English Premiership

Costa late show gets Conte's Chelsea off mark

2016-08-15 23:12
Diego Costa (Getty Images)

London - Diego Costa thrust himself back into the headlines with an 89th-minute winner as Chelsea edged West Ham United 2-1 in Antonio Conte's first Premier League game as manager on Monday.

Eden Hazard, symbol of Chelsea's slump from champions to a 10th-place finish last season, opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge with a penalty early in the second half, before James Collins equalised in the 77th minute.

Costa arguably should have been shown a second yellow card after catching West Ham goalkeeper Adrian with a late challenge, but he stayed on to steer a dramatic winner into the bottom-left corner from 20 yards.

The bruising Spain striker's goal capped a positive night for Conte, who handed a full debut to former Leicester City man N'Golo Kante and saw another debutant, substitute Michy Batshuayi, set up the winning strike.

But it was a bitter defeat for West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, who lost debutant Andre Ayew to an apparent right thigh injury in the 34th minute.

With both managers spending the entire match on the edge of their technical areas, suited and gesturing animatedly, the game was characterised by hasty, imprecise football and full-blooded tackling.

Kante started at the base of midfield in the only change to the Chelsea team that started last season's opening game -- a 2-2 draw with Swansea City that gave the first hints of the rot that was about to set in.

Bilic fielded two debutants in Ayew and left-back Arthur Masuaku, but the former was forced into a premature exit after injuring himself chasing after the elusive Hazard.

The hosts' high defensive line prevented West Ham bringing lone striker Andy Carroll into the game and the early chances were all Chelsea's.

Branislav Ivanovic drew a save from Adrian at his near post, Hazard curled a shot a foot wide following a probing run and Willian obliged Adrian to palm a dipping free-kick over the bar.

West Ham's resistance was broken two minutes into the second half after Cesar Azpilicueta charged down an attempted clearance by Michail Antonio on the edge of the visitors' box.

In seeking to atone for his error, Antonio succeeded only in blundering into Azpilicueta from behind, obliging referee Anthony Taylor to point to the spot.

Hazard thundered the penalty into the roof of the net and within four minutes Antonio had been replaced by Sam Byram, the former Nottingham Forest player storming past Bilic and straight down the tunnel.

With West Ham offering next to no attacking threat, Chelsea continued to attack, Willian working Adrian with a crisp shot and John Terry heading over.

But the hosts should have been reduced to 10 men when Costa, booked in the first half for dissent, caught Adrian with an ugly late challenge as the West Ham goalkeeper dallied over a clearance.

West Ham looked to have pulled off a smash-and-grab with 13 minutes remaining when Chelsea failed to clear a corner and Wales international Collins lashed a left-foot shot past Thibaut Courtois.

But with full-time looming, former Marseille striker Batshuayi flicked on a long ball to Costa, who steadied himself before guiding a shot between Collins's legs and beyond Adrian's despairing drive.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
30 September 2016
Everton v Crystal Palace, Goodison Park 21:00
01 October 2016
Swansea City v Liverpool, Liberty Stadium 13:30
West Ham United v Middlesbrough, Olympic Stadium 16:00
Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion, Stadium of Light 16:00
Hull City v Chelsea, The KC Stadium 16:00
Watford v Bournemouth, Vicarage Road 16:00
02 October 2016
Manchester United v Stoke City, Old Trafford 13:00
Leicester City v Southampton, King Power Stadium 15:15
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City, White Hart Lane 15:15
Burnley v Arsenal, Turf Moor 17:30
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Will Jose Mourinho lead Manchester United to the English Premiership title in 2016/17?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

Big month in the world of golf as the FedEx Cup concludes on the PGA Tour, the Race to Dubai gathers steam on the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour offers local golfers the chance to bank some cash. Oh, and not forgetting the USA v Europe Ryder Cup showdown at Hazeltine!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.