Blues battle past unlucky Toon


Chelsea were rewarded for their tireless efforts at the newly-named Sports Direct Arena, striking twice late-on to put a gloss on the scoreline against Newcastle.

Didier Drogba gave the visitors the lead in the closing stages of the first-half, pouncing on Juan Mata's cross to head home from six yards after Frank Lampard had missed an earlier penalty.

Salomon Kalou secured the points with an 89th minute strike from substitute Fernando Torres' lay-off, and Daniel Sturridge made sure in injury-time to end the scoring.

The goalscoring facts simply don't tell the story of a compeling affair on Tyneside however, with David Luiz controversially avoiding a red card on four minutes after hauling down Demba Ba with the striker seemingly clear on goal.

That sparked the visitors into life though, with Yohann Cabaye bringing down the lively Sturridge in the box midway through the period. Tim Krul, brilliant throughout, saved low to his left to keep the scores level.

Sturridge would hit the post and be denied by the Dutch stopper again in the opening period, but Krul could do little to stop the Ivorian's clinical finish on 38 minutes. Mata found space from a throw-in, and the mercurial Spaniard found his teammate with a lovely cross after a fine first-half display.

Ba came closest for the hosts in the period, nodding onto the post from a deep cross before Terry's clearance hit Luiz and nearly rebounded into the area.

The Magpies were much improved in the second 45 minutes, but luck wasn't on the side of Alan Pardew's men as Drogba hit his own crossbar from a corner before substitute Shola Ameobi hit the post.

His brother, Sammi, was introduced and saw an effort blocked off the line by John Terry before Shola struck the bar with a thunderous effort from long-range.

Torres' introduction with ten minutes remaining proved crucial for Andre Villas-Boas' side, with the striker not looking clinical in-front of goal but breaking through to assist Kalou for his goal.

And, as Toon legs grew tired, Sturridge finally got his reward with a fine finish past Krul, who got a hand on Kalou's finish but nothing on the England striker's goal.

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