Diego Costa was Chelsea’s savior as Guus Hiddink unbeaten run in his second spell in charge continued at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The fiery striker scored a late equalizer as Chelsea came from behind to draw 1-1 against Manchester United, extending Guus Hiddink’s run of games without a loss since he replaced Jose Mourinho.
But it was Manchester United on the ascendency early on, with the Red Devils dominating and controlling possession in the first 10 minutes of the game, as Chelsea were pegged back by their visitors.
It wouldn’t be long before United got a shot on target when young left-back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson fired a 25-yard shot in the eighth minute but it went straight into the arms of Thibaut Courtois in goal for Chelsea.
It would be Chelsea’s turn to try to make an effort three minutes later as Willian’s ambitious attempt at a through ball down the right was more like the benefits of kicking to touch in a rugby game, as Chelsea still struggled to get out of their own half.
The game wore on with United still dominating and it almost bore some fruit as Anthony Martial beat Branislav Ivanovic to cut into his right side, but his effort towards the top corner was excellently saved by Courtois.
Chelsea continued to sit back but Willian seemed their only attacking option whenever they broke away as he used a burst of acceleration to create space for a cross on the right but his delivery went well out of play for a goal kick to United.
Meanwhile, United kept piling the pressure and they won three corners inside two minutes but none of them came to any fruition as Chelsea cleared.
United won two more corners but were perfectly cleared by the Chelsea defense and at this point, the Premier League champions began creating some opportunities of their own, as they tried to put United under some pressure as Oscar slipped Diego Costa in with a forward pass but the Spain striker could only drag a low shot narrowly wide across goal.
With over half an hour gone, Chelsea began piling some pressure too, as United sought to contain the Blues’ attacks with Oscar, Diego Costa and especially Willian at the forefront. United had had over 70 percent of the ball in the first 20 minutes of the game but it was all Chelsea afterwards as they took the game to them.
And just on the stroke of half time, Chelsea thought they had a penalty when a John Terry effort appeared to have deflected off the arm of Daley Blind but referee Michael Oliver wave for a corner kick instead. The first half with neither side taking advantage of the chances created.
The second half began with United trying to recreate their domination from the early stages if the first half, as a Wayne Rooney shot was parried by Courtois with Kurt Zouma clearing the rebound. Chelsea then sought to alter the course of the game as Eden Hazard replaced the ineffective Oscar after 55 minutes.
Chelsea would be forced to make another substitution less than a minute later as Zouma appeared to have injured his knee after landing awkwardly after a jump inside the center circle. He was taken off as he writhed in pains, with Gary Cahill coming on to take his place.
Meanwhile, United finally got their breakthrough after 61 minutes as Jesse Lingard was connected by a Wayne Rooney touch of a Borthwick-Jackson cross and the youngster controlled nicely, turned and unleashed the half volley into the Chelsea net. 1-0 United.
Chelsea, having now conceded, went on the front foot with Ivanovic going close, only for his effort to thwarted by a superb save from David De Gea. The United goalkeeper was having good game, so also was Courtois in Chelsea’s corner.
Chelsea kept putting the pressure on United and it was only a matter of time before they caved. With the assistant referee showing six minutes added on time, United needed to hold on for a little while longer to secure a much needed win, but with only the first of the six minutes played, Chelsea broke loose as Costa received a Cesc Fabregas pass, and he beat David De Gea to score Chelsea’s equalizer.
The draw leaves both sides far from where they want to be, with Chelsea 13th, while United remain fifth on the table.