Chelsea's Champions League hopes hit by West Brom


WEST BROMWICH, England (AP) -- Chelsea's chances of qualifying for the Champions League took another blow Saturday when the former Premier League champion lost 1-0 at West Bromwich Albion.

Defender Gareth McAuley scored with eight minutes remaining to earn the Baggies a third straight win and leave Chelsea three points behind fourth-place Arsenal with 11 games left.

Liam Ridgewell drove Keith Andrews' chip across the area and McAuley diverted the ball past Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

West Brom's first win over Chelsea since 1979 also increased the pressure on Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas, whose team has lost seven times in the Premier League this season.

"Everyone must do their job better: players, staff and manager," Villas-Boas said. "We have responsibility toward the fans of the club."

Cech was busier than his counterpart, Ben Foster, while Youssouf Mulumbu and James Morrison dominated midfield for the home side.

Peter Odemwingie had a glancing header from Morrison's free kick blocked and Cech pushed a fierce shot by Morrison over the bar.

At the other end, Juan Mata failed to connect properly with an attempted volley, Foster blocked a shot by Mata and Ridgewell stopped an attempt from Gary Cahill. Daniel Sturridge should have broken the deadlock after 40 minutes following a superb pass from Didier Drogba but put his attempt wide of the right post.

Cech turned over a fierce drive from Mulumbu and also reacted sharply to block a low shot on the turn from Marc-Antoine Fortune. Chelsea also needed a last-ditch challenge from Ashley Cole to deny Chris Brunt as he closed in on a cross.