NEWCASTLE, England (AP) - Premier League leader Chelsea slipped to its first defeat of the season by losing 2-1 at Newcastle on Saturday, with substitute Papiss Cisse scoring both of the home side’s goals in the second half.
Cisse scored in the 57th and 78th minutes before Newcastle had defender Steven Taylor sent off in the 81st for a second yellow card.
Substitute Didier Drogba reduced the deficit two minutes later by heading in Cesc Fabregas’ free kick but relentless pressure from Chelsea failed to deliver an equalizer.
The loss ended Chelsea’s 23-match unbeaten run in all competitions stretching back to April. Jose Mourinho’s team hadn’t lost in 21 games this season - 14 of them in the league - fuelling talk that the London club could go through the Premier League season undefeated to emulate the Arsenal team of 2003-04.
“I’m not obsessed with records and statistics, that’s not for me,” Mourinho said. “I want to win the league.
“My team lost the way I like to lose, which is to give everything and being unlucky. Only one team played to win.”
Second-place Manchester City can reduce the gap to Chelsea to three points by beating Everton later Saturday.
Chelsea was looking to set a new club record of 24 matches unbeaten by avoiding defeat at Newcastle but was sunk at a ground where it has now lost in three straight seasons. Mourinho hasn’t won in five trips to St. James’ Park.
In a dramatic finish, Newcastle had 21-year-old goalkeeper Jak Alnwick - who came on as a halftime substitute for his competitive debut following an injury to Rob Elliot - to thank for preserving its lead, saving superbly from Diego Costa and Filipe Luis in a nerve-wracking six minutes of injury time.
“I was a little bit nervous but it was slightly easier coming on at halftime because I didn’t have time to think about it too much,” said Alnwick, who is Newcastle’s third-choice keeper after the injured Tim Krul and Elliot. “It was a great experience for me.”
Cisse put Newcastle ahead just four minutes after coming on by tapping in from close range after Chelsea defender Gary Cahill failed to clear a cross from Sammy Ameobi.
The Senegal striker then doubled the lead by slotting home from just inside the area after Moussa Sissoko stumbled when through on goal and managed to poke the ball across to Cisse. Eden Hazard had struck a shot against the post at the other end barely a minute earlier
Taylor was dismissed for a studs-up tackle on substitute Andre Schuerrle, and Drogba scored almost immediately by getting in front of Alnwick to glance in Fabregas’ cross.
With frantic defending and Alnwick’s saves, Newcastle held on.
“That was about character and discipline against probably best team in Europe at the moment,” Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said. “We’re delighted to have given a little gee up to the Premier League - I’m sure Jose won’t agree.”
Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.
Click to Read More and View Comments
Click to Hide
Please read our comment policy before commenting.