Chelsea 1-0 Southampton - BBC Sport

Marcos Alonso
Marcos Alonso's winner came with the last kick of the first half

Chelsea edged past Southampton thanks to Marcos Alonso's winner to move level on points with second-placed Manchester United in the Premier League.

Alonso's long-range free-kick beat Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster to put the hosts ahead in injury time of a first half the hosts had dominated.

Eden Hazard thought he had doubled the Blues' lead after the break, but Cesc Fabregas was flagged offside in the build-up.

Pedro hit the post and Fabregas shot wide as Southampton, now winless in five matches, rode their luck at Stamford Bridge.

It is an eighth win in 10 league games for Antonio Conte's side, who are 11 points adrift of leaders Manchester City alongside Manchester United.

However, United, who boast a better goal difference than Chelsea, face West Brom on Sunday.

Chelsea classy but not clinical

Conte said his expectation was "to suffer" before Saturday's game, but his side were in complete control throughout.

They should have been in front long before Alonso's speculative, curling free-kick from distance that caught Forster out low to his right.

Willian, Hazard and Pedro impressed with intricate passing and neat footwork - but with forward Hazard dropping off when marshalled by a deep-lying Southampton back five, Chelsea were lacking a cutting edge and focal point in the area.

Conte opted to keep striker Michy Batshuayi on the bench, while top scorer Alvaro Morata - who has been watching videos of club legend Didier Drogba's goals for the Blues - was only deemed fit enough to also sit among the substitutes.

Chelsea's club record signing was given the final 17 minutes to prove he was up to speed in an attempt to put the game beyond Southampton - and he very nearly did with a smart turn and strike soon after coming on.

The Spaniard combined with compatriot and fellow substitute Fabregas for the latter to force another save from Forster late on.

It was Fabregas who teed up Hazard for the Belgium forward's only shot on goal, which found the net but was ruled out for offside.

Blue Christmas for Saints?

Charlie Austin had Southampton's only two shots on target after coming off the bench

Southampton are now without a win in five games since beating Everton in November, although during that run they have been narrowly beaten by runaway leaders Manchester City and conceded a late equaliser against Arsenal.

It was a much more disciplined performance than Wednesday's 4-1 drubbing by Leicester, and they frustrated champions Chelsea until the third minute of injury time in the first half.

Boss Mauricio Pellegrino made six changes, with defender Virgil van Dijk, long linked with a move away from the club, one of those to drop to the bench.

Charlie Austin - with two goals in three games prior to Saturday's defeat - was another to find himself left out, but it was the striker's arrival on the hour mark that seemed to offer Saints their most likely route back into the match.

He forced a save from Thibaut Courtois with his first touch and managed Southampton's only other shot on target, though Chelsea were never really troubled.

Southampton are now just three points above the relegation zone, with the visit of Huddersfield next Saturday taking on added importance before tricky trips to Tottenham on 26 December and Manchester United four days later.

Man of the match - Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)

Marcos Alonso was Chelsea's most dangerous outlet.Repeatedly finding himself in attacking areas, the wing back scored the winner and had more shots on goal than any of his team-mates, three of which were on target.

'We needed a second goal to relax' - what they said

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte:"When you do not score the second goal, you have to suffer.You are afraid at every corner and free-kick and the opponent has the chance to draw.

"We dominated the game, shooting 24 times and hitting the post, and we needed to score the second goal to be relaxed.If you shoot only twice and score two goals, you must be worried.We had lots of shots but we must be more accurate in our finishing.

"In the past 10 games, we have won eight, drawn one and lost one.This is our run, you have to consider the last 10 games, not just two.It shows we are doing our job."

Antonio Conte believes Chelsea 'dominated' the game

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino:"It was a difficult game - especially in the second half we suffered a lot.When you play with five defenders, you do not have a lot of people in the middle and they managed the ball more.

"The quality of the goal was good, but maybe we can learn more from there.It is not easy to have many chances against Chelsea.We had three clear chances but could not score.

"The team is training well, the mentality is good and we are fighting.We are creating a good atmosphere to try and bounce back from this situation.Football is tight but we have another opportunity next Saturday."

Chelsea 1-0 Southampton:Mauricio Pellegrino is pleased that his team competed til the end

Buy a ticket, win the raffle - the stats

  • Alonso has had a hand in 14 goals for Chelsea (10 goals, four assists) - more than any other Premier League defender.
  • Only striker Morata (49) has attempted more shots in the Premier League for Chelsea this season than Alonso (34).
  • Chelsea have scored seven direct free-kicks under Conte in all competitions, more than any other Premier League side since the start of last season.
  • Southampton have only won two of their 41 away top-flight matches against the reigning champions - they beat Leeds United in March 1970 and Chelsea in October 2015.
  • Southampton have kept one clean sheet in their past 25 Premier League games against the Blues.

What's next?

Chelsea host Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday (19:45 GMT kick-off), before visiting Everton in the Premier League next Saturday (12:30).

Southampton welcome Huddersfield in the league on 23 December (15:00)....

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Woolly mammoth skeleton sold for 548,000 euros in France

The skeleton of a mammoth which will go on auction on December 16, 2017 at the Aguttes auction house.Image copyright AFP Image caption The skeleton is 3.4m high and its tusks are more than 3m in length

An ancient skeleton of a woolly mammoth has sold for €548,000 (£483,000;$640,000) at auction in the French city of Lyon.

The skeleton, which exceeded its estimated value, is thought to be the largest of its kind in private hands.

It is a rare example because 80% of the skeleton is original bone.The rest is resin used to complete the assembly.

The skeleton belonged to a male mammoth and was discovered around 10 years ago in the Siberian permafrost.

Scientists say its teeth show signs of decay, which may have been a factor in its death if it was unable to graze.

Melting permafrost has led to an increasing number of mammoths being discovered, David Gelsthorpe, curator of Earth Science collections at Manchester Museum, told the BBC.

"The permafrost in Siberia particularly is melting at a very rapid rate because of climate change," he said.

"So not only are we getting these incredible skeletons coming out, but also pretty much as they died as well.We're getting things like fur, the skin, the muscles, the organs - and even the last meal."

Image copyright AFP Image caption One of the world's best preserved woolly mammoths - 39,000-year-old Yuka - was also found in Siberia's permafrost

Woolly mammoths lived alongside early man, who hunted them and portrayed them in cave drawings.

Most of the animals died out more than 10,000 years ago, but the last surviving group lived on an island in the Arctic Ocean and survived until 4,000 years ago.

Scientists believe that human hunting and environmental changes played a role in their extinction....

References

  1. ^ Mammoth 'family' fails to sell (www.bbc.co.uk)
  2. ^ Clues to why woolly mammoth died out (www.bbc.co.uk)

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Tewkesbury homes still without water after pipe burst

People collecting bottled waterImage copyright Severn Trent Image caption Water collection points have been set up around the town

About 10,000 homes and businesses have been without water for a second day following a burst main.

Severn Trent said repair work to a broken pipe in Tewkesbury was "extremely difficult" and had proved more complicated than they had hoped.

Some supplies have begun to be restored after water was moved from other parts of the network, a spokesman for the water company said.

They added it was still unknown when the pipe repairs would be completed.

The supply went off in the early hours of Friday.

Image copyright Severn Trent Image caption Engineers said the burst pipe was in a flooded field, making it difficult to repair

"There is still a lot of work to do, and the system is very complicated and so will take a few hours to refill, so please bear with us," a Severn Trent spokesman said.

"The burst has happened on a 36-inch pipe, which is one of the biggest pipes we have in our network, and it's located in a flooded field which is making the repair work extremely difficult and trickier than usual.

"Overnight conditions were tricky, the river flooded, and so it's making it incredibly difficult to see what we're dealing with.

"Our priority has been to get supplies back on, before fixing the burst, so we're continuing to try and move water around the network in different ways and we're using a fleet of 20 tankers to inject water directly into our pipes to help get the water back on as quickly as we can."

Image copyright Severn Trent Image caption Thousands of people have been without a water supply in their homes for more than 24 hours

More than 296,000 litres of bottled water has been handed out, the company said.

Two bottled water collection points have been set up at Morrisons in Barton Road and at Tewkesbury School in Ashchurch Road.

A third collection point that was in Gloucester Road car and coach park has been closed and will be moved to a new location....

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ARA San Juan: Argentina navy chief sacked after loss of submarine

Argentine President Mauricio Macri (L) gestures next to Vice Admiral Marcelo Srur, during a press conference in Buenos Aires on 24 November 2017Image copyright AFP Image caption Adm Srur (right) is seen here with President Macri last month

The head of the Argentine navy has been sacked following the loss of a submarine and its crew in the South Atlantic last month.

The defence minister placed Adm Marcelo Srur in retirement on Friday night, it has emerged.

The ARA San Juan disappeared with 44 crew on board after reporting an electrical problem off the coast of Patagonia.

An international search operation has failed to locate the vessel.

The families of the missing have urged the government to keep looking for the submarine, describing the anguish of living with uncertainty since the rescue operation was wound up just over two weeks ago.[1]

Some ships are still searching in an area where a loud noise was recorded in the hours following the disappearance - possible evidence that the submarine imploded.

President Mauricio Macri has created a special independent commission to investigate the disappearance of the submarine, following criticism about the handling of the operation.

The commission will comprise three submariners - one the father of one of the disappeared crew.

Defence Minister Oscar Aguad has promised the investigation will be "transparent" and will have an unlimited budget.

Image caption The crew of the ARA San Juan comprises 43 men and one woman

"We ask that they always tell us the truth, that they keep us informed about what's happening," said Jorge Villareal, father of missing crew member Fernando, according to Efe news agency.

"We just find things out through the media."

Adm Srur, 60, was appointed by President Macri in January 2016....

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Ashes: England 'must show guts' in third Test against Australia

Pint-sized Ashes:Australia pile on the punishment on day three

England need to show "guts and determination" to keep the Ashes alive, says assistant coach Paul Farbrace.

The tourists, already 2-0 down in the five-match series, were dominated by Australia on day three of the third Test at the Waca in Perth.

Captain Steve Smith hit 229 not out as his side ended the day 146 runs ahead with six wickets in hand.

"We have to fight hard over the next two days and make sure there's still a contest to keep going," said Farbrace.

"We have got to get stuck in and play exceptionally well."

Bowlers wilt under Perth sun

It was a chastening day at the Waca for England, who must avoid defeat to stop the urn returning to Australia at the earliest opportunity.

They took just one wicket as Smith and Mitchell Marsh - who finished the day unbeaten on 181 - shared an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 301.

The tourists' bowlers were unthreatening on a flat pitch, with both James Anderson and Stuart Broad wicketless in a combined 57 overs.

"We've got to show some guts and determination.We've got to fight as hard as we possibly can," said Farbrace.

"We have tried various ideas and plans.The majority of ways we have of taking wickets with the attack we have is to be monotonous with line and length, and we have tried that.

"We thought the cracks might open up a bit more.There was a little bit of variable bounce yesterday, but it hasn't been the case today.It's bounced nicely off the middle of the bat.

"When it comes to flatter pitches, we don't have that express pace.I'm not being critical of our bowlers, I'm being honest.

"Unless we get the ball to reverse, then it's quite tough for our bowlers."

The Smith conundrum

Steve Smith's previous Test high score was 215 against England at Lord's in 2015

Smith is now averaging more than 200 in the series, with his career-best score in this match following up the 141 not out he hit in Australia's first-Test win in Brisbane.

His Test average (62.89) is second only to the legendary Donald Bradman and Farbrace conceded that England are struggling to find a way of nullifying the right-hander.

"The tough thing is that you don't get drawn into bowling where he wants you to bowl to him," said the assistant coach.

"Every team will talk about where to bowl to him - that fifth stump line and try to drag him across his stumps.

"He may get into some awkward positions but he gets his head into the ball and keeps the bat face open.

"He hits the ball form strange positions but he seems to hit the middle of the bat on a consistent basis.

"We've tried all sorts.We've thought about the plans to him and we've been thinking about them for some time - but we've come up against a player who is in the form of his life and playing absolutely fantastically."...

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