Chelsea strength­ens grip on fou h place by beat­ing New­cas­tle

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

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.”

Photo: AP

New­cas­tle United goal­keeper Martin Dubravka saves a ball dur­ing the EPL match be­tween Chelsea and New­cas­tle United in Lon­don on Satur­day.

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