(Reuters) – Skilful finishes from Pedro and Willian earned Chelsea a 2-1 win over battling Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday, keeping the London side safely in the top four.
A pinpoint lofted pass from David Luiz in the ninth minute found Pedro and the Spain forward deftly chipped the ball over Martin Dubravka into the net.
Despite Chelsea’s overwhelming possession, Newcastle enjoyed a couple of chances on the counter late in the first half and Ciaran Clark equalised from a corner in the 40th minute, squeezing his header inside Kepa Arrizabalaga’s right post.
Chelsea, though often frustrated by a massed Newcastle defence, found a way through in the 57th minute when Eden Hazard forced his way down the middle and laid off the ball to Willian who curled an exquisite shot into the top corner of Dubravka’s goal.
Newcastle, struggling in the relegation zone, lacked midfield quality, but made up for that in ambition. Salomon Rondon, Ayoze Perez and Christian Atsu all had chances on the break but could not find an equaliser for former Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez.
(Reporting by Clare Lovell; editing by Clare Fallon)