Fernando Torres believed Chelsea deserved their late fortune as he capitalised on a Joe Hart howler to sink Manchester City 2-1.
City looked to have earned a share of the spoils after Sergio Aguero's superb 49th-minute strike cancelled out Andre Schurrle's first Chelsea goal since his move from Bayer Leverkusen.
But Torres - who missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring, teed up Schurrle and rattled the crossbar before the break - had the final word as he chased a hopeful punt forward from substitute Willian to capitalise on confusion in the visitors' ranks.
Centre-back Matija Nastasic looked to execute a routine header back to his goalkeeper from the high ball but looked on in horror as Hart charged past his touch on to leave Torres with a simple finish.
"When it happens in a game like this against a great team like Manchester City, the last minutes of the game taste much better," the striker told Sky Sports.
"I think 1-1 maybe was not the fair result of the game. I think we controlled the game most of the time. We created chances, especially in the first half.
"But as you can see they have everything with players like Aguero. They can score a goal at any time.
"At the end I think we won a game we deserved to win and we're happy because this is the first victory against one of the contenders for the Premier League.
"You never know which (moment) will become the most important of the game. It was a long ball, not the best understanding between the defender and the keeper and you win the game in that action.
"Every ball has to be the most important ball of the game because it can be the ball that gives you the lead."
Torres eventually built impressively upon his midweek UEFA Champions League brace against Schalke but his early miss sparked fears of another torrid afternoon in Chelsea colours for the ex-Liverpool man.
Manager Jose Mourinho hailed Torres' character in battling to net his first Premier League goal of the campaign.
"Everything happened for Torres after he missed an easy chance. After that, we saw the best Fernando," said Mourinho.
"He worked unbelievably for the team. The second goal was a 'believe goal'."
Mourinho felt his side beat the Premier League's best team despite City languishing in seventh position on the back of a third away loss this term.
"We won a game which was very important for us. We beat maybe the best team in the Premier League," added the Portuguese.
"I think there are five or six fantastic teams who will fight for the Premier League. They (City) are the best team, very dangerous and physical.
"When you beat maybe the best team, it gives you positive feelings."
|Coach: José Mourinho|
for F. Lampard 66'
for A. Schürrle 66'
for E. Hazard 84'
|Tottenham job appeals to Sherwood|
|Sherwood gutted after defeat|
|Hughes: United worthy winners|
|Moyes pleased to see United weather storm|
|Allardyce hails West Ham fight|
|Coppa Italia: Juventus 3 Avellino 0|
|Manchester clubs kept apart in League Cup semi draw|
|League Cup: Tottenham 1 West Ham 2|
|League Cup: Stoke City 0 Manchester United 2|
|FIFA Club World Cup: Raja Casablanca 3 Atletico Mineiro 1|
|Sheffield Wednesday, Wigan abandoned due to heavy rain|
|United face anxious Rooney wait over injury|
|Messi making good progress|
|Ramos ban overturned|
|Osvaldo charged by FA|
|In-demand Ince offered new Blackpool deal|
|Molde confirm Solskjaer approaches|
|Kramer keen to continue home record|
|Rodgers: Henderson has potential to get even better|
|Ruiz on Anderlecht´s radar|
|Swansea, Hull fined by FA over player behaviour|
|Leeds keen on re-signing Gradel|
|Leverkusen announce Ryu deal|
|Ribery named Bundesliga Player of the Year|
|Moyes: No Zaha interest|
|Barcelona, Real Madrid in European Commission investigation|
|Basel: No Tottenham approach for Yakin|
|Chelsea set for Guarin bid, agent claims|
|Lewandowski has Dortmund goal concerns|
|Pogba, Pirlo will not sign before Christmas, says Marotta|
|Guardiola convinced to join Bayern after ´meat´ and greet|
|Martinez: Everton seen as a ´perfect´ loan destination|
|Anderlecht ´perfect´ for Defour, says Van Holsbeeck|
|Watford appoint Sannino|
|Sakho feels ´lucky´ to play with Suarez|
|Lippi: Too many teams competing in Club World Cup|
|Moyes ´told Welbeck to learn from Rooney´|
|I would kill myself over match-fixing, says Gattuso|
|Hughes dismisses calls for Januzaj protection|
|Aguero ´could miss up to two months´|
|Guardiola lauds Ballon d´Or nominee Ribery|
|Liverpool open Suarez contract talks|
|Copa del Rey Wrap: Barcelona, Levante cruise through|
|A-League Preview: Derby date beckons for winless Heart|
|Pearson upbeat despite Leicester defeat|
|Poyet urges Sunderland to build on Chelsea win|
|Mourinho rues missed chances|
|Pellegrini proud of professional Manchester City|
|Bayern on another level, says Beckenbauer|
|League Cup: Sunderland 2 Chelsea 1 (aet)|
|League Cup: Leicester City 1 Manchester City 3|
|FIFA Club World Cup: Guangzhou Evergrande 0 Bayern Munich 3|
|Zenit and Olympiacos punished with partial stadium closures|
|Sherwood wants positive reaction|
|Ancelotti expected La Liga title fight|
|Moffat charged over betting allegations|
|Wilson appointed at Barnsley|
|Wilshere charged by FA|
|Gattuso determined to clear his name|
|Moyes slams sacking culture|
|Mackay refuses to resign despite owner criticism|
|Redknapp reluctant to take Taarabt back|
|Amat pleased with development|
|Hughes optimistic of League Cup progression|
|Perez: No bids for Di Maria|
|FIFPro demand transfer system overhaul|
|Edwards sacked by Perth Glory|
|Allardyce not fearing the sack|
|Howson commits to Norwich|
|Tevez resigned to Argentina snub|
|SFA uphold Butcher´s one-match ban|
|Zapata rules out United switch|
|European Ombudsman calls for action on Spanish tax complaint|
|Albrighton eyes new Villa deal|
|Bale to miss Copa del Rey clash with ´small injury´|
|Pardew will bide his time in January|
|Kreuzer confident of Hamburg improvement|
|Van der Sar: Moyes can turn United around|
|Maradona backs Ronaldo for Ballon d´Or|
|Tottenham warned off Klinsmann|
|Costa Rica Primera Division: Alajuelense 0 Herediano 0|
|Lyon wary of Chornomorets Odesa|
|Guardiola talks up Lippi, Evergrande|
|Chile Primera Division Wrap: Chile, Deportes Iquique reach final|
|Garcia laments defensive mistakes|
|La Liga: Real Valladolid 3 Celta Vigo 0|