Huddersfield secured a second season in the Premier League after clinching a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
David Wagner’s side needed a point to secure their top-flight status following a draw at champions Manchester City and they repeated that feat to deal a huge blow to Chelsea’s hopes of nicking a Champions League spot.
Laurent Depoitre gave Huddersfield a shock lead early in the second half and Town held firm after Marcos Alonso’s fortuitous equaliser to claim the draw they required.
Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl played his part in a superb rearguard display, pulling off a brilliant save to push Andreas Christensen’s header onto a post.
The feeling is overwhelming right now,” Lossl told Sky last night.
“This is what we fought for all season. To finish like this against these teams — both City and Chelsea — it’s unbelievable.” On his stop from Christensen, he added: “This was definitely the most important save in my career.”
Goalscorer Depoitre added: “It was crazy to score the goal that keeps you in the Premier League. It’s amazing. But all the team did a great job today and we’re very happy.”
Chelsea had won their last four games in the Premier League coming into last night’s game, and had hopes of catching Tottenham. But a frustrating draw means that Liverpool now only need a draw against Brighton on the last day to secure a top four finish and Champions League football next season.
Alvaro Morata started up front in a much-changed Chelsea side. Head coach Antonio Conte made six changes following Sunday’s win over Liverpool, with goalkeeper Willy Caballero, defenders Andreas Christensen, Davide Zappacosta and forwards Willian and Pedro also coming into the starting XI.
Marcos Alonso had a shot parried by Lossl and next Rudiger missed a glorious chance from two yards out.
Shortly after half-time Aaron Mooy floated the ball over for Depoitre to chase. The Belgian beat Caballero to the ball and showed composure to prod home his first goal since December 23.
Conte brought on Giroud for Davide Zappacosta and Eden Hazard for Pedro. The equaliser came when Azpilicueta’s cross was met by Jorgensen, whose clearance hit Alonso’s face and went in but Chelsea couldnot find a winner.
Huddersfield manager Wagner said: “My English is not good enough to find the right words to describe what the players have done over the whole season. If you have the passion, desire and spirit you can compete sometimes with top, top quality. We had lady luck, no doubt about it, but it’s an unbelievable achievement for this football club.
“I never doubted about mental strength. We have so many experiences, the play-off semi-final, the final, some very big dips in the season which we expected - five defeats in a row. We were always able to come back and in the big moments we were usually there.
“In this very exciting week with proper Premier League fixtures we have confirmed everything, we have done it. This is so important for me that we haven’t relied on anybody. I am so unbelievably proud.
“I will not criticise one of them (who said we had no chance of staying up) because they were right.
When we started this season we were everything but a Premier League club. But we said ‘come on and let’s have a go’. That’s what we’ve done.
“We wanted to show everybody that they are not right and we are used to this role. We are humble but we are ambitious.”
Caballero, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Zappacosta (Giroud 54), Fabregas, Kante, Alonso, Willian, Pedro (Hazard 59), Morata.
Lossl, Smith (Malone 85), Jorgensen, Schindler, Kongolo,Lowe (Hadergjonaj 62), Mooy, Hogg, Billing, van La Parra (Pritchard 53), Depoitre.