John Terry went from zero to hero on his 700th appearance for Chelsea as they drew 3-3 with Everton in the Premier League after an exhilarating second half at Stamford Bridge.
A 50th-minute own goal from Chelsea’s captain and an excellent strike from Kevin Mirallas put the Toffees two up, before Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas quickly pulled the Blues level.
Ramiro Funes Mori thought that he had won it for Everton with his 90th-minute strike, but Terry made sure his landmark day was marked with a goal at the right end deep into stoppage time.
Terry is the highest-scoring defender in Premier League history with 40 goals. This one was beautifully taken – a very clever flick – but Everton will be furious that he was clearly offside.
A dull first half in which two sides, languishing much lower in the table than they would want, registered just one shot on target apiece gave no indication of the madness that would follow.
The closest that either side came was when Mirallas had an effort chalked off for offside. Everton’s Belgian winger cleverly lobbed compatriot Thibaut Courtois before the flag was raised.
The chaos truly began with Terry’s fourth Premier League own goal – more than any other Chelsea player – five minutes after the restart, but the unfortunate home skipper was not the sole culprit.
Chelsea allowed Everton to move the ball across the pitch without a challenge, and Leighton Baines delivered a cross which Terry turned into his own net amid confusion with Courtois.
SEE MORE: John Terry own goal video v Everton: Chelsea captain embarrassed on 700th game
Things got worse for Terry and company six minutes later when Mirallas found the bottom corner with a superb left-footed strike on the turn – Baines again playing a role in the build-up.
But Chelsea, still unbeaten under interim boss Guus Hiddink, showed some of the spirit that was missing when they went behind under Jose Mourinho, to wrestle themselves parity by 66 minutes.
Costa and Fabregas – two players whose poor early-season form was blamed for Mourinho’s sacking, as the Daily Mail reports, each scored to continue their revival since Hiddink’s arrival.
Everton’s own poor defending was to blame as Costa burst through the middle and rounded Howard, who was beaten again 90 seconds later by a Fabregas shot which took a decisive deflection.
Everton were not broken by Chelsea’s response and remained an attacking threat themselves. Mirallas should have scored when sent through one-on-one on 77 minutes, but this time C0urtois stood tall.
The Chelsea goalkeeper and his defence are not as hard to beat as they were last season, though. Awful marking and awareness from a stoppage-time corner allowed Funes-Mori to convert at the back post.
The Toffees celebrated what was poised to be their first win in four, but, just like they were against Bournemouth and Stoke City prior to the New Year, they were caught napping at the death.
A point apiece leaves Everton in 11th and Chelsea in 14th in the table. The surrendering champions could be only as few as four points above the relegation zone if Swansea City beat Watford on Monday.
Chelsea player ratings:
GK: Thibaut Courtois – 5/10
RB: Branislav Ivanovic – 5/10
CB: Kurt Zouma – 5/10
CB: John Terry – 6/10
LB: Cesar Azpilicueta – 5/10
CM: Nemanja Matic – 5/10 (Oscar 55) – 6/10
CM: John Obi Mikel – 5/10
AMR: Willian – 6/10
AMC: Cesc Fabregas – 7/10
AML: Pedro – 5/10 (Kenedy 66) – 6/10
ST: Diego Costa – 8/10 (Loic Remy 80) – N/a
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