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Huddersfield survive after battling draw at Chelsea

It was Huddersfield’s first attempt on goal and Chelsea were back level 13 minutes later when a defensive clearance struck Marcos Alonso on the head and rebounded into the net.

Huddersfield Town defender Tommy Smith (C) runs onto the pitch to celebrate Premier League survival after their match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in London on 9 May, 2018. Picture: AFP

LONDON – Huddersfield Town secured their Premier League survival and severely dented Chelsea’s Champions League hopes with a heroic 1-1 Premier League draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Huddersfield, needing a point to be sure of avoiding relegation, took a shock lead in the 50th minute when a long ball from Aaron Mooy found Laurent Depoitre who won a challenge with Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero on the edge of the box and put the ball in the empty net.

It was Huddersfield’s first attempt on goal and Chelsea were back level 13 minutes later when a defensive clearance struck Marcos Alonso on the head and rebounded into the net.

Chelsea kept up the pressure as they pushed for a winner and Huddersfield keeper Jonas Lossl turned a header by Andreas Christensen on to the post.

But the visitors, who also drew 0-0 at champions Manchester City on Sunday, held on to secure their Premier League status and Chelsea remained outside the Champions League spots in fifth place with one game left in the season.

The Huddersfield supporters sang “We are staying up” as manager David Wagner celebrated wildly with his players on the pitch.

“This is an unbelievable achievement. We have a further season in the Premier League,” Wagner told the BBC.

“For sure, we had our luck, for sure, Chelsea were the better team. We stole a point but we needed it.”

“The dressing-room has shown such togetherness all season, they always believed that in football the impossible is possible and we have done it. We didn’t have to rely on other teams, we have done it on our own.

“We love games like this, we knew what we needed, a point.”

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was in downbeat mood with his team needing to win their final game at Newcastle and hope Liverpool lose at home to Brighton if they are to qualify for the Champions League.

“The only hope and intention was to keep our hopes alive and win the game. We tried with all of our strength to win but the result penalised our team a lot,” Conte said.

“For sure we had so many chances and you must be good to take them. It is not the first time that we are not clinical, there are many circumstances for this. We must accept the final result and the commitment was impressive of the players. We tried to win the game until the end.”

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