Sports Desk, Apr 20 (EFE).- Chelsea returned to the Premier League top four on Tuesday courtesy of a 0-0 draw against Brighton & Hove Albion that started 15 minutes late due to protests by Blues supporters against the London club’s plan to join a proposed European Super League.
The players and coaching staff were forced to sit on the team bus for 45 minutes as demonstrators blocked the road in front of Stamford Bridge.
At one point, former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, now a technical adviser to the squad, got off the bus to plead with the supporters to make way.
But what finally turned the situation around was word from Chelsea management that the club had begun the process of withdrawing from the prospective Super League.
Once play began, 16th-place Brighton were content to cede possession to the hosts, but Christian Pulisic missed the mark on Chelsea’s first big chance in the 16th minute.
Four minutes later, Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez stopped Kai Havertz from point-blank range and dealt comfortably with a Kurt Zouma strike from distance.
The best chances of the second half belonged to the Seagulls.
In the 78th minute, a Chelsea error ended with the ball on the foot of Brighton’s Adam Lallana, whose shot went just wide, and the Blues found themselves in trouble again seconds later.
Danny Welbeck hit the post before Blues keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga had to make a save against Lallana on the follow-up.
Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud fired wide on an opportunity in the 85th minute.
Brighton’s Ben White was sent off in the 92nd minute after picking up a second yellow card, but the hosts were unable to exploit the man advantage in the remaining time.
Chelsea go to 55 points, the same as West Ham United, but the Blues supplanted the Hammers in fourth by virtue of a better goal difference.
The Seagulls’ first-ever point at Stamford Bridge left them on 34 points, 8 above the drop zone. EFE