Burnley frustrates Chelsea with draw

Burnley’s players celebrate the point against Chelsea during their English Premier League match at Stamford Bridge in London Monday. — AFP

LONDON — Chelsea accused Burnley of time-wasting and playing “anti-football” after Blues boss Maurizio Sarri was sent off before a touchline skirmish marred their frustrating 2-2 draw Monday.

Sarri’s side fell behind to Jeff Hendrick’s fine finish before N’Golo Kante equalized moments later.

In a frantic opening 24 minutes at Stamford Bridge, Gonzalo Higuain put Chelsea ahead, only for Burnley’s Ashley Barnes to punish more dismal defending from the Blues.

Without a win in its last two league games, Chelsea will take only slender comfort from climbing one point above fifth placed Arsenal into fourth place, level on points with third placed Tottenham.

Chelsea would have gone third with a victory, but instead it has now played a game more than top four rival Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United, who are three points behind in sixth.

It was a missed opportunity after defeats for Tottenham, Arsenal and United at the weekend and Chelsea was booed off at full-time.

Sarri was sent to the stands for protesting in the final seconds before several members of the Blues bench were involved in a tetchy touchline clash with their Burnley counterparts.

Sarri’s assistant Gianfranco Zola said his boss was so “emotional” after the game that he couldn’t fulfil his media duties.

“He was very upset because he has heard not good words toward him from the Burnley bench. The only reason he walked over there was to get our players to go into position, he was trying to help the ref,” Zola said.

Zola took a swipe at Burnley’s perceived gamesmanship, which included Clarets keeper Tom Heaton being booked in the first half for time-wasting.

“We are unhappy. There was too much time wasting. Five minutes injury time wasn’t enough to compensate. We couldn’t build important rhythm,” Zola moaned.

“We expected it to be a tough game. We didn’t expect so much time wasting. We expected (referee) Kevin Friend to give more extra time. That’s why we’re very unhappy.”

Chelsea defender David Luiz went even further in his criticism of Burnley.

“It’s anti-football. Wasting time all the time, especially when you have the ball. Their players went to the floor and stopped the game,” he said.

Now Arsenal can replace Chelsea in fourth if it avoids defeat at Wolves Wednesday.

“We need to improve but we’re in a good way. We care, as we showed today,” Zola said.

Adding to Sarri’s problems, he was hit by first half injuries to France midfielder Kante and England winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

“It doesn’t look very good unfortunately,” Zola said of Hudson-Odoi. “It’s a problem with his Achilles tendon.”

Wolfsburg dents Frankfurt’s

Champions League bid

American defender John Brooks scored in the 90th minute to give Wolfsburg a 1-1 home draw with Eintracht Monday and dent the visitors’ Champions League hopes.

Eintracht had taken the lead in the 78th minute as Jonathan De Guzman scored 10 minutes after coming on. When a deflected shot angled across the penalty area the Canadian outmuscled Josuha Guilavogui and then guided the ball past Pavao Pervan from close range.

Eintracht has a Europa League semifinal against Chelsea at the start of May and were seeking breathing room in the race for the fourth Bundesliga spot in next season’s Champions League. But with a victory that would have put them four points clear of Borussia Moenchengladach in its grasp, the Frankfurt defence went missing.

After the visitors gave the ball away in midfield, its ragged back line allowed Felix Klaus to race into space on the right.

When he crossed, Brooks, sprinting up from central defense, was alone in front of goal to boot the ball into the roof of the net.

Brooks had a chance to win the game with a header in added time.

The draw kept Wolfsburg in ninth, four points behind Hoffenheim in the last potential Europa League berth. — AFP