London: Manchester City moved a point clear at the top of the Premier League on Sunday after a thrilling 4-4 draw at Chelsea with Erling Haaland scoring twice only for former City man Cole Palmer to level the match from the penalty spot in added time.
City scored first when Spanish defender Marc Cucurella pulled Haaland’s shirt to concede a VAR-checked penalty which the Norwegian coolly converted in the 24th minute sending Robert Sanchez the wrong way.
Five minutes later Chelsea’s 39-year-old Brazilian defender Thiago Silva headed the ball into the net from a Conor Gallagher corner and it was all square.
It was the first time Chelsea had scored against Manchester City since they beat them in the 2021 Champions League final.
They suffered six defeats in a row, four in the league and two in cup competitions.
Former City forward Raheem Sterling, busy and bustling all game, tapped in after a Josko Gvardiol error in defence allowed Reece James to cross in the 37th minute. Sterling refused to celebrate but Stamford Bridge erupted.
Chelsea’s lead lasted less than 10 minutes before defender Manuel Akanji, who had pushed forward throughout the half, rose to head City’s equaliser in first-half injury time.
The towering Haaland bundled in his second — his 13th Premier League goal of the season — a minute after the restart to put City ahead.
But the champions had no time to relax in the end-to-end contest and in the 67th minute of a breathless second half, the home side equalised through Nicolas Jackson. Rodri’s 86th-minute strike, that took a big deflection off Thiago Silva, put the champions ahead again.
The visitors might have thought they had the three points in the bag, only for them to concede a 94th-minute penalty, when Ruben Dias caught substitute Armando Broja’s legs in the penalty box.
Up stepped Manchester City’s academy graduate Palmer to show no nerves as he blasted the penalty home against his former club. It was the 21-year-old’s fourth Chelsea penalty in four attempts.
“Very strange the first time I have played against City,” Palmer told Sky Sports. “I have the upmost respect for the club I spent 15 years at and it is nice to see some friends.”
Scorer Rodri said his side were exhausted.
“The level of the Chelsea team has risen and it was not our best performance today. Individually we needed to do a bit more ourselves – to concede four goals is not normal for us,” he told Sky.
The result moved City clear of Liverpool with 28 points from 12 games. Chelsea, who have shown stuttering form this season, move up a place to 10th on 16 points.
(Published 13 November 2023, 01:19 IST)