Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea maintained their winning start to the Premier League season with victory over Newcastle United in a match featuring three goals in 11 second-half minutes.
Eden Hazard, on his first start this season for the Blues, netted from the penalty spot in the 76th minute before substitute Joselu levelled with a brilliant header at St James’ Park.
But, having been resolute in defence for the majority of the game, Newcastle failed to clear their lines and Marcos Alonso’s shot took a deflection off DeAndre Yedlin.
Chelsea dominated the game with 82% possession and Pedro, Cesar Azpilicueta and Alvaro Morata missed chances.
Antonio Rudiger rattled the crossbar in the 70th minute but Newcastle contained the pressure until Fabian Schar tripped Alonso in the box.
Chelsea’s third win in as many matches moves them level on points with Liverpool and Watford at the top of the table, while Rafael Benitez’s side have only one point on the board.
First start, first goal, first-class Hazard
After a World Cup summer and reports of interest from Real Madrid, Belgium forward Hazard had to settle for two appearances from the bench before this match.
He received a less than friendly welcome by the hosts on his return to the starting XI. In the first minute, he was caught on the back of the ankle by the studs of Matt Ritchie, and was then clattered on the right leg by Mohamed Diame.
Off the ball Hazard moved gingerly at times, but for the most part he was the driving force for Chelsea, whose dogged and unrelenting attack finally came to fruition in the latter stages.
Hazard’s well-taken penalty was his 70th Premier League goal for Chelsea, which puts him behind only Frank Lampard (147) and Didier Drogba (104) in the club record books.
More to follow.