MANCHESTER, UK: Diego Costa starred as Premier League leaders Chelsea roared back to win 3-1 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) in an ill-tempered game at Manchester City, who had Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho dismissed.
Gary Cahill’s own goal gave City the lead, but Costa equalized and teed up substitute Willian before Eden Hazard struck to send Antonio Conte’s men four points clear of City at the summit.
City’s frustration boiled over in stoppage time with Aguero and Fernandinho red-carded, the former for a disgraceful lunge on David Luiz, the latter for pushing Cesc Fabregas over an advertising board.
“I think today was very tough and the game was open until the end,” said Conte.
“I saw lots of character from my team and that’s very important. We must continue to work and improve.”
It was the second time in succession that Chelsea had come from behind to win, having done so against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, as they recorded their eighth successive victory.
Pep Guardiola tasted defeat at the Etihad Stadium for the first time as City manager and has now seen his side go four home games without a win.
City were left to rue some profligate finishing, but although referee Anthony Taylor attracted the home fans’ ire for rejecting four penalty appeals, their own discipline let them down.
Aguero will now be banned for four games and Fernandinho for three.
“We didn’t win because we missed a lot of chances. Not for the referee,” Guardiola said.
“It’s a pity it finished like this. I don’t like that. I apologize for what happened.”
A muscular injury sustained by Nemanja Matic forced Conte to change his starting XI for the first time in seven games, with Fabregas coming into the team.
Guardiola showed his respect for Chelsea’s recent run by mirroring the Londoners’ shape with a back three of his own, as he made six changes from last weekend’s 2-1 win at Burnley.