Aston Villa fell to defeat against Chelsea at Villa Park, just 24 hours after captain Stiliyan Petrov had been diagnosed with acute leukaemia. Goals from Daniel Sturridge and Branislav Ivanovic rewarded the visitors’ early dominance. A frantic few minutes then saw James Collins pull one back before Eric Lichaj drilled home to level.
But 60 seconds later, Ivanovic fired in from close range before Fernando Torres sealed the win in injury time. It was an emotional afternoon at Villa Park with Petrov turning up to the ground with his family looking in good spirits.
Villa players wore “Support Stan” T-shirts while warming up with Chelsea donning shirts reading “Our thoughts are with you” in support of the Villa captain.
Before the game, boss Alex McLeish urged his side, who had picked up just four points from their last seven games, to push on and win for their captain – but with an injury-ravaged side which boasted six changes, that was always going to be difficult.
Chelsea, who are pushing for a top-four spot and the Champions League place that goes with it, had clearly not read the script, with Juan Mata orchestrating everything from the centre as the home side afforded the Spaniard too much space.
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