The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
French duo shine as Newcastle beats Chelsea 2-0 in Premier League
NEWCASTLE, England - French duo Yoan Gouffran and Loic Remy scored second-half goals as Newcastle ended Chelsea's nine-match unbeaten run in all competitions with a 2-0 victory in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Frenchmen combined to hand Jose Mourinho's team its first defeat since mid-September. The Blues, who also missed the opportunity to move provisionally top of the standings, have 20 points from 10 matches.
After a long spell of Chelsea dominance, Gouffran opened the scoring in the 64th minute with a header from Yohan Cabaye's superb free kick. Remy sealed Newcastle's win from close range from Vurnon Anita's cross in the 89th.
"We worked hard today to win this game. I am very happy because the whole team worked hard. We were strong at the back and in attack as well," said Remy, who joined Newcastle on loan from Queens Park Rangers during the summer.
"I have a very good time at Newcastle, all the supporters have been very sociable with me and I had a good welcome. I will try to do my best for the club. I am very happy."
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho fielded a strong team at St James' Park, with Petr Cech, Ashley Cole, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Ramires, Frank Lampard, Oscar, Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres returning to the starting XI following the Blues' victory over Arsenal in the League Cup earlier this week.
Amid heavy rain and slippery conditions, Newcastle gave the home fans very little to cheer as Chelsea monopolized the ball and created several chances in the first half.
Terry hit the bar with a looping header in the 11th minute before Newcastle keeper Tim Krul intervened to prevent Hazard from opening the scoring after a one-two with Mata. Krul had to make another save in the 22nd minute when he blocked Ivanovic's effort from Torres's pass.
Newcastle had little to offer in response as the rain started to hamper the quality of the play, but Chelsea continued to apply pressure after the break.
Newcastle should have scored against the run of the play in the 59th minute when Mathieu Debuchy released Moussa Sissoko on the right, only for the French midfielder to fire an angled shot just inches wide at the far post.
The move helped Newcastle come to life as Cabaye crossed the ball for Shola Ameobi, who headed the ball to Loic Remy, with the striker seeing his shot well blocked by Cech in the 64th minute.
Newcastle's tenacity finally paid off when Gouffran broke the deadlock with a diving header from Cabaye's curling free kick. Newcastle keeper Tim Krul prevented Chelsea from coming back in the game with a reflex save that denied Willian's shot in the 80th minute before Remy scored his sixth goal of the season with a clean finish.
"I think we deserved to lose," Mourniho said. "We had a couple of good chances to score the equalizer but they were in the game more than us, they fought more than us and they were much more committed than us. They were the best team on the pitch, if someone had to win, I think it was Newcastle not us."
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