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Chelsea opened the scoring through Andre Schurrle, before Stoke struck twice to put themselves in the lead through Peter Crouch and Stephen Ireland. Schurrle then added a second to equalise for Chelsea, before Oussama Assaidi clinched a glorious goal in the final minutes to win the game.
Schurrle was looking in fine form, and almost helped create the opener when he robbed Charlie Adam in midfield and drove towards the box, teeing up Ramires, but the Brazilian could only curl a tame effort well over the bar with the opportunity.
Schurrle continued to look dangerous and proved so just afterward, tricking his way to the edge of the area and unleashing a low left-footed shot, which the unsighted Asmir Begovic dived too late to keep out, allowing Chelsea to take the lead.
Stoke were offering nothing at either end of the pitch, mostly penned back into their own area, proving unable to tackle Chelsea's players or find a teammate with any of their clearances. Yet toward the end of the half, they had more joy up front and were able to steal a goal a few minutes before the end. Chelsea's defending of set-pieces had been poor recently, and it continued when the ball was allowed to fall at the feet of Peter Crouch from a corner, allowing the big striker to turn and sidefoot it beneath Cech and into the net.
After half-time, Stoke were in no mood to sit on their lead, and remarkably took the lead thanks to Stephen Ireland, collecting the energetic Jon Walters' pass and firing in an excellent finish off the post which beat Cech with ease.
Chelsea didn't take long to find the extra gear themselves, however, and struck back almost instantly with the excellent Schurrle once again the source. The Stoke defence could only half-clear Juan Mata's delivery from a free-kick, and the German winger arrived on the edge of the area to volley home through the crowd of players.
Chelsea could not find their third with the same speed however, and the game soon dissolved into a scrappy one in midfield. When one side did manage to get on the ball and create something out of it, surprisingly, it was Stoke — the Potters came closest when Crouch helped get the ball to Ireland close to goal on the right, but his attempted curler into the far corner was high and wide.
Stoke's dominance could not last, however, and Chelsea began to force the issue as the game entered the final 15 minutes. The Blues' best chance was from a free-kick just outside of the area, but Frank Lampard elected to shoot through a gap in the wall which saw Begovic presented with an easy save to keep the scores level.
Yet just on the brink of injury-time, with Chelsea beginning to look out of ideas, they ended up stunned by a Liverpool reject. , having come on as a substitute, was allowed far too much space on the left wing to pick up the ball, before cutting inside to leave Branislav Ivanovic in the dust and curl a brilliant effort into the top corner and send the home fans wild.
Five minutes of added time left room for another twist, but Chelsea could not find a way through as Stoke worked hard to see the result out and secure a remarkable victory.
Stoke: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Muniesa; Walters (Assaidi 84'), Nzonzi, Whelan (Palacios 86'), Adam, Arnautovic; Crouch.
Goals: Crouch 42', Ireland 50', Assaidi 89'
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Mikel (Lampard 70'); Hazard, Mata, Schurrle (Eto'o 70); Torres (Ba 59').
Goals: Schurrle 9', 53'