LONDON, August 8- Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was sent off as Chelsea began their Premier League title defence with an engrossing 2-2 draw at home to an excellent Swansea City side on Saturday.
Jose Mourinho’s men were leading 2-1 at Stamford Bridge when Courtois was sent off for fouling Bafetimbi Gomis right on the edge of his area in the 52nd minute and the French striker scored the equaliser from the spot.
It was another impressive opening-day display by Garry Monk’s Swansea, who won 2-1 at Manchester United a year ago, and added weight to Mourinho’s prediction that Chelsea will face a fight to retain their title.
Diego Costa overcame hamstring trouble to start up front for Chelsea and after a bright start by Swansea, the home side went ahead in the 23rd minute when Oscar’s free-kick from wide on the left curled straight in.
Swansea debutant Andre Ayew equalised six minutes later, finishing smartly after an initial attempt had been blocked, only for Chelsea to regain the lead when Willian’s cross deflected off Federico Fernandez and looped over visiting goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski for a cruel own goal.
But after Swansea midfielder Jonjo Shelvey had hit the post from a corner, Courtois was sent off for felling Gomis and the former Saint-Etienne frontman beat Asmir Begovic from the spot to equalise.
The dangerous Jefferson Montero twice tested Begovic and Gomis had a goal disallowed for offside, while Fabianski saved at his near post from Eden Hazard as a pulsating contest drew to a close.