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Chelsea's Cole Palmer celebrates after scoring their third goal against Manchester United. Image Credit: Reuters

London: Chelsea staged a last-gasp comeback to beat Manchester United 4-3 with Cole Palmer bagging a hat-trick to turn a madcap Premier League match on its head after the Reds seemed to have staged their own unlikely turnaround in a thriller on Thursday.

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Chelsea’s top scorer Palmer struck twice deep into added time at Stamford Bridge to save the Blues who were on the verge of a 3-2 home defeat. United remain in sixth spot and still 11 points behind fourth-placed Villa albeit with a game in hand.

Timed at 100 minutes and 39 seconds, Palmer’s clincher was the latest winning goal on record in a Premier League game.

Chelsea had raced to a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes with a strike by captain Conor Gallagher and a Palmer penalty.

Nail-biting VAR check

Goals by Alejandro Garnacho — after a Moises Caicedo error — and Bruno Fernandes before halftime and another in the 67th minutes by Garnacho turned the tide towards United, who are chasing qualification for next season’s Champions League.

But with the Blues looking beaten, Diogo Dalot brought down Noni Madueke in the box and after a nail-biting VAR check Palmer stroked home from the spot for the second time on the night to level the match at 3-3 in the 10th minute of added time.

A minute later, he blasted a shot that deflected off United midfielder Scott McTominay into the net to claim his 16th league goal of the season and send the home fans into raptures.

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Manchester United players wear a dejected look after losing the match against Chelsea on Thursday. Image Credit: Reuters

Chelsea coach Mauricio Pochettino, whose grip on the job at Stamford Bridge has been questioned with the club stuck in mid-table, paid tribute to Palmer.

“The impact is amazing. He is doing a fantastic job, it is difficult to talk more about him. Today he showed the mentality and the quality,” the Argentine told the BBC, adding he had urged Palmer on in the closing minutes.

“I said, ‘Cole, two minutes more’ and to believe,” Pochettino said.

Individual errors

His opposite number at United, Erik Ten Hag expressed frustration and blamed costly mistakes and poor decision-making for his side conceding two injury time goals.

Individual errors, however, led them to defeat just a few days after his team conceded a last-gasp equaliser to Brentford in a 1-1 draw to move further away from a top-four Premier League finish. Man U now sits at sixth with 48 points.

“I had the feeling we were dominating the game, got ourselves into a winning position, scoring great goals,” Ten Hag told reporters.

“Then, in stoppage time, we didn’t manage to win. Of course, it’s frustrating.

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Manchester United coach Erik Ten Hag expressed frustration and blamed costly mistakes and poor decision-making for his side conceding two injury time goals. Image Credit: Reuters

“We made individual errors that cost us the game. The players know their jobs and they didn’t make the right decisions. We have to read when to keep the ball, to pass, move and switch the play when we are winning.

“In five days we dropped five points. That is unacceptable. We gave away a game we should have won.”

Absence of key players

The Dutch manager said injury absences of key players have dampened his team’s performance, but he is confident his players will step up on Sunday when they host leaders Liverpool.

“(Raphael) Varane, (Jonny) Evans, Also Casemiro we have to take off. That doesn’t help. You need these types to show leadership and what to do,” he said.

“I don’t know if they will play on Sunday. The team will be there on Sunday. They have character. They showed it today, fighting ourselves into the game.”