Costa breaks Man Utd hearts as he grabs late equaliser for Chelsea
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | February 7, 2016
Chelsea 1-1 Manchester United
- Courtois saved well early on from Martial and had terrific game
- Zouma came off injured after an hour with knee injury
- Lingard broke deadlock with fine finish after an hour
- De Gea produced number of top second-half saves
- Costa gets late injury-time equaliser
Costa strikes late to cancel out Lingard opener
Chelsea’s unbeaten run in the Premier League continued to nine matches, as they claimed a late equaliser against Manchester United in a pulsating Premier League battle at Stamford Bridge.
Jesse Lingard opened the scoring on the hour, but Diego Costa grabbed an injury-time equaliser in a game where both keepers Thibaut Courtois and David de Gea were in top form.
Man Utd have certainly upped their game in the past couple of matches, in league and cup, and their hunger to reach the Champions League places showed early on in this clash, as they began the better team.
Red Devils dominate early on
Anthony Martial nearly made the visitors’ dominance on 18 minutes, as he forced Thibaut Courtois into a fine save from a shot destined for the top corner.
However, the Blues soon found their feet and it was Namanja Matic who finally found his side’s first chance just before the half-hour mark, as he sent a header goalwards from a corner, but David de Gea was able to catch it with ease.
Diego Costa soon had a better opportunity just minutes later, though his effort was just wide of the post from a tough angle.
Man Utd’s first chance came on the 40-minute mark, but Marouane Fellaini was unable to connect with a header from Daley Blind’s corner.
United get Blind luck
John Terry, who hinted after the match that he may go back on the decision to leave Chelsea, almost came up with the goods just before half-time, but his shot in the box was seemingly blocked by Blind with his arms and shouts for a penalty were turned down.
In-form Red Devils skipper Wayne Rooney, who had seven goals in as many appearances, found himself one-on-one with the keeper straight after the break, though couldn’t quite control the aerial delivery on target.
He did strike more cleanly sooner after, as did Martial, but both couldn’t find the net in what was a great spell for Louis van Gaal’s men.
United really brought life into both sets of the crowd in the 53rd minute, this time Lingard coming close to breaking the deadlock, with Rooney forcing Courtois into yet another save on the rebound.
The atmosphere soon subsided, however, as Kurt Zouma suffered what appeared to be a nasty knee injury, going by his reaction. Gary Cahill replaced the young Frenchman.
Old Trafford graduates combine to break deadlock
But Man Utd seemingly showed no remorse as, on the hour mark, Lingard somehow found the top corner with an unstoppable finish after a fantastic turn to put his side ahead. Fellow academy product Cameron Borthwick-Jackson must be commended for his cross that caused confusion in the box.
At the other end, on 68 minutes, Branislav Ivanovic connected well with a brilliant left-footed volley, but De Gea showed why he is among the top stoppers in the world by getting a hand to it.
Late Chelsea charge pays off
Chelsea kept piling the pressure on, and the Spaniard soon pulled off yet another quality save by keeping out compatriot Cesc Fabregas’ close-range strike.
Costa eventually came up with a late late equaliser, in injury-time after rounding De Gea, with the help of Borthwick-Jackson, to break Man Utd’s hearts and potential top four dreams.
The Brazilian-born Spain striker nearly won the match for the Blues, but again De Gea was at his best to deny even more disappointment to ensure the draw.