Diego Costa Rescues Late Win For Chelsea Against West Ham

Diego Costa’s late strike gave Antonio Conte a dramatic winning start as Chelsea manager as his side secured a season-opening victory over West Ham.

The Spain striker found the net from 20 yards in the 89th minute to spark wild scenes at Stamford Bridge, with Conte celebrating among supporters.

Eden Hazard had put the Blues in front from the spot after Michail Antonio fouled Cesar Azpilicueta.

James Collins levelled for the Hammers, but Costa’s finish settled it.

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.

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