Queen's Park Rangers 1 Chelsea 0: John Terry last night categorically denied directing a racist comment towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's tempestuous derby defeat at Loftus Road.
A video circulated on the internet in the aftermath of yesterday's match, with some claiming it shows Terry insulting Ferdinand using racist language.
"I've seen that there's a lot of comments on the internet with regards to some video footage of me in today's game," Terry said in a statement. "I'm disappointed that people have leapt to the wrong conclusions about the context of what I was seen to be saying to Anton Ferdinand.
"I thought Anton was accusing me of using a racist slur against him. I responded aggressively, saying that I never used that term. I would never say such a thing, and I'm saddened that people would think so."
Reduced to nine men before half-time, and trailing to a 10th-minute penalty, Chelsea did everything but salvage a point in a wild second half in this west London derby. Nor did the final whistle halt their defiance. Having seen his team rack up seven yellow cards in addition to the reds received by Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba, André Villas-Boas confronted referee Chris Foy in the tunnel and, by his own description "aggressively" told the official what was wrong with his display.
The Chelsea manager then accused Foy of being swayed by the home support in this cockpit of a stadium claiming the occasion was "too big" for the referee. While Villas-Boas stopped short of saying there was a conspiracy against his team he said they had been on the wrong end of decisions three times in the last six matches.
"We were the better team with nine men," said Villas-Boas. "In a normal day with a referee with good judgement towards both teams we win the game. He was card-happy towards the team. I am not happy with the difference of treatment. The officials were led by the emotion of the crowd and applied uneven decision making."
Neil Warnock, unsurprisingly, saw things differently. "When you get beat like that it is easy to blame the ref instead of looking at your own mistakes. I used to do that. Chris Foy has made far fewer mistakes than either side today." Warnock added pertinently, given the way Chelsea's self-discipline broke down as the game wore on: "The top clubs are not used to having their feathers ruffled, but they have no divine right to beat you."
Looking at the respective team-sheets it seemed QPR's only chance was if Chelsea imploded or Rangers had the benefit of the doubt when it came to the officiating. In the event both happened. An inconsequential start came to life when Helguson chased a high ball into the Chelsea box, bumping David Luiz in the process. Luiz bumped him back rather harder and Helguson crumpled. He got up to convert the penalty, only Rangers' seventh goal of the season. For the next 24 minutes Chelsea had huge amounts of possession, but did little with it.
Then Adel Taarabt came to life releasing Wright-Phillips. As the little striker sped away, Bosingwa leant into him and tugged his shorts. Both fell and though Wright-Phillips was up first, Foy stopped play and, to Chelsea's horror, showed Bosingwa a red card. Villas-Boas said he thought it was a yellow as Terry was coming across to cover but the England captain would never have got there in time.
Eight minutes later Chelsea were down to nine. Drogba lost the ball in midfield and trying to recover it, lunged into Taarabt. Villas-Boas had no argument with that dismissal. Chelsea, driven on by a sense of injustice and their own fierce will to win, opened the second period with a wave of attacks which put QPR on the back foot. There were a series of penalty appeals. One, when Fitz Hall tugged Frank Lampard, should have been given but so eagerly were Chelsea diving to the floor Foy may by then had decided to ignore all claims.
There were near misses at both ends but only one clear-cut chance, Nicolas Anelka meeting Branislav Ivanovic's cross with 10 minutes to go only to head straight at Paddy Kenny. It had been 16 years since QPR last won this derby, and it was Chelsea's first defeat to a newly promoted team in 64 games stretching back a decade.
"I'm proud of my players," said Villas-Boas , adding they were only six points behind Manchester City and were yet to play them. Warnock was even prouder of his. "They'll talk about this in 30 to 40 years," he said of QPR's jubilant support. "In that respect it's one of the greatest days of my career."
Booked: QPR Derry, Barton. Chelsea Mikel, Lampard, Ivanovic, Luiz, Meireles, Cole, Terry
Sent-off: Chelsea Bosingwa (33), Drogba (41).
Man of the match: Kenny