Costa late goal gifts coach Conte win on Chelsea debut

London: Striker Diego Costa’s late goal in the 89th minute helped new coach Antonio Conte begin his Chelsea tenure with a 2-1 win over West Ham in their English Premier League opener.

Eden Hazard opened the scoring for Chelsea with a penalty early in the second half here on Monday, before West Ham centre-back James Collins equalised with a neat finish in the 77th minute, reports Xinhua.

Before scoring the decisive goal, Costa could have been shown a second yellow card after catching West Ham goalkeeper with a late challenge, but the referee Anthony Taylor decided against it.

“It is important to find the right spirit and intensity. We know we can improve and we must improve a lot, but today I am pleased for my players,” Conte told after the game.

Clinching first victory in the Premier League, Conte got the three points and his Chelsea is believed to be a strong competitor in the title race besides Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.