LONDON (AP) — Fernando Torres capped off an impressive attacking display for Chelsea by seizing on Manchester City's defensive blunder in the 90th minute to clinch a 2-1 victory in the Premier League on Sunday.
After Chelsea substitute Willian launched the ball forward, City goalkeeper Joe Hart found himself exposed on the edge of the penalty area and defender Matija Nastasic managed to head the ball over his own goalkeeper.
In a run that encapsulated his energetic performance at Stamford Bridge, Torres raced onto the loose ball and sent it into the unguarded net. "I don't think this is the moment to say who is to take (blame)," City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. "They scored the goal and we will analyze it in the week."
The second half had begun badly for Chelsea when Sergio Aguero canceled out Andre Schuerrle's opener, which had been set up by Torres. But Torres' late winner ensured Chelsea ended the weekend still two points behind leader Arsenal, while City dropped to seventh.
"We are happy because it is our first win against a contender for the Premier League," Torres said. Although it was Torres' first league goal of the season, it was the Spain striker's third this week after also scoring twice at Schalke in the Champions League on Tuesday.
And it ensured that two of Sunday's goals were scored by former Atletico Madrid strikers — Torres and Aguero — in a meeting of one-time Real Madrid managers: Chelsea's Jose Mourinho and Pellegrini. The early danger was all created by Mourinho's players.
Gary Cahill volleyed over after just three minutes, but both sides were struggling to get sight of goal. Torres threw his body at Ramires' deep ball after 28 minutes but was unable to get a shot in. Ramires tried to set up Torres again a minute later, but the end product was poor. Torres brought the ball down with his chest but scooped over with no defenders around him and only Hart to beat.
"When you are a player and you make a mistake you are finished for the game," Mourinho said. "After that you saw the best Fernando." And Torres was the creator of Chelsea's opener. The City defense couldn't cope with the Spain's striker's blistering pace as he rampaged down the right flank before squaring to Schuerrle, who swept the ball in from close range in the 33rd minute.
Torres was popping up everywhere, and was only denied a goal by the crossbar in the 37th when he unleashed a shot on the turn from inside the penalty area. "He is sharp, he is powerful, the belief is high," Mourinho said of Torres. "So we are happy for him."
In a first half when Petr Cech had little to do, the Chelsea goalkeeper had no trouble batting away a close-range shot from Aguero. But the Argentina striker was on target four minutes into the second half. He ran onto Samir Nasri's throughball and got past Cahill before beating Cech at his near post.
City kept up the pressure and Javi Garcia met David Silva's free kick with a header that Cech saved. When Eden Hazard went down in the penalty area under a challenge from City defender Pablo Zabaleta, Chelsea appealed for a penalty that wasn't given.
Torres continued to search for his first league goal since May, but he flicked a header straight at Hart and lifted the ball over at the back post from Frank Lampard's free kick. Cech's feet prevented Silva from giving City the lead, and Torres then produced the winner with the game about to enter stoppage time — causing Mourinho to launch himself into the crowd behind the bench to celebrate with his son and other supporters.
It was Chelsea's third straight win, while City has now dropped 11 points in nine games. The only consolation for City is that they remain two points ahead of reigning champion and neighbor Manchester United.