Chelsea slumped to an away defeat at Newcastle United today, as Demba Ba’s return to his old club was dashed by injury. Jonas Gutierrez headed the Magpies ahead late on in the first half after some lacklustre defending by Chelsea, but two brilliant second half goals from Frank Lampard and Juan Mata were not enough to earn the Blues a win.
Demba Ba started up front on his return to St James’ Park, and John Terry made his first league appearance since early November. Whereas, Ryan Bertrand’s run in the side continued, starting on the left flank in place of the suspended Eden Hazard, and Petr Cech returned to the starting line-up.
Chelsea had to wait until the 9th minute for a decent spell on the ball, but the Magpies continued to make life tough for the Blues. Demba Ba’s first touch was greeted by a chorus of boos from the home crowd. Ashley Cole created Chelsea’s first chance of the game, Juan Mata picking him out with a lofted ball as he made a run into the box before cutting the ball back into the path of Frank Lampard, who shot tamely over the bar.
Papiss Cisse soon tested Cech from the edge of the box, the linesman failing to spot an obvious offside run from the Senegalese striker. Newcastle had a solid spell of possession in the final third, but their efforts came to nothing as Santon shot wide. Ashley Cole was the next Chelsea player to draw the ire of the local supporters, who subjected him to a round of heckling. Mata’s delivery found Ivanovic, but the set piece came to nothing and referee Howard Webb failed to spot a handball by the Serbian.
Ramires was lucky to escape a red card after a two footed tackle on Guitierrez, Howard Webb only deeming the offence worthy of a yellow, provoking an angry response from Alan Pardew who marched onto the pitch to remonstrate.
Lampard played Demba Ba through on goal in the 31st minute with a lofted ball. Ba speed past Coloccini and shot into the path of Krul which he saves but directing towards Ba who with a headed effort failed to find the net but found himself on the end of a high boot by Collocini.
Webb failed to spot the kick to the face, denying Chelsea what should have been an obvious penalty kick. Ba was ushered off the pitch by Chelsea’s medical staff, blood pouring from his nose, and Newcastle fans yet again booed their former favourite.
Petr Cech came up with a good save in the 35th minute, denying Cisse who should have made more of the chance.
Demba Ba returned to the pitch with his nose taped, looking dazed, and the St James’ Park crowd continued to heckle him. As half-time approached, Newcastle pulled in front via the head of Gutierrez in the 40th minute. Ivanovic failed to shut down Davide Santon, who delivered a brilliant cross for the Argentine to head home. Rafael Benitez opted to bring Demba Ba off as he continued to look out of sorts, paying way for Fernando Torres.
Newcastle had a late opportunity by a corner as the half moved into injury time, Chelsea failed to clear the decks and were saved by Ryan Bertrand’s diving block into the path of Sissoko’s shot. The Magpies closed out the half on top, leaving Chelsea with much to do in the second.
Benitez refrained from making any changes as the second half got under way. News filtered through concerning Demba Ba’s injury, which was confirmed to have been a broken nose. Chelsea began the half positively and won an early corner, but couldn’t make the opportunity count. Frank Lampard conjured up a spectacular goal in the 54th minute to pull Chelsea level. His shot from distance was an absolute cracker, and the flight of the ball left keeper Krul with no chance to stop it.
Juan Mata served up a beautiful goal to put Chelsea ahead after a lay-off inside the box from fellow Spaniard Fernando Torres. Mata’s strike was masterful, beating Krul and curling into the top left-hand corner.
Webb delivered another baffling refereeing decision, sanctioning both Ashley Cole and Papiss Cisse with a yellow card after the Newcastle front man bizarrely put his hand around the throat of Cole. Chelsea were now in the driving seat, dominating possession and dragging Newcastle around the pitch. The Blues pushed forward in search of a third, but Pardew’s side soon found a way back into the game. With a stupid decision by John Terry, Gouffran broke past Chelsea’s high line and sprinted through on goal, he took an effort on goal which Cech parried away but the rebound fell into the path of Sissoko, who promptly slotted the ball home gently into the empty net.
Sissoko then had another golden chance on the break as he beat Ashley Cole and made a run through on goal, but Cech tipped his shot wide. Rafael Benitez got involved in a spat with Alan Pardew on the touchline, after Howard Webb failed to pick up a foul by Cabaye on Oscar. Mata looked to carry Chelsea forward, going on a fantastic run and managing to hold off Coloccini who was snapping at his heels.
The Magpies went ahead as the match entered the 90th minute, Davide Santon getting the better of Ivanovic as he dribbled into the box, laying the ball off for Sissoko who fired a shot past Cech. Juan Mata took a yellow card for the team in the 2nd minute of stoppage time, breaking up a dangerous looking Newcastle attack with a foul. Pardew tapped at his watch impatiently as the game wound up; Chelsea had a late appeal for a penalty turned down and Howard Webb soon blew his whistle to signal the end of the match.
A disappointing afternoon for Chelsea, things could have been oh so different had Howard Webb spotted what was a blatant foul on Demba Ba inside the box in the first half. Newcastle, however, deserved their victory on the back of an impressive performance, putting Petr Cech under pressure time after time as they rained in a number of shots on target.
- Live Sport Reports: Sissoko seals last-gasp win over Chelsea (walesonline.co.uk)
- Latest Sports News: Sissoko seals last-gasp win over Chelsea (journallive.co.uk)
- National Sport: Sissoko seals last-gasp win over Chelsea (birminghampost.net)
- Nacho Monreal debuts as Arsenal beat Stoke with controversial goal (metro.co.uk)