Chelsea beats Spurs 2-0 in match marred by alleged racism
LONDON (AP) Chelsea beat 10-man Tottenham 2-0 in a Premier League game overshadowed by allegations of racist abuse in the crowd that led to the stadium announcer issuing three warnings on Sunday.
Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who is black, told captain Cesar Azpilicueta that he had heard "monkey noises" in the stands after his involvement in the sending-off of Son Heung-min in the 62nd minute, and Azpilicueta reported it to referee Anthony Taylor.
On three separate occasions, the stadium announcer said racist behavior among spectators was "interfering with the game."
According to FIFA protocol, a match should be suspended if there is a second announcement about discrimination and then be abandoned after the third announcement.
Tottenham released a statement saying there had been "an alleged incident of racism" during the game and that the club was "conducting a thorough investigation which will include liaising with Chelsea and their players for their observations."
It left a cloud over a game which should have been about Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, who got the better of his Tottenham counterpart Jose Mourinho - a coach Lampard won five trophies under as a Chelsea player.
It was a polished display on Chelsea's first visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Willian's two first-half goals cementing fourth place in the standings and increasing the advantage over seventh-place Spurs to six points. It also ended a run of four defeats in five games.
In contrast, it was an afternoon where Mourinho's side self-destructed, with individual errors contributing to both goals before Son was dismissed after an act of petulance toward Rudiger that was caught by the video assistant referee.
With the help of a change of formation to a 3-4-3, Chelsea was the better team from the start, controlling possession and enjoying plenty of success down the left from where the 12th-minute opener originated.
Tottenham right back Serge Aurier needlessly conceded a corner and then Spurs switched off as Chelsea took it quickly, going out to Willian far too slowly. That allowed the Brazilian to take full advantage by whipping a shot into the far corner.
It was a fourth goal of the season for Willian, who was signed by Mourinho in 2013 ahead of Tottenham.
After Tottenham's Dele Alli and Chelsea's Mateo Kovacic were booked for some off-the-ball grappling, the first half ended in even more dramatic fashion.
Spurs goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga seemed primed to collect Willian's long ball through, but he inexplicably chose to try and kick it clear instead of taking it with his hands. His studs-first, chest-high lunge missed the ball and took out Marcos Alonso. Taylor initially awarded Spurs a free kick, but the VAR overturned the decision and Willian coolly slotted home from the spot.
Any realistic hope of Tottenham getting back into the game ended when Son was sent off.
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Updated December 22, 2019