LONDON - 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 on Sunday 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 to the delight of the Stamford Bridge faithful.
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 caught up with them four minutes after half-time when, having been played in by Samir Nasri, Aguero let fly with a swerving left-foot shot that beat a static Petr Cech at his near post.
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. 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, after Steven Fletcher's fifth-minute header had given them the lead. Victory gave Sunderland manager Gus Poyet a win in his first game in charge at the Stadium of Light but was not good enough to lift the Black Cats out of the bottom three.
"Everything is big today," said Poyet, who replaced the sacked Paolo did Canio earlier this month. "It's a first win against our biggest rivals in our (his) first home game. The fans are going to be delighted and the players will be relieved. We needed this. (The introduction of Borini) was a moment when we needed to take risk. What a goal, the stadium nearly came down," the Uruguayan added.
"This will change our season. 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." Sunday's other match saw Swansea and West Ham share the points in a goalless draw at the Liberty Stadium.
Manchester City 1
West Ham 0