Torres’s Winner Punishes Manchester City Error in Premier League

Fernando Torres scored a last-minute winner as Chelsea beat Manchester City 2-1 to regain second place in English soccer’s Premier League.

Torres capitalized on a mix-up in the City defense at Stamford Bridge in London yesterday. Matija Nastasic and Joe Hart converged on the ball at the edge of the penalty area, only for Nastasic to head past his goalkeeper and leave Torres with an easy scoring chance.

“We won a game which was very important for us,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho told reporters. “We beat maybe the best team in the Premier League. There are five or six fantastic teams who will fight for the Premier League. They are the best team, very dangerous and physical. When you beat maybe the best team, it gives you positive feelings.”

Also yesterday, Tottenham Hotspur defeated Hull City 1-0, Swansea City drew 0-0 with West Ham United and Sunderland beat Newcastle United 2-1 in the northeast derby to move off the bottom of the league.

Arsenal leads the standings with 22 points, followed by Chelsea and Liverpool with 20 and Tottenham on 19. Southampton and Everton have 18, with Manchester City two points back.

Torres should have put Chelsea ahead just before the half-hour at Stamford Bridge. Free of defenders, he skied the ball over from just outside the six-yard area.

“With an easy chance missed, it can be the moment when a striker loses confidence,” Mourinho said of Torres. “But that was the moment when he decided ‘OK, I’ll be man of the match.’”

Made Amends

The Spanish striker made amends in the 33rd minute, taking the ball past Gael Clichy on the right and cutting the ball back for Andre Schuerrle to tap in. Torres almost made it 2-0 soon after, his right-foot shot rebounding off the bar.

Sergio Aguero tied the scores four minutes into the second half, latching on to Samir Nasri’s pass and slamming a left-foot shot past goalkeeper Petr Cech at the near post. It was Aguero’s ninth goal in the past seven games.

Cech saved from David Silva as City turned up the pressure before the defensive blunder gave Chelsea the victory.

“We are losing stupid points,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. “The three defeats we have had away, we didn’t deserve any one of them. We had absolute control of the game, but finally in the last minute we lost.”

Pellegrini headed straight to the locker room after the game and didn’t shake hands with Mourinho, who had jumped in among the home fans to celebrate.

“I did not shake hands, I did not want to,” said Pellegrini, who was succeeded by Mourinho as Real Madrid coach in 2010.

First Win

Sunderland’s new manager Gus Poyet saw his team get its opening league win of the season in his first home match since taking charge.

Steven Fletcher gave Sunderland the lead in the fifth minute at the Stadium of Light, heading in Adam Johnson’s cross.

Mathieu Debuchy tied the score in the 57th minute from Hatem Ben Arfa’s cross, and Fabio Borini got the winner with a swerving shot from outside the penalty area in the 84th minute.

The result leaves Sunderland with four points, one ahead of last-place Crystal Palace.

An 80th-minute penalty kick by Roberto Soldado was enough to give Spurs the victory over Hull at White Hart Lane. Ahmed Elmohamady was ruled to have handled Jan Vertonghen’s cross.

Swansea’s penalty appeals for a handball by West Ham’s Joe Cole were turned down as their game finished scoreless in Wales.

Two days ago, Arsenal beat Crystal Palace 2-0 and Everton won by the same score at Aston Villa. Liverpool defeated West Bromwich Albion 4-1 and defending champion Manchester United overcame Stoke 3-2. Norwich and Cardiff drew 0-0 and Fulham lost 2-0 at Southampton.

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