First Chelsea Premier League goals from Enzo Fernandez and Levi Colwill earned the 10-man home side a 3-2 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at a rain-sodden Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Chelsea played the entire second half a player down after captain Conor Gallagher picked up two yellow cards, but World Cup-winning Argentine Fernandez kept them in front with a goal in each half.
Fernandez, who had only previously scored in the League Cup, headed home a neat overhead kick from defender Benoit Badiashile in the 17th minute.
Colwill, on loan at Brighton last season, made it two four minutes later from a Nicolas Jackson headed pass. It was the former Chelsea junior’s first senior goal for his side but he chose not to celebrate in front of the travelling fans.
Chelsea looked to be cruising but Brighton pulled one back two minutes from halftime through a curling shot by Facundo Buonanotte.
Then Gallagher slid in on former Chelsea team mate Billy Gilmour and was dismissed by referee Craig Pawson.
Brighton pressed Chelsea in numbers at the start of the second half, trying to make their advantage tell but substitute James Milner could not keep up with Mykhailo Mudryk on the counter and brought him down.
After a six minute delay for a VAR check, Fernandez scored his second from the penalty spot in the 65th minute.
Brighton’s Joao Pedro made sure of a nervy run-in during time added-on when he scored with a glancing header in the 92nd minute after sustained pressure from the visiting side.
They peppered the Chelsea goal for the last hectic 10 minutes and Chelsea had Robert Sanchez to thank for keeping the score in check.
Pascal Gross had three good chances saved by the Spanish keeper in regulation time and he also kept out a Joao Pedro effort in the 99th minute.
A final twist in the tail sent Pawson to the VAR monitor for a second time after he indicated a penalty for a handball from Colwill as Chelsea defended desperately with every player behind the ball.
The replays showed the Chelsea man had been hit in the face rather than on the arm by the ball and the decision was overturned.
The result sent Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea up a place to 10th in the table, three points behind Brighton in eighth.