SOUTHAMPTON, Oct 31: Diego Costa helped Chelsea to a 2-0 victory against Southampton and reclaimed the sole leadership of the race for the English Premier League’s (EPL) Golden Boot award with his eighth goal of the season.
According to the official website of the EPL, the Spain intertiol also became the sixth-fastest player to reach 40 goals in the competition here on Sunday evening.
The Chelsea striker reached the total in just his 64th match, a feat bettered only by Andrew Cole, Alan Shearer, Kevin Phillips, Ferndo Torres and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Costa got to the mark seven matches ahead of Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and nine quicker than Thierry Henry.
The 28-year-old is not the fastest Chelsea player to reach the milestone in the competition.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who got to 40 EPL goals overall in 79 matches, needed just 59 in a Chelsea jersey to score that many for the club.
Costa is well clear of Didier Drogba, who took 83 EPL matches to score 40 for the Blues.
He also moved level with John Terry in seventh place in the Chelsea rankings for EPL goals.
The next player above him in the list was also on the scoresheet at St Mary’s — Eden Hazard, with 46.
On Sunday, Eden Hazard gave Chelsea an early lead while Costa doubled the advantage in the second half.
Chelsea mager Antonio Conte fielded the same starting XI from last weekend’s 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United.
Chelsea’s win also ended Southampton’s run of 11 games unbeaten at their home ground. Chelsea’s win here last February had preceded that run.
Chelsea were ahead after just six minutes, Hazard flicking through Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster’s legs.
Southampton domited possession thereafter but did little to trouble a Chelsea defence who have now not conceded in four matches. Forster, meanwhile, had to keep out several attempts from Hazard and Costa.
But the Southampton goalkeeper could do nothing to stop Costa’s curling strike on 55 minutes.
Southampton thought they had a goal back on 85 minutes through Charlie Austin, but the striker was just offside.
Chelsea are a point behind Manchester City, Arsel and Liverpool who share the top spot with 23 points each. Southampton are ninth with 13 points. IANS