Chelsea 2-2 Nottingham Forest: Raheem Sterling’s double earns Chelsea draw against Nottingham Forest

Raheem Sterling rediscovered his scoring touch as he netted both of Chelsea’s goals in a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge that could prove vital for relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest.

The home fans booed their team at the break, pulling for a Taiwo Awoniyi goal for Steve Cooper’s side, and they looked no closer in the first half to find a solution to the lack of firepower that has blighted their season.

Then, within seven minutes of the second half, Sterling turned the game around. First, a deflected shot was deflected for a corner after being set up by Trevoh Chalobah, then he let himself rip with a brilliant solo goal that evoked the England striker at his electric best.

But instead of continuing, Chelsea dropped. The non-existent marking left Awoniya free to head home to extinguish the lead four minutes later.

It secured three points for Forest in their bid to overcome the drop and marked Frank Lampard’s long wait for a win at this ground on his return as boss going into the final game of the season.

Forest almost stunned the hosts within four minutes. Renan Lodi’s corner was headed to the near post where Felipe met it with a firm header that flashed wide.

They took the lead soon after and Lodi was again the provider, although Edouard Mendy – returning in goal for Chelsea – was heavily at fault. The ball into the penalty area didn’t look overly threatening, but as the keeper raced away from his goal, Awoniyi climbed over two defenders to get to it first and head into the unguarded net.

It seemed to rattle Chelsea and they immediately went close to equalizing when Sterling’s effort was blocked by the recovering Joe Worrall. Increasingly influential in recent games, despite the team’s indifferent form, Noni Madueke showed excellent balance and feet on the right whenever he got on the ball, cutting through Forest with speed and skill.

On the other wing, Lewis Hall, nominally at left-back, showed barrels of attacking intent when Chelsea were in possession. In the 30th minute, he takes the lead when Joao Felix, with a skillful shot on the table, scored a centered header, which Keylor Navas catches brilliantly.

Moussa Niakhate was inches away from giving Forest two in the opening moments of the second half, stretching out a leg to hit a corner at the back post but was unable to make the required contact.

Chelsea needed no further warning. The equalizer came in the 51st minute and Sterling owed his goal to good play between Madueko and Chalobah. The pair worked their way behind Forest and into the channel on the right, giving Chalobah time and space to pick out a pass which Sterling swept home first-time via a deflection off the stricken Ryan Yates.

Chelsea looked set to ride the wave of noise the goal had drawn from Stamford Bridge. Felix tried to chase down Navas from distance which fell into the roof of the net and then Sterling took his and Chelsea’s roof off the stadium.

It looked like it wasn’t enough when the ball was worked to him 12 yards at a wide angle, but he controlled it with a deft move, opening his body and firing perfectly beyond the diving head of Navas. It was Sterling at his long-forgotten best.

It was to be the catalyst that propelled Chelsea to a rare home win. Instead, he caused a meekly predictable implosion. Orlo Mangala’s cross into the center of the box for Forest was tempting and no one in blue went with Awoniyi, who silenced the home fans with a firmly planted header.

Chelsea’s frustration began to show. Felix was booked for simulation and the offense began to crumble before the final period. Forest still carried the threat, but Lodi hit a bending drive that flew wide and narrowly missed the post.

Sterling had a chance to complete his hat-trick, racing forward to get on the end of Hakim Ziyech’s searching ball, but when he arrived he lifted his header up and over the bar.

After that there were few chances for either side as Forest claimed a point that could have been of incalculable value.

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