Jorginho’s injury-time penalty gives Chelsea dramatic victory over Leeds

Chelsea’s title challenge was on the verge of unravelling. Unable to hold on to a lead, their sheen of defensive invulnerability has disappeared and Thomas Tuchel looked short of answers when Joe Gelhardt equalised for Marcelo Bielsa’s vibrant Leeds United side a minute after coming off the bench.

Tuchel simply folded back into his seat in the dugout when the ball went in. Chelsea, who had fought from behind to lead, had asked for it. They have conceded eight times in their last three matches and were in danger of slipping away from Manchester City and Liverpool at the top.

Related: Salah’s penalty downs Villa as Liverpool deny Gerrard a happy Anfield return

But there was more drama to come. A frantic game had entered stoppage time when another Leeds substitute, Mateusz Klich, was deemed to have brought down Antonio Rüdiger just inside the area. Rüdiger had already won one penalty and when this one survived a VAR review, Jorginho rescued Chelsea by scoring his second spot-kick.

There was more aggression to Chelsea’s approach after a string of unfocused displays, Thiago Silva setting the tone by winning possession off Tyler Roberts with a thunderous challenge early on, but they would not have it all their own way. Typically adventurous, Leeds did not hesitate to attack once they had settled down. There were openings for Jack Harrison and Raphinha, who saw a bending free-kick pushed away by Édouard Mendy, and Tuchel must have been concerned at how easily the visitors played through his midfield, where the absence of N’Golo Kanté and Mateo Kovacic left Chelsea short of balance.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek was a ponderous presence and Jorginho, who was playing through hip and back pain, found the pace difficult at times. Leeds had too much room and it did not come as a surprise when they went ahead in the 28th minute, Raphinha planting a penalty past Mendy after a skittish challenge from Marcos Alonso on Daniel James.

Those two had previous: Alonso, who has struggled at left wing-back in the absence of the injured Ben Chilwell, had given away a penalty by fouling James when the winger was playing for Manchester United in October 2019.

This time he got nowhere near the ball as James, deputising for the hamstrung Patrick Bamford up front, ran at him on the right and Chelsea were up against it once Raphinha, fooling Mendy with a stuttering run-up, had tucked away a low spot-kick.

Joe Gelhardt scores for Leeds to make it 2-2 at Stamford Bridge.
Joe Gelhardt scores for Leeds to make it 2-2 at Stamford Bridge. Leeds would be denied by a late Chelsea winner. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Chelsea grew even nervier after falling behind, their edginess betrayed by Reece James flying into a wild challenge on James. The wing-back easily could have been sent off, although Leeds were also fortunate when Chris Kavanagh chose not to penalise Roberts for a tackle that left Timo Werner writhing in a heap on the left touchline.

Leeds were beginning to irritate their hosts. For all their territorial dominance, Chelsea were making little. The attacks were too rushed at times, with Timo Werner a blunt instrument on the left, and it was hard to see where a goal was coming from as half-time approached.

Related: Arsenal stroll past Southampton after Arteta drops Aubameyang

With tempers rising, however, Chelsea profited by increasing the intensity of their press. After 42 minutes Alonso, desperate to make amends, won possession off Stuart Dallas. An exchange of passes with Werner took Alonso to the byline and when the Spaniard cut the ball back, Mason Mount crept in unnoticed to clip a low finish past Illan Meslier.

Alonso, who had been subjected to taunts from the Leeds fans, celebrated in front of the raucous away end. Mount’s goal had shattered the tension and Chelsea could have led at the break; Kai Havertz, preferred up front to Romelu Lukaku, should have beaten Meslier after being sent through on goal.

Another Chelsea goal seemed inevitable at the start of the second half. Leeds, who could have done with Kalvin Phillips’s poise in midfield, had no way out and the pressure told when Rüdiger, such a driving force for Chelsea with his runs from the back, rumbled into the area before being chopped down by Raphinha, whose comical scissor challenge was eventually penalised by VAR.

Jorginho did the rest from the spot, calmly sending Meslier the wrong way, but still Chelsea could not relax. They had given away four leads in their previous two games and Leeds responded well after going behind, Raphinha’s winding runs continuing to cause problems.

Leeds were bold. After 82 minutes Bielsa threw on Gelhardt. A minute later another substitute, Klich, slipped a pass through to Roberts, whose cross was turned in by Gelhardt.

Tuchel responded, throwing on Lukaku. Chelsea would find the answer.