LONDON, England (AFP) — Fernando Torres's perseverance was rewarded when his last-minute goal saw Chelsea to a 2-1 win at home to title rivals Manchester City yesterday that catapulted the London club into second place in the Premier League table.
The match was heading for a draw when, after Willian had helped the ball forward, a mix-up saw City defender Matija Nastasic head the ball past his own keeper, Joe Hart, with the onrushing Torres turning the ball into an empty net.
Torres's winner left Chelsea just two points behind leaders Arsenal and atoned for his dramatic 29th minute miss when, with the match still goalless, he somehow shot over the bar from 10 yards out.
The Spain striker turned provider for Chelsea's 33rd minute opener when his run and cross from the right set up Andre Schurrle, who from a mere four yards out, eased the ball in for his first Chelsea goal.
Torres then almost made it 2-0 when, from some 20 yards wide out on the left, he managed to fire in a shot that clipped the angle of the far post and bar.
Chelsea's failure to make the most of their early dominance was punished four minutes after half-time when Sergio Aguero let fly with a swerving left-foot shot that beat a static Petr Cech at his near post.
"In a game like this against a great team in the last minutes it tastes much better to score," said Torres.
"The chance I missed in the first half I thought I was offside, I should have stayed calm. I made the assist and hit the post so I am happy with my performance."
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho added: "Everything happened for Torres after he missed an easy chance. After that, we saw the best Fernando."
City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who was succeeded by Mourinho at Real Madrid, saw his side finish the weekend down in seventh place, four points below Chelsea and six shy of Arsenal.
"In the second half we were in control of the ball, but what happened is what has happened to us in other away defeats," Pellegrini said.
Across London, Tottenham Hotspur moved up into fourth place with a 1-0 victory against Hull at White Hart Lane.
Roberto Soldado scored the only goal of the game, 10 minutes from time, when he converted a penalty awarded after Jan Vertonghen's cross hit the arms of Ahmed Elmohamady.
"It was difficult to break them down," conceded Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas, who said Hull counterpart Steve Bruce would have been "devastated" by what seemed a harsh penalty decision.
Bruce was indeed furious at the penalty award.
"It's a joke decision," he said. "I shouldn't say this and I might get fined, but would we have got it? I'm not so sure."
At the other end of the table, Sunderland climbed off the bottom with a 2-1 home win over arch-rivals Newcastle.
Fabio Borini's blistering 18-yard shot six minutes from time saw the Black Cats to a first league win of the season, following seven defeats and a draw.
Steven Fletcher's fifth-minute header had given them the lead before Newcastle's Mathieu Debuchy equalised.
Victory meant Sunderland manager Gus Poyet had a win in his first game in charge at the Stadium of Light, but the result was not good enough to lift his side out of the bottom three.
"This will change our season," said Poyet, who replaced the sacked Paolo di Canio earlier this month.
"I'm sure the players will be even more together and the fans will look forward to the next game. We have done nothing, it was nice for us and the fans, but we need to keep winning games."
Yesterday's other match saw Swansea and West Ham share the points in a goalless draw at the Liberty Stadium.