A timely, possibly Champions League-saving shot from Juan Mata lifted Chelsea over Manchester United on Sunday at Old Trafford, 1-0.
The 25-year-old Spanish midfielder's shot deflected off Phil Jones for an own goal in the 87th minute. The Blues earned the crucial road victory against their Manchester rivals.
Chelsea needed the three points in order to keep pace with Arsenal and Tottenham, who both won Saturday. The Blues are now back in the top three on the table with three matches left to go, including a pivotal match against Spurs at Stamford Bridge.
Moments after Mata’s deflected shot, defender Rafael reacted, perhaps out of frustration, with a rough foul on David Luiz and was sent off by a red card.
Overall, the match provided limited excitement until the closing minutes. Chelsea forced seven corner kicks and 17 total shots, but just three were on target. The Red Devils took 10 shots with two on target.
United put their best foot forward, despite already claiming the Premier League title last week, with Sir Alex Ferguson fielding a strong squad.
After the match, Ferguson and Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez shook hands despite a rather contentious relationship.