AUGSBURG, GERMANY – Yoshinori Muto scored a last-gasp equalizer to complete a hat-trick and salvage a draw for Mainz in a 3-3 thriller away to Augsburg in the German first division on Saturday.
On target in last week’s defeat to Werder Bremen, Muto opened the scoring with an easy finish in the 18th minute, tapping into an empty net after Pablo de Blasis had beaten Hong Jeong-ho to provide the assist.
The summer signing from FC Tokyo made it 2-0 with another close-range finish on the half-hour mark, but Paul Verhaegh’s penalty three minutes before the interval for Augsburg reduced the arrears.
Augsburg roared back early in the second half and South Korea international Koo Ja-cheol steered home Caiuby’s cross to make it 2-2 before Raul Bobadilla appeared to have completed a sensational comeback by drilling home to make it 3-2 with nine minutes remaining.
But Muto was to have the last word, lashing home his sixth goal of the season deep into stoppage time to earn the visitors a share of the spoils.
“It would have been best if I had scored four goals and the team had won, but we were 3-2 down, so it’s good that we managed to draw,” Muto said.
“We were behind so and I’m delighted that I scored the goal that rescued my team. I think we got this result because we kept trying right until the very end. The team’s spirit was fantastic.”
Muto is only the second Japanese player after Naohiro Takahara to score a hat-trick in the Bundesliga. Takahara did it in December 2006 in Eintracht Frankfurt’s 3-2 win away to Alemania Aachen.
“Of course I am pleased about that — I didn’t know that I’m the second one,” said Muto. “I am really happy but I am not going to let it affect me one way or the other and hopefully I can keep scoring for the team.”
Liverpool beats Chelsea
Chelsea’s slump in form under Jose Mourinho reached a new low on Saturday after a 3-1 loss at home to Liverpool, while Arsenal and Manchester City continued to set the pace at the summit of the Premier League.
Manchester United, meanwhile, was held to another 0-0 draw, this time against Crystal Palace.
Chelsea had the perfect start at Stamford Bridge, taking the lead through Ramires’ powerful header after only four minutes.
But Liverpool refused to be flustered, growing into the game and taking control of possession. Philippe Coutinho equalized on the stroke of halftime, slaloming past a Chelsea player before steering a shot left footed beyond Asmir Begovic from the edge of the penalty area.
In the second half, Liverpool’s intent to win was evident. Coutinho gave his side the lead on 74 minutes with a shot which deflected off John Terry, before Christian Benteke sealed Juergen Klopp’s first league victory as Liverpool manager — and Mourinho’s sixth league defeat this season.
In a television interview immediately after the match, Mourinho looked shaken, repeatedly answering questions with “I have nothing to say.”
He opened up a little more in the post-match press conference, insisting he does not fear for his job as manager of the team he guided to the Premier League title only five months ago.
“There are things that are out of our hands,” Mourinho said. “I have some players really sad in the dressing room and I am full of respect for them.”
Arsenal beat Swansea 3-0, with goals coming from Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Joel Campbell in the second half.
City needed an 89th minute penalty by Yaya Toure to beat Norwich 2-1 at home. Nicolas Otamendi’s powerful header gave City the lead, before an error from goalkeeper Joe Hart gifted Norwich an equalizer through Cameron Jerome.
Toure’s penalty came after Russell Martin handballed and was sent off. City missed a second spot kick, through Aleksandar Kolarov, in added time.
Both City and Arsenal have 25 points, but City is first with superior goal difference.
“It really was an extraordinary game,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. “The last 10 minutes, the most important thing of my team is we have the character and the trust.
“We are not finished until the last minute. It is a relief because it is important not to drop points here at home.”
Manchester United drew 0-0 at Palace, its second straight goalless draw in the league after being held by City last week.
Louis van Gaal’s side dropped to fourth, with Leicester moving third after coming from behind to beat West Brom 3-2 away.
Striker Jamie Vardy scored his eighth straight game for Claudio Ranieri’s side. The England striker is the league’s top scorer with 11 goals in 11 matches.
West Ham failed to continue its impressive form so far this season with a 2-0 defeat at Watford, while Newcastle was held to a 0-0 draw by Stoke.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5