Belgium star Eden Hazard scores twice as Chelsea crush Newcastle 3-1; Spurs stumble

Updated: 03 December, 2017 14:09 IST | AFP | London

Belgium star Eden Hazard scores twice as Chelsea crush Newcastle 3-1; Spurs stumble

Premier League
Eden Hazard gave England followers a glimpse of what to expect at next summer's World Cup with a glorious display as Chelsea beat Newcastle United 3-1 at Stamford Bridge. Less than 24 hours after the World Cup draw put Belgium and England in the same group, Belgian Hazard was in imperious form, scoring twice and running at defenders at will. Chelsea's victory, which keeps them third in the Premier League, ought to have been more emphatic but it briefly looked as if they might not collect the three points at all when Newcastle took a surprise lead in the 12th minute.

Chelseas Eden Hazard (centre) celebrates with his teammates after scoring his second goal from the penalty spot v Newcastle. Pic/AFP
Chelsea's Eden Hazard (centre) celebrates with his teammates after scoring his second goal from the penalty spot v Newcastle. Pic/AFP

Dwight Gayle chased down his own header and hurried Marcos Alonso into a back-pass which sold his 'keeper Thibaut Courtois short. Seeking to prevent Jacob Murphy nipping in to round him, Courtois was forced to dive at the Newcastle winger's feet but succeeded only in pushing the ball back to Gayle, who stroked it into the empty net.

Hazard equalises
The Chelsea response was immediate. Twice they went close before inevitable equaliser finally arrived after 20 minutes. Alvaro Morata contested a high ball and it bounced off him and dropped towards Hazard, who controlled his half-volley to perfection, driving the ball into the ground and bouncing it into the far corner of the net. That goal settled any anxiety that had been floating around Stamford Bridge and it came as no surprise when the home side took the lead just after the half-hour.
Matt Ritchie's clearing header was neither strong, nor decisive and fell straight to Victor Moses who quickly drilled over a cross that Morata merely had to divert home with his head.

The second half began as quietly as the first, with only a deflected Hazard shot raising excitement levels among the crowd above the soporific. That was until the 56th minute when the Belgian danced through the centre of the Newcastle defence only to stumble just he approached Karl Darlow in the Newcastle goal.

Tottenham held
Meanwhile, Tottenham slipped further off the pace with a costly 1-1 draw at Watford on Saturday. Spurs have challenged for the Premier League crown in the past two seasons but their title push has come to a shuddering halt after a string of damaging results. Mauricio Pochettino's side fell behind to an early Christian Kabasele header. Son Heung-Min equalised midway through the first half but Spurs were reduced to 10 men when Davinson Sanchez was dismissed shortly after the restart. Free-scoring Liverpool blitzed Brighton 5-1.

EPL results
Brighton 1 Liverpool 5
Chelsea 3 Newcastle 1
Everton 2 Huddersfield 0
Leicester 1 Burnley 0
Stoke 2 Swansea 1
Watford 1 Tottenham 1
West Brom 0 Palace 0

La Liga: Barca slip in Celta thriller

Madrid: Celta Vigo breathed life into La Liga's title race becoming the first team this season to take points off Barcelona at the Nou Camp in a thrilling 2-2 draw on Saturday. Iago Aspas gave Celta an early lead, but an inspired display from Lionel Messi appeared to have earned Barca another three points as he immediately equalised and then helped tee up Luis Suarez to put the hosts 2-1 in front. However, the excellent Aspas set up Maxi Gomez 20 minutes from time as Barca centre-back Samuel Umtiti suffered what could be a costly injury.

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First Published: 03 December, 2017 13:30 IST

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