Costa steers Chelsea to winning start vs West Ham

Published On: August 16, 2016 07:31 AM NPT By: Associated Press

LONDON, Aug 16: Striker Diego Costa struck in the 89th minute as Chelsea won its first competitive match under new manager Antonio Conte, beating West Ham 2-1 Monday night in the English Premier League.

"I'm delighted with the performance, I saw a lot of things that are working, a good intensity with the ball, but we know we can improve," said Conte, a former Juventus and Italy manager. "We are only working one month together, but tonight I saw the right intensity."

West Ham thought it had grabbed a late equalizer in the London derby at Stamford Bridge after James Collins' well-struck shot in the 77th minute canceled out Eden Hazard's penalty kick.

But Costa was able to steer the ball past West Ham goalkeeper Adrian from outside the box to give the home team the result it deserved.

West Ham rode its luck for much of the match with goalkeeper Adrian denying Willian twice in the first half.

West Ham finally conceded early in the second half when Michail Antonio bought down Cesar Azpilicueta after giving the ball away while trying to dribble out of the penalty area. Hazard shot straight down the middle to beat Adrian in the 47th and Antonio was quickly substituted by furious Hammers manager Slaven Bilic.

N'Golo Kante impressed on his league debut for Chelsea, snuffing out the bulk of West Ham's attacks, and midfielders Oscar and Nemanja Matic worked hard to dominate midfield.

West Ham clawed its way back into match following the 67th-minute introduction of midfielder Dimitri Payet,, who was on the bench due to lack of match fitness after having been granted extended leave by Bilic following his impressive performance for France at the European Championship.

The visitors started to create opportunities. But it was Costa who ensured the late victory, still on the pitch despite a studded tackle on Adrian that could have earned him a second yellow card.

"We were so close against a top side on their ground, but they deserved it," Bilic said. "Let's be honest, we didn't create chances and we gave them a penalty, and they were winning the second balls."


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