By Mike Collett
LONDON (Reuters) – Coach Jose Mourinho was ordered from the dugout and striker Samuel Eto’o was involved in a highly debatable equaliser as Chelsea beat Cardiff City 4-1 to move up to second in the Premier League on Saturday.Mourinho, no stranger to disputes, was sent to the stands 20 minutes from time for protesting to referee Anthony Taylor after becoming increasingly frustrated at what he perceived to be Cardiff’s time-wasting tactics.
The Portuguese, though, was not at the heart of the main controversy in the match.
That surrounded Chelsea’s first goal, scored after 33 minutes by Eden Hazard after Eto’o had nipped in to steal the ball from Cardiff keeper David Marshall as he was bouncing it.
The visiting players protested but the goal stood and promoted City, who had taken an early lead through Jordan Mutch, were sunk by three second-half strikes.
“At the time I did not see it but I have been in to see the referee,” Cardiff manager Malky Mackay told reporters. “Our goalkeeper bounced the ball, he saw the player standing there.
“The referee is saying he heard from his linesman that he dropped the ball. He said if the goalkeeper bounces the ball it is a foul on him.
“It’s a huge mistake, a horrendous error. The officials have got it wrong between them and it has cost us. We went in 1-1 at halftime instead of being 1-0 up.”
Former referee George Courtney, now an assessor, told the BBC: “It seems to me the goalkeeper is still in possession of the ball while he’s bouncing it, according to the law, so he should not be challenged.
“If an identical incident happened tomorrow I would disallow it and award an indirect free kick. But of course do bear in mind the laws of the game are open to interpretation.”
Mourinho, who stunned a fan when he sat down next to him after being ordered from the dugout, was unhappy with Cardiff’s delaying tactics throughout.
Steve Holland, his assistant, said: “Jose is very frustrated and it stems from the time-wasting by the opposition from the first two or three minutes. We mentioned it politely to the fourth official and the referee.
“It was a deliberate ploy to break up the game and needed some action. Jose was furious on the touchline.
“The result changed from 1-0 to them to 2-1 to us and we had a throw-in right in front of the dugout. I think Cardiff had just kicked the ball out and they had to give us it back.
“Branislav Ivanovic had it in his hands for two seconds, no more, and the referee was on to him about getting the ball back into play and pointing at his watch,” added Holland, referring to the moment Mourinho’s rant at Taylor led to his dismissal.
Mutch put Cardiff ahead after poor defending by David Luiz in the 10th minute.
Hazard levelled in controversial fashion from three metres before Eto scored his first Chelsea goal in the 66th minute, cutting in from the left and rifling the ball home with his right foot.
Oscar added a stunning third in the 78th minute with a dipping long-range effort that went in off the underside of the bar before Hazard made it 4-1 when Marshall allowed a tame shot to slip under his body.
Chelsea were not at their best until the latter stages and it needed a goal from Eto’o to calm the nerves of the Stamford Bridge fans.
“It’s always difficult when you change clubs but to change countries and leagues as well increases that,” said Holland of the Cameroonian’s first goal since joining from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in August.
“He’s scored goals at the top level throughout Europe all his career but I’m sure he’ll be feeling happier to have that first one under his belt and be off the mark.” – Reuters via Yahoo news
By Mike Collett