Chelsea strengthens grip on 4th place by beating Newcastle

Chelsea's Eden Hazard jumps for a header over Newcastle United's DeAndre Yedlin during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Chelsea's Willian celebrates his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Newcastle United's Isaac Hayden, left, and Chelsea's Willian compete for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka saves a ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LONDON — Chelsea went six points clear in the chase for Champions League qualification by sending Newcastle into the English Premier League relegation zone on Saturday.

While Willian's curling strike gave Chelsea a 2-1 victory over Newcastle, manager Maurizio Sarri was still unhappy with the labored performance and fragility.

Pedro Rodriguez collected David Luiz's pass before netting to put Chelsea in front in the ninth minute.

"After the goal I think we thought, 'Now it's easy,' but it wasn't," Sarri said. "We slept for 20, 25 minutes, so at the end of the first half we were in trouble."

Ciaran Clark equalized in the 40th minute after leaping to reach Matt Ritchie's corner and heading past goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

But Eden Hazard set up Willian for the winner in the 57th as Chelsea quickly recovered from losing the first leg of its League Cup semifinal to Tottenham. It allowed Chelsea to take advantage of fifth-place Arsenal losing at West Ham and move six points clear to strengthen its hold on the fourth and final Champions League qualification place.

Newcastle fans chanted against owner Mike Ashley, with the northeast English team a point from safety in the relegation zone.

"Hopefully everybody can see the effort is there, we're trying our best and still it's not enough," Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez said. "We have to stay calm. It's a long-distance race."

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

You may also interested in

Shanghai Shenhua accuses Changchun Yatai player...

Aug 5, 2018

Chinese Superleague team Shanghai Shenhua has accused an opposing player of racially abusing its...

Halep retires from China Open 1st round with back...

Sep 30, 2018

Top-ranked Simona Halep retired Sunday from her first-round match at the China Open

Federer battles, Djokovic cruises, del Potro out...

Oct 11, 2018

Roger Federer is stretched to three sets for a second consecutive match to reach the Shanghai...

Japanese club Vissel Kobe has high expectations...

Jul 6, 2017

Japanese club Vissel Kobe rolled out the red carpet for German striker Lukas Podolski on Thursday,...

Top-seeded Muguruza advances to Pan Pacific Open...

Sep 22, 2017

Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza advanced to the semifinals of the Pan Pacific Open by beating...

About Us

Frontal Report is an emerging leader in all forms of media. We aim to be the leading news brand for readers around the world.

Contact us: sales[at]frontalreport.com

Subscribe Now!