after the full-time whistle at Stamford Bridge. A lengthy VAR consultation in second-half stoppage-time offered the Seagulls hope, but the hosts did enough to see out a nail-biting 3-2 win.

Tensions boiled over following a back-and-forth contest which took fans on a white-knuckle ride in west London. A brace from Enzo Fernandez and a Levi Colwill header proved enough to get Chelsea over the line on home turf, despite Facundo Buonanotte and Joao Pedro netting for the visitors.

The Seagulls were widely expected to fight their way back into the game after Conor Gallagher’s red card, which left the Blues a man light and only one goal up at the break.

It wasn’t until stoppage time that Pedro pulled it back to 3-2, but there was still room for more drama as referee Craig Pawson was called over to the pitchside monitor for a handball check against Colwill.

Despite the ball clearly striking him in the face, Pawson initially appeared to point to the spot before it was made clear that possession would, strangely, be returned to Chelsea.

Brighton players were livid that a corner was not awarded, given that the ball cannoned off Colwill and went out of play. And the Seagulls’ protests went up a notch after the final whistle as players surrounded the referee to voice their anger.

Chelsea stars joined the argument as Pochettino was forced to chime in and calm things down. Brighton fans also felt aggrieved that their former midfielder, Moises Caicedo, avoided a second yellow card during the contest, and not all were convinced that James Milner’s tackle on Mykhaylo Mudryk was worth the penalty which led to the Blues’ third goal.

Pochettino paid no mind to the controversy once the dust settled on the post-match drama, insisting that his side were worth the result, which sent them up to 10th in the Premier League table.

“We deserved the victory,” stated the Argentine. “When you analyse the game we were very competitive. It was an important victory for us because after [the Newcastle defeat] we needed to show a different face, and the team’s response was really good.

“I told the players at half-time that we had a massive opportunity to show that we are a team. That was how we took the second half. Yes, we talked about the way we needed to play, but the most important thing with one man less was to challenge Brighton.”

Source: Express

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