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Saturday, 29 December, 2001, 16:59 GMT
Chelsea end Newcastle run
Eidur Gudjohnsen slides home Chelsea's first goal
Eidur Gudjohnsen slides home Chelsea's first goal
Newcastle United 1-2 Chelsea

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Eidur Gudjohnsen knocked Newcastle United off the Premiership summit and confirmed Chelsea's status as title dark horses with a vital victory.

Gudjohnsen's first-half double silenced the Toon Army and punctured the growing optimism at St James's Park after their recent surge to the top.

It was very important to beat the team at the top of the class and my players worked very hard
Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri
Alan Shearer was on target again to put Newcastle level.

But Gudjohnsen's second on the stroke of half-time was the crucial moment in a game high on endeavour but short on championship quality.

Chelsea were grateful to an outstanding performance from keeper Carlo Cudicini, but coach Claudio Ranieri will be delighted with the resilience shown by his side after defeat at Arsenal.

Gudjohnsen signalled his intent inside the first two minutes when he escaped the attentions of Sylvain Distin, but the Frenchman recovered to clear.

Chelsea's recent revival has owed much to the outstanding form of goalkeeper Cudicini - and the Italian showed his class after only seven minutes.

Alan Shearer scores Newcastle's equaliser against Chelsea.
Shearer (partially hidden) heads home
Solano crossed and Craig Bellamy looked certain to score, but Cudicini pounced to block his header brilliantly.

Newcastle were being frustrated by Chelsea's well-organised rearguard, and the gifted Icelander Gudjohnsen almost took advantage of Robbie Elliott's mistake after 27 minutes, but shot inches wide.

  Key moments
35 mins: Eidur Gudjohnsen breaks to put Chelsea in front
37 mins: Alan Shearer heads home Newcastle's equaliser
45 mins: Gudjohnsen sidefoots Chelsea's winner on half-time

Gudjohnsen made it third time lucky - and made no mistake - 10 minutes before half-time when he raced clear of the Newcastle defence and slotted a composed finish past Shay Given.

But Newcastle cut short Chelsea's celebrations within two minutes, and it was the talismanic figure of Shearer who put them level.

John Terry conceded a foul on Kieron Dyer, and when Solano's free-kick curled into the area, Shearer rose in trademark fashion to head home.

Newcastle's hopes of using Shearer's goal as a springboard were dashed in the dying seconds of the first-half when Gudjohnsen again delivered a delightful counter-punch.

I could just smell it wasn't going to be our day sadly
Newcastle manager Bobby Robson
Elliott missed a header to allow Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to pick out Gudjohnsen with a perfect cross to slide home from inside the six-yard box.

Newcastle turned up the heat after the interval, but Gary Speed was horribly off target after 57 minutes when Cudicini could only punch out Aaron Hughes' cross.

Home skipper Shearer then almost extended Chelsea's lead in bizarre fashion when he headed a Hasselbaink corner against his own post.

But Cudicini was emerging as Chelsea's hero, making two more outstanding saves from Shearer as Newcastle attempted to rescue a point.

Newcastle: Given, Hughes, O'Brien, Distin, Elliott (Bernard 63), Solano (Lua-Lua 73), Dyer, Speed, Robert, Shearer, Bellamy.

Subs Not Used: Harper, Lee, Dabizas.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Gallas, Terry, Babayaro, Stanic (Jokanovic 84), Lampard, Dalla Bona, Le Saux, Hasselbaink (Zola 89), Gudjohnsen (Forssell 70).

Subs Not Used: de Goey, Keenan.

Booked: Stanic, Terry, Babayaro.

Att: 52,123

Referee: S Bennett (Kent)

BBC Sport's Ian Brown
"Another significant scalp for Chelsea"
Chelsea's Eidur Gudjohnsen
"We showed some great character today"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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