Costa stars as Chelsea move one step closer to glory

By AFP
Published: April 26, 2017
SHARES
Email
Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa celebrates after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Southampton at Stamford Bridge in London on April 25, 2017.
PHOTO: AFP

Chelsea's Brazilian-born Spanish striker Diego Costa celebrates after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Southampton at Stamford Bridge in London on April 25, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON: Diego Costa scored his 50th and 51st Premier League goals as Chelsea overcame spirited Southampton 4-2 on Tuesday to establish a seven-point lead at the top of the table.

Costa set up Eden Hazard’s early opener, which was cancelled out by Oriol Romeu, before Gary Cahill restored the hosts’ lead at an unseasonably cold Stamford Bridge.

Costa sealed victory with a second-half brace, ending a seven-game goal drought and heaping the pressure on second-place Tottenham Hotspur, who visit in-form Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Chelsea, Hazard look to switch focus back to title race

“Today I have to be pleased with the effort of my players. It wasn’t easy after a tough game against Tottenham,” said Chelsea manager Antonio Conte. “We must be confident for the future. It’s important to look at ourselves and not the other [Spurs].”

Having beaten Spurs in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday, Chelsea’s latest win reaffirmed the status of Conte’s side as England’s team to beat.

They face a thorny trip to Everton this weekend and have now gone 11 league games without a clean sheet — their longest run since 1996 — but the finishing line is just five games away.

Chelsea’s Conte hails team performance after 2-1 win over City

Hazard, Costa and Cesc Fabregas returned to the Chelsea and they combined for the fifth-minute opener.

Fabregas’s pass from halfway sent Costa scampering away down the inside-right channel and his cut-back was swept into the bottom-left corner by Hazard.

James Ward-Prowse’s corner from the left was inadvertently flicked on by Cesar Azpilicueta and reached the unattended Manolo Gabbiadini at the back post.

The Italian’s cross-shot flicked off Courtois and was tapped in by ex-Chelsea midfielder Romeu, who had last scored in January 2016.

Just at the stroke of half-time, N’Golo Kante’s deep cross was helped on by Marcos Alonso and with Costa launching himself into a mid-air scissors kick, the England centre-back charged in bravely to head home.

Costa was denied in the 53rd minute, but found himself once again on the scoring sheet as Fabregas lofted a cross to the far post and the Spanish striker held off Bertrand to plant a header past Fraser Forster.

“We played a good team, but it’s a harsh result,” said Southampton manager Claude Puel. “Eden Hazard and Diego Costa made the difference today.”

Facebook Conversations

Leave Your Reply Below

Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.

More in Sports