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Southampton 1 - Chelsea 1: Match Report

A solid display as Southampton held the league leaders for a point to end the year in Champions League spot.

Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Southampton ends their impressive 2014 with a creditable draw against league leaders Chelsea in what was a closely contested match.

Ronald Koeman made four changes to the starting XI that won at Crystal Palace, Nathaniel Clyne (injury), Ryan Bertrand (on loan from Chelsea) was left out of the squad. In their place, Maya Yoshida and Matt Targett comes in while José Fonte also returned after missing the previous game, replacing Florin Gardos, while James Ward-Prowse makes way for Victor Wanyama.

The host started the game brightly, dominating possession and giving Chelsea quite a bit of trouble. Barely a minute had passed when Dušan Tadić tried his luck from distance, but his shot was off target.

Slowly but surely, Chelsea began to exert their influence on the game but could not create a meaningful chance despite some neat play from Cesc Fabregas.

That allowed The Saints to take the lead in the 17th minute as Chelsea's defense switched off (a rarity), Tadić sent Sadio Mané through with a ball over the top of Chelsea's defender, the Senegal international took a touch with his head before lobbing it past Thibaut Courtois.

That goal seemed to spark Chelsea into life but Southampton matched them inch-by-inch in the field, rarely allowing the visitors a good look at the goal.

But just when it looked like Southampton was going to take a one-goal lead at halftime, Chelsea scored.

Eden Hazard raced down towards The Saints' penalty area and he cuts inside to left Yoshida trailing behind him, the diminutive Belgian then struck a low shot past Fraser Forster to level the score.

The second half saw Chelsea laid siege on Southampton's goal, but The Saints defended bravely to deny a second goal for the current league leaders.

Chances were few and far in between in the second half, with neither side failing to find the breakthrough. The Saints though had to spent the last few minutes with 10 men after Morgan Schneiderlin picked up two bookings and will miss the New Year's day match against Arsenal.

Jose Mourinho's men increased the pressure in a bid to find a winner but to no avail as Ronald Koeman's men hanged on for a well deserved point to end the year.