West Brom beats Chelsea 2-1 in Premier League
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) West Bromwich Albion striker Peter Odemwingie made it a miserable return to the Hawthorns for Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo by securing a 2-1 win in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Nigeria international headed home a cross from Shane Long in the 51st minute as West Brom climbed into the top four, just one point behind Chelsea.
Long's opening goal in the 10th was canceled out by Eden Hazard in the 39th.
The result gave Di Matteo, who spent two years as Albion boss, and his team a first away loss in the league this season.
But his former club, managed by former Chelsea assistant Steve Clarke, are making a credible run for a spot in Europe after registering a sixth win in seven home games.
"I'm delighted, a great three points, good attacking play, two fantastic goals, and dogged determined defensive play towards the end," Clarke said. "Can we think of the Champions League? I don't look that far ahead, I look from game to game. It is a great time to be at the club and if the supporters want to dream a bit, they can. But within the camp, we will keep our feet on the ground."
After a strong start to the campaign, Chelsea has taken only two points from their last four league games.
"It is a ground we find difficult, last season when we lost here, and now this season again," Di Matteo said. "We know they are very good at home. But giving away goals like we did today makes it difficult to win the game."
The Blues dominated for long periods with Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge causing problems. But they found keeper Boaz Myhill, who filled in for the injured Ben Foster, in inspired form with several crucial saves.
Chelsea clearly missed the physical presence at the back of injured skipper John Terry who will be side-lined for three weeks with a knee injury.
Long and Odemwingie fully capitalized on the absence of the former England defender as they punished some slack defending.
Long was looking to honor his grandmother, who died yesterday, and put in another superb performance. The Ireland international revealed a T-shirt which said `RIP Nan' after scoring the opening goal.
The Baggies took the lead via their first worthwhile attack.
Zoltan Gera played the ball back to James Morrison, who floated a cross to Long who got in behind David Luiz to head home from close range.
Chelsea tried to retaliate and John Obi Mikel's low 30-yard drive was only just off target with Myhill scrambling across his line.
But Hazard leveled for the Blues in the 38th with his fourth goal of the season. He attacked Cesar Azpilicueta's deep cross and was able to squeeze the ball past Myhill at the far post with a powerful header.
Chelsea continued to dominate possession and Moses fired over after being teed up by Cahill.
But Odemwingie restored Albion's lead five minutes into the second half.
This time Long was the creator with a cross to the near post and the Nigerian international got in front of Bertrand to glance his header past Cech for his fourth goal of the campaign.
Sturridge should have made it 2-2 with three minutes left but screwed his shot across the face of goal.
Updated November 17, 2012