Chelsea give up lead to draw with Reading

22:36, Jan 30 2013

Chelsea squandered a two-goal lead with three minutes remaining to draw 2-2 at Reading, virtually ending its English Premier League title hopes and piling more misery on under-fire manager Rafa Benitez.

The European champions looked certain to win after goals by Frank Lampard and Juan Mata either side of halftime, but Adam Le Fondre scored in the 87th minute and grabbed the equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Chelsea is 12 points behind league leader Manchester United in third with 14 games remaining, and Benitez will surely come in for more criticism with the team winning only one of its last five matches in all competitions.

The point lifted Reading out of the relegation zone on goal difference ahead of Wigan.

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AP