Costa keeps 18 Chelsea fly­ing as Man City lose their cool

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MANCH­ESTER: Chelsea took down an­other ma­jor ri­val en route to an eighth straight win in the English Premier League by ral­ly­ing for a 3-1 win at Manch­ester City, which fin­ished with nine men af­ter late red cards to Ser­gio Aguero and Fer­nand­inho.

Diego Costa was the ar­chi­tect of the turn­around, equal­iz­ing in the 60th minute with a league-high 11th goal of the sea­son be­fore set­ting free sub­sti­tute Wil­lian for the sec­ond goal in the 70th at Eti­had Sta­dium. Eden Hazard clinched vic­tory in the 90th.

In a chaotic end­ing, City had two play­ers sent off in in­jury time - Aguero for a lunge on David Luiz and Fer­nand­inho mo­ments later for push­ing Cesc Fabre­gas by the neck over the ad­ver­tis­ing hoard­ings in the en­su­ing melee.

Since los­ing 3-0 to Arse­nal on Sept. 24, Chelsea has picked up max­i­mum points, in­clud­ing come-from-be­hind wins over ti­tle ri­vals Tot­ten­ham and City in the space of a week.

Chelsea opened up a four-point cush­ion over City af­ter 14 games. City took the lead through Gary Cahill’s own goal on the stroke of half­time and will be­moan the fail­ure of the ref­eree to miss Luiz’s ap­par­ent shove on Aguero in the 30th when the Chelsea de­fender was last man.

That per­haps ex­plained the late chal­lenge on Luiz by a frus­trated Aguero, who has now been dis­missed twice this sea­son.

The heavy­weight clash ended up hing­ing on a three-minute pe­riod when City play­maker Kevin De Bruyne some­how struck the bar from close range be­fore Costa equal­ized against the run of play.

It was pure op­por­tunism from An­to­nio Conte’s vis­i­tors, who were un­der pres­sure for much of the game but al­ways looked dan­ger­ous on the break with the pace of Hazard and the rugged­ness of Costa. They scored from all three of their shots on tar­get.

There’s no doubt that City’s open­ing goal was a lucky break, but it was fully de­served af­ter waves of at­tacks at the end of the first half.

Cahill lunged at Je­sus Navas’ right-wing cross with his wrong leg and the ball reared up and flew into the top cor­ner. The Eng­land de­fender lay with his face in the turf in de­spair.

Cahill rec­ti­fied his mis­take early in the sec­ond half when he cleared off the line a shot from Aguero, who seized on Mar­cos Alonso’s weak back-pass and rounded goal­keeper Thibaut Cour­tois. With City push­ing for­ward, De Bruyne crashed a fin­ish off the top of the cross­bar from in­side the six-yard box af­ter meet­ing Navas’ cross. Then City fell apart.

Fabre­gas picked out Costa with a su­perb di­ag­o­nal pass, and the Spain striker chested the ball in­side Ni­co­las Ota­mendi and fin­ished low past Clau­dio Bravo.

Costa played an in­te­gral role in the win­ner, beat­ing Ota­mendi - who dived into the tackle rashly - in the cen­ter of the field and set­ting free Wil­lian, who ran clear and drove a shot across Bravo into the cor­ner.

The third goal came from an­other coun­ter­at­tack as City piled for­ward, this time Hazard out­pac­ing Alek­san­dar Ko­larov and smash­ing a fin­ish past Bravo. —AP

MANCH­ESTER: Manch­ester City’s Ilkay Gun­do­gan, cen­tre and Chelsea’s Ce­sar Azpilicueta bat­tle for the ball dur­ing the English Premier League soc­cer match be­tween Manch­ester City and Chelsea at the Eti­had Sta­dium in Manch­ester, Eng­land, yes­ter­day. — AP

DORT­MUND: Moenchenglad­bach’s Bel­gian mid­fielder Thor­gan Hazard, Dort­mund’s Span­ish de­fender Marc Bar­tra and Dort­mund’s de­fender Mar­cel Sch­melzer vie for the ball dur­ing the Ger­man first di­vi­sion Bun­desliga foot­ball match be­tween Borus­sia Dort­mund and Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach at the Sig­nal-Iduna-Park in Dort­mund, western Ger­many, yes­ter­day. —AFP

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