Aston Villa fell to defeat against Chelsea at Villa Park, just 24 hours after captain Stiliyan Petrov had been diagnosed with acute leukaemia.

Goals from Daniel Sturridge and Branislav Ivanovic rewarded the visitors' early dominance.

A frantic few minutes then saw James Collins pull one back before Eric Lichaj drilled home to level.

But 60 seconds later, Ivanovic fired in from close range before Fernando Torres sealed the win in injury time.

Fans salute emotional Stiliyan Petrov

It was an emotional afternoon at Villa Park with Petrov turning up to the ground with his family looking in good spirits.

Villa players wore "Support Stan" T-shirts while warming up with Chelsea donning shirts reading "Our thoughts are with you" in support of the Villa captain.

Before the game, boss Alex McLeish urged his side, who had picked up just four points from their last seven games, to push on and win for their captain - but with an injury-ravaged side which boasted six changes, that was always going to be difficult.

Chelsea, who are pushing for a top-four spot and the Champions League place that goes with it, had clearly not read the script, with Juan Mata orchestrating everything from the centre as the home side afforded the Spaniard too much space.

McLeish proud of Villa performance

Their pressure was rewarded when Mata crossed and Torres had his shot saved before Sturridge pounced on the rebound.

David Luiz then limped off a minute before half-time with an ankle ligament injury to join striker Didier Drogba on the Chelsea sidelines.

Villa began the brighter after the break, but Ivanovic looked to have put the game beyond reach when he stabbed home Mata's cross for his first Premier League goal of the season to double Chelsea's lead.

Roberto di Matteo's men, who had only once in 13 years emerged victorious from Villa Park before this game, looked to be in control, as Villa's make-shift defence struggled to gel.

Roberto di Matteo delighted to win exciting game

But Villa refused to back down and Collins jumped highest when a long ball from Eric Lichaj flew into the box to pull one back before the American turned goalscorer, drilling home substitute Marc Albrighton's low cross.

The mood around Villa Park was instantly lifted as the home side pressed for a winner, but their defence was left wanting when Torres' flicked on from a corner and Ivanovic fired home.

Villa were left exposed on the counter attack in extra-time as they hunted out an equaliser, with Daniel Sturridge running clear and supplying Torres who beat Given to score his first Premier League goal in six months.

Chelsea are now two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham who play Swansea on Sunday while Villa, who suffered their ninth defeat in 11 games, are still only five points clear of the relegation zone.

Lineup, Bookings (1) & Substitutions (5)

Aston Villa

  • 01 Given
  • 03 Warnock Booked
  • 06 Collins
  • 30 Lichaj
  • 32 Baker
  • 07 Ireland
  • 25 Bannan
  • 31 Herd (Albrighton - 70' )
  • 38 Gardner
  • 11 Agbonlahor
  • 26 Weimann (Heskey - 82' )

Substitutes

  • 22 Guzan
  • 37 Williams
  • 12 Albrighton
  • 35 Johnson
  • 40 Carruthers
  • 41 Grealish
  • 18 Heskey

Chelsea

  • 01 Cech
  • 02 Ivanovic
  • 03 Cole
  • 04 Luiz (Cahill - 45' )
  • 26 Terry
  • 08 Lampard
  • 12 Mikel
  • 09 Torres
  • 10 Mata (Malouda - 74' )
  • 21 Kalou (Ramires - 59' )
  • 23 Sturridge

Substitutes

  • 22 Turnbull
  • 17 Bosingwa
  • 24 Cahill
  • 34 Bertrand
  • 05 Essien
  • 07 Ramires
  • 15 Malouda
Ref: Mason
Att: 34,740

Match Stats

Shots

9 12

On target

5 9

Corners

6 4

Fouls

13 5

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:28 Full time

Full Time The match has reached full-time.

90:00 +1:31

The assist for the goal came from Daniel Sturridge.

90:00 +1:31 Goal scored

Goal! - Fernando Torres - A Villa 2 - 4 Chelsea Fernando Torres gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Aston Villa 2-4 Chelsea.

90:00 +0:26

Inswinging corner taken by Barry Bannan from the right by-line.

89:13

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Emile Heskey by Florent Malouda. Barry Bannan has an effort direct from the free kick, save made by Petr Cech.

88:44

Emile Heskey handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Free kick taken by Petr Cech.

85:19

Marc Albrighton produces a cross, Branislav Ivanovic manages to make a clearance.

84:35

Emile Heskey takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a save.

82:38

Assist on the goal came from Fernando Torres.

82:38 Goal scored

Goal! - Branislav Ivanovic - A Villa 2 - 3 Chelsea Branislav Ivanovic gets on the score sheet with a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Aston Villa 2-3 Chelsea.

82:13

Corner from the left by-line taken by Florent Malouda,

81:37

John Terry fouled by Gabriel Agbonlahor, the ref awards a free kick. Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.

81:27 Substitution

Substitution (Aston Villa) makes a substitution, with Emile Heskey coming on for Andreas Weimann.

79:04

Assist by Marc Albrighton.

79:04 Goal scored

Goal! - Eric Lichaj - A Villa 2 - 2 Chelsea A goal is scored by Eric Lichaj from inside the six-yard box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Aston Villa 2-2 Chelsea.

78:00

Marc Albrighton produces a cross, Gary Cahill makes a clearance.

76:09

Eric Lichaj provided the assist for the goal.

76:09 Goal scored

Goal! - James Collins - A Villa 1 - 2 Chelsea James Collins scores a headed goal from deep inside the penalty box. Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea.

74:06

Daniel Sturridge fouled by Andreas Weimann, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Mikel.

73:02

Direct free kick taken by Petr Cech.

73:02 Substitution

Substitution Florent Malouda is brought on as a substitute for Juan Mata.

73:02

Gary Cahill fouled by Gabriel Agbonlahor, the ref awards a free kick.

71:39

Branislav Ivanovic sends in a cross, Headed effort from inside the area by Fernando Torres misses to the left of the goal.

69:35 Substitution

Substitution Marc Albrighton on for Chris Herd.

68:13

The ball is crossed by Stephen Ireland.

66:41

Stephen Warnock produces a cross, clearance by Mikel.

63:38

Frank Lampard takes the outswinging corner, clearance made by James Collins.

62:55

Eric Lichaj concedes a free kick for a foul on Juan Mata. Free kick crossed by Ashley Cole, Nathan Baker manages to make a clearance.

61:29

Juan Mata fouled by Eric Lichaj, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ashley Cole.

60:41

Eric Lichaj concedes a free kick for a foul on Daniel Sturridge. Ashley Cole takes the free kick.

57:56

Juan Mata has an effort direct from the free kick.

57:56 Substitution

Substitution Ramires joins the action as a substitute, replacing Salomon Kalou.

57:56

Foul by James Collins on Fernando Torres, free kick awarded.

57:04

Free kick taken by Petr Cech.

57:04 Booking

Booking The referee shows Stephen Warnock a yellow card.

56:54

Stephen Warnock challenges John Terry unfairly and gives away a free kick.

56:44

The ball is swung over by Gabriel Agbonlahor, clearance by Branislav Ivanovic.

56:31

The assistant referee flags for offside against Fernando Torres. Free kick taken by James Collins.

55:12

Stephen Warnock fouled by Juan Mata, the ref awards a free kick. Stephen Warnock restarts play with the free kick.

53:36

Branislav Ivanovic fouled by Gabriel Agbonlahor, the ref awards a free kick. Mikel restarts play with the free kick.

50:36

Juan Mata provided the assist for the goal.

50:36 Goal scored

Goal! - Branislav Ivanovic - A Villa 0 - 2 Chelsea Branislav Ivanovic finds the net with a goal from close in high into the middle of the goal. Aston Villa 0-2 Chelsea.

50:09

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Juan Mata played to the near post,

48:42

The ball is crossed by Barry Bannan, clearance by John Terry.

45:27

Fernando Torres is caught offside. Shay Given restarts play with the free kick.

45:01

The second half has started.

45:00 +1:54 Half time

Half Time The half-time whistle blows.

45:00 +1:18

Gabriel Agbonlahor has an effort at goal from the edge of the area that misses to the right of the target.

45:00 +0:58

Daniel Sturridge gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gary Gardner. Gary Gardner takes the direct free kick.

45:00 +0:33 Substitution

Substitution Gary Cahill is brought on as a substitute for David Luiz.

44:30

Floated corner taken left-footed by Barry Bannan, James Collins has a headed effort from close in and clears the bar.

42:38

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Barry Bannan.

42:18

Gabriel Agbonlahor has a drilled shot. Save by Petr Cech.

41:38

Frank Lampard concedes a free kick for a foul on Stephen Ireland. Stephen Warnock restarts play with the free kick.

40:15

The assistant referee signals for offside against Salomon Kalou. Shay Given takes the free kick.

37:29

Foul by Eric Lichaj on Salomon Kalou, free kick awarded. Ashley Cole takes the direct free kick.

34:27

Mikel fouled by Andreas Weimann, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by John Terry.

33:51

Daniel Sturridge has an effort at goal. Shay Given makes a save.

33:34

The ball is swung over by Eric Lichaj.

31:54

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Barry Bannan from the left by-line, Shot from inside the area by Nathan Baker clears the bar.

31:39

The ball is swung over by Gabriel Agbonlahor, clearance by Ashley Cole.

27:21

Inswinging corner taken by Frank Lampard, James Collins manages to make a clearance.

26:14

Gary Gardner handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Petr Cech takes the free kick.

25:21

Free kick awarded for a foul by Mikel on Stephen Ireland. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Barry Bannan, clearance by Mikel.

23:05

Fernando Torres takes a shot. Blocked by Nathan Baker. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Branislav Ivanovic by Gary Gardner. David Luiz restarts play with the free kick.

22:57

Juan Mata produces a left-footed shot from inside the area and strikes the post.

21:46

The ball is crossed by Chris Herd, save made by Petr Cech.

20:06

Barry Bannan takes the inswinging corner, Header from close range by James Collins clears the bar.

19:22

Inswinging corner taken by Barry Bannan, John Terry manages to make a clearance.

18:03

Shot from 25 yards from Mikel. Save by Shay Given.

13:26

Andreas Weimann crosses the ball, save by Petr Cech.

12:46

The official flags Gabriel Agbonlahor offside. Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.

8:08

Assist by Fernando Torres.

8:08 Goal scored

Goal! - Daniel Sturridge - A Villa 0 - 1 Chelsea Daniel Sturridge scores a goal from inside the six-yard box high into the middle of the goal. Aston Villa 0-1 Chelsea.

8:05

Fernando Torres takes a shot. Stephen Warnock gets a block in.

5:31

Fernando Torres takes a shot. Save by Shay Given.

3:30

Frank Lampard fouled by Gary Gardner, the ref awards a free kick. Mikel restarts play with the free kick.

0:49

Juan Mata is caught offside. James Collins takes the free kick.

0:00

The game begins.

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