More woe for Chelsea boss Benitez

Rickie Lambert came off the bench to spark a Southampton comeback  as Chelsea threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2.

Story highlights

  • Chelsea only manages 2-2 draw at home to struggling Southampton
  • Manchester United and Arsenal progress to fourth round of FA Cup with nervy victories
  • Barcelona held to a 2-2 draw in Copa del Rey by Malaga
  • Roma through to semifinal of Coppa Italia

Rafa Benitez's turbulent reign as Chelsea manager took another battering on the day his supposed successor, Pep Guardiola, agreed a deal to become the new manager of Bayern Munich.

Benitez, who was appointed as Chelsea interim manager in November following the dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo, was left stunned after his team squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with lowly Southampton.

European champion Chelsea is now 13 points adrift of Premier League leader Manchester United with 16 games remaining and has failed to win any of their past three games at Stamford Bridge.

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A 1-0 defeat by bottom side Queens Park Rangers was followed by a 2-0 loss in the League Cup against Swansea City.

Benitez has managed just one home win in six attempts in all competitions since taking over, while he has triumphed in six of the seven away fixtures.

But few expected Chelsea to drop points against a Southampton team which they had demolished 5-1 in the FA Cup on January 5.

Chelsea suffers home humiliation

New signing Demba Ba and Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard had given Chelsea a comfortable advantage at the break as the Blues dominated.

But Southampton, which has lost just two of its previous 12 league games, refused to accept defeat and launched a stirring fightback.

Substitute Rickie Lambert headed home his 10th goal of the season with 58 minutes gone before Jason Puncheon netted a dramatic equalizer with 15 minutes remaining.

The result leaves Chelsea in third place, six points behind Manchester City and just two ahead of London rivals Tottenham.

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Elsewhere, Manchester United booked its place in the fourth round of the FA Cup and a home tie against Fulham following a narrow 1-0 win over West Ham.

Wayne Rooney, who missed a second half penalty, scored the only goal of the game after nine minutes.

Arsenal will play second tier Brighton in the fourth round after edging out Swansea 1-0 courtesy of Jack Wilshere's spectacular strike.

Messi leads Barcelona to new record

Meanwhile, Barcelona was held to a 2-2 draw in the first leg of its Copa del Rey quarterfinal by 10-man Malaga at Camp Nou.

Malaga, which was soundly beaten 3-1 by Barca in La Liga last weekend, took a surprise lead through Manuel Iturra after 26 minutes.

But Barca, which has not lost a domestic game this season, hit back through Lionel Messi and Carles Puyol to lead 2-1 at the interval.

Nacho Monreal, a halftime substitute for Malaga, was then sent off with 15 minutes remaining to leave the visitor facing an uphill task.

But with Barca seemingly coasting to victory, Ignacio Camacho popped up at the death to fire home and ensure the two teams will start level on January 24.

In Italy, Mattio Destro's extra-time strike booked Roma's place in the semifinals of the Coppa Italia.

Destro scored the only goal of the game as Roma recorded a 1-0 win at Fiorentina to set up a last-four clash with Inter Milan.

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In France, Rennes sealed its place in the final of the French League Cup following a 2-0 win over league champion Montpellier.

Julien Feret and Mevlut Erding scored the goals to set up a final clash with Saint Etienne on April 20.

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