Costa scores again as Chelsea beat Hull

Chelsea 2 Hull City 0

Diego Costa’s 12th Premier League goal of the season sealed a workmanlike victory over 10-man Hull and kept Chelsea top of the table.

The Blues were not at their fluent best but led at the break through Eden Hazard’s fine header.

And after Tom Huddlestone was sent off for a dangerous over-the-ball challenge on Filipe Luis in an increasingly feisty game, Costa ensured an eighth successive home league win with a cool first-time effort.

Costa’s right-foot strike following great work by the outstanding Hazard settled the nerves and the match.

But the visitors – who were furious that Gary Cahill did not receive a second caution for a dive – will look at Huddlestone’s daft challenge as a turning point.

Chelsea looked relatively comfortable without being convincing up until the break.

However, the red card just before the hour allowed the Blues to dominate possession and see out the victory.

Chelsea led thanks to Hazard’s downward header from Oscar’s inviting seventh-minute cross following some great work by John Mikel Obi.

Mikel, who replaced the suspended Cesc Fabregas in midfield, won possession and then found Oscar on the left wing and the Brazilian’s centre was expertly guided in.

But having gone ahead, Jose Mourinho’s men failed to create many clear chances with their main threat coming from the ever-willing Branislav Ivanovic and the trickery and class of Hazard.

Hull recovered from a shaky start and threatened on occasions, with Sone Aluko blasting their best opportunity over the bar from distance.

Costa was almost gifted a one-on-one chance after a defensive lapse, while Cahill was cautioned for a clumsy challenge that stopped Aluko 30 yards from goal.

Jake Livermore went close after the interval after a lovely move.

But Costa’s calm first-time finish, after Huddlestone was red-carded, settled the nerves.

There were plenty of near misses after that, with substitute Andre Schurrle having a couple of late strikes blocked, but no glorious opportunities as the hosts cruised home to remain three points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Filipe Luis; Mikel (Ramires 81), Matic; Willian (Schurrle 80), Oscar (Drogba 78), Hazard; Costa.
Subs not used: Schwarzer, Zouma, Azpilicueta, Remy.

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