Jorginho took his second penalty on 94 minutes to end a hugely entertaining encounter at Stamford Bridge with a total of three converted penalties to keep his side within two points of leaders Manchester City.
Substitute teenager Joe Gelhardt appeared to deserve a late point for Leeds with his first touch.
Raphinha gave the visitors the lead with the first penalty of the game in the 28th minute after Marcos Alonso came on for a false foul by Daniel James.
Thomas Tuchel’s hosts received their first penalty an hour ago after referee Chris Kavanagh reviewed Raphinha’s slide challenge against Antonio Rüdiger and Jorginho enabled the turnaround.
Despite Gelhardt’s heroics, it was Jorginho who had the last word with another sovereign penalty kick after Mateusz Klich defeated Rüdiger to keep third-placed Chelsea firmly in the cover picture.
Champions City beat Wolves 1-0 on the previous Saturday, while Liverpool beat Aston Villa in second place with the same result.
Defense problems continue to worry Chelsea
That’s the unforgiving nature of the title race this season. The loss to West Ham was enough to cost Chelsea two places as they continue to wrestle with Manchester City and Liverpool at the top in an already exciting battle.
With seven minutes to go, it seemed like the European champions were losing ground at the start of a relentless Christmas program, but despite another lead, they stayed within striking distance with this hard-fought victory.
Tuchel admitted that given the high standards expected at Stamford Bridge, his side’s current form looked “kind of awful” with a four-game win in all competitions. in the last few games.
After a promising start with Mason Mount close and Reece James trying to overtake goalkeeper Illan Meslier with a stealth free kick, the Blues failed to play to their early superiority against exhausted Leeds.
Full-back James showed his versatility when he was given permission to run around in midfield without Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante in league games in a row.
But it’s at the back where Chelsea’s concerns remain. After the 3: 3 draw in the Champions League against Zenit on Wednesday, they have conceded eight goals in their last three games.
And while Alonso atoned for his penalty mistake by expropriating Stuart Dallas to stand up for Mount, there is much for Tuchel to do if his team is to meet their title challenge.
“We needed this win badly, for the faith, for the mood and for the atmosphere,” added Tuchel, who insisted that the players on both teams had crossed the target when the mood after the final whistle was torn.
“I’m very happy with the way we got it, the way we played. Now we have two days off and that makes the guys feel good.”
Jorginho double denies Leeds valuable point
A ninth place, aided by impressive high-octane football, helped Leeds gain plenty of admirers on its long-awaited return to the Premier League last season, but Marcelo Bielsa’s side have not been successful this season.
Despite the absence of captain Liam Cooper, midfielder Kalvin Phillips and striker Patrick Bamford, the guests indicated a return to that level as they made life quite uncomfortable for Chelsea after the early pressure.
Raphinha tried twice to beat Mendy with a wide free kick – the first saved a beautiful save by the Chelsea goalkeeper – before James’ pace forced Alonso’s hand in the Chelsea penalty area.
It is Raphinha who appears to be most crucial to Leeds’ chances of success in the next few games as an increasingly stretched squad takes on Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool over the next two weeks.
The Brazilian international has scored seven of his team’s 17 goals this season – with seven points. No other teammate has scored more than two goals in the league.
Again, he seemed most likely to deliver for the guests, but in a dramatic twist his substitute – England youth international Gelhardt – showed great determination to beat Thiago Silva on the short post and score his first national goal for the club.
But Jorginho’s second penalty after 94 minutes dealt a heavy blow to the Leeds side, who are 15th six points above the relegation zone.
“It was a game we deserved to draw and we lost it when it was over. That adds to the disappointment,” Bielsa told BBC Sport.
“It’s very difficult to make a team like Chelsea play worse. It’s also very difficult to attack a team like this. In a way, we achieved both. We could attack and we made them not play that well. ” you can.”