Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Chelsea too good for Toon

Didier Drogba (centre)

Chelsea got back on track with a much-needed 3-0 victory as Andre Villas-Boas' men leapfrogged Newcastle into the Barclays Premier League's top four.

Didier Drogba's third goal of the season was the platform for a victory sealed by late goals from Salomon Kalou and Daniel Sturridge.

Magpies keeper Tim Krul pulled off a string of fine saves, including one from Frank Lampard's 14th-minute penalty, to keep the visitors at bay before the late flurry, but the home side were denied by the woodwork on three separate occasions.

There were just four minutes gone when Yohan Cabaye slid the ball in behind David Luiz to put Demba Ba in on goal. The Brazilian's response was to cynically haul down the striker a yard or two outside the penalty area with only keeper Petr Cech standing between him and the opening goal. However, referee Mike Dean only produced a yellow card.

Had it not been for the excellence of Krul, the visitors might have ben out of sight by the break. Sturridge lured Cabaye into an injudicious 13th-minute challenge inside the penalty area which gave Mr Dean little choice but to point to the spot, although Krul dived to his left to turn Lampard's effort on to the post.

The same upright came to Krul's rescue two minutes later when Sturridge rattled it with a rising drive, and he twice denied the striker one-on-one as Chelsea attacked in waves. At the other end, Ba was unlucky to see a header come back off the post.

Chelsea eventually took the lead seven minutes before the break when Cabaye switched off long enough to allow Juan Mata to collect Ashley Cole's throw-in and cross for Drogba to head home.

The Chelsea striker hit the bar with 55 minutes gone, but he did so at the wrong end as he beat Ba to Cabaye's corner, and Ramires was denied by Krul as the visitors counter-attacked at lightning pace from the rebound.

Sammy Ameobi was denied a 74th-minute equaliser when John Terry cleared his volley off the line, and older brother Shola saw his piledriver come back of the bar with Cech helpless six minutes later.

But with Steven Taylor having to leave the pitch injured, Kalou struck from close range in the final minutes of normal time and Sturridge made it three in stoppage time to give the scoreline a slightly flattering appearance.

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