Chelsea wins 4-3 at Sunderland in Premier League
(AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
SUNDERLAND, England (AP) Eden Hazard capped a brilliant performance with two goals as Chelsea came from behind to win 4-3 at last-place Sunderland and stay four points behind leader Arsenal in the Premier League standings.
The Belgium international was also provider as he produced the cross that allowed Frank Lampard to head in the equalizer from close range after Jozy Altidore put the Black Cats in front after 14 minutes with his first goal for Sunderland.
Hazard then put Chelsea ahead with a right-footed curled shot past goalkeeper Vito Mannone. But Chelsea's defense then failed to clear a corner and John O'Shea put the teams level before Hazard made it 3-2 with a powerful finish from Lampard's assist.
Phil Bardsley scored an own goal as Chelsea moved 4-2 up before slotting home four minutes from time to ensure a nervy finish at the Stadium of Light.
"I know I will be close to a heart attack sometimes (with my team)," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. "Eden Hazard was excellent. He told me at dinner last night `Boss, for a long time I haven't scored.' He decided he would score tonight."
The result left Sunderland in deep trouble as manager Gus Poyet's run of three successive home victories in all competitions came to an end.
After bemoaning a lack of consistency from his players, Mourinho hailed his team's defensive control despite the three goals conceded.
"It was by far our best performance away from home," he said. "We played fantastic football. We created, we were dynamic, we had someone special in Hazard, and (Juan) Mata and Willian played a fantastic match."
Hazard capped a fine individual first-half display with a 37th-minute run and sumptuous finish to equalize. John O'Shea dragged the home side right back into it five minutes into the second half when Chelsea failed to clear Emanuele Giaccherini's corner, and the defender helped the ball into the net.
�But Hazard left defenders in his wake once again to fire a 62nd-minute shot past keeper Vito Mannone. There was late drama as fullback Phil Bardsley scored at both ends inside a minute.
"It is very difficult to play like we did and score so many goals, that is difficult, and I cannot even blame the defensive play of the team, but the set-pieces and a rebound here and off the last man there, and we concede three goals which you can't do but the performance was excellent collectively and individually," Mourinho said.
Updated December 4, 2013