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BBC Sport's Bob Ballard reports
Chelsea fightback halts Magpies
 real 14k

Magpies manager Bobby Robson
"We'll have to do much better than this next year"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 31 January, 2001, 23:10 GMT
No capital return for Newcastle
Christian Bassedas scores
Bassedas' celebrations were short-lived
Chelsea 3-1 Newcastle

Newcastle's woeful record in London continued as Chelsea came from behind to win at Stamford Bridge.

The Magpies have not won in the capital in more than three years, a run which now stretches 23 games.

But they must have thought that sequence was finally coming to an end when Christian Bassedas fired them into a first-half lead.

Chelsea, though, responded brilliantly.

A magnificent Gianfranco Zola strike restored parity before half time, then Gustavo Poyet swept home Chelsea's 62nd-minute winner.

  Key moments
23 mins: Bassedas fires Newcastle ahead with a neat far-post finish
30 mins: Le Saux's comeback is ended as the wing back limps off with another injury
37 mins: Chelsea level as Zola's shot flies into the top right-hand corner.
62 mins: Poyet sweeps home Hasselbaink's cross to put Chelsea in front
79 mins: Sub Gronkjaer crashes home Chelsea's third
Hard-working Newcastle have responded well to an injury crisis at the club, but this was an ultimately deserved win for the home side, who included Frank Leboeuf in their side.

With Marcel Desailly and John Terry out, the French international, whose proposed move to Monaco broke down last week, lined up in a defensive back three alongside Celestine Babayaro and Mario Melchiot.

But Leboeuf was found wanting midway through the first half when Kieron Dyer sold him a dummy before sending over a dangerous cross.

Shola Ameobi failed to connect, but the ball fell kindly for Bassedas to fire home into the far corner of Carlo Cudicini's net.

But Chelsea were quick to respond.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink headed just wide after a surging run and cross from the left by Graeme Le Saux, making his first start since October at wing-back after his injury problems.


There are many people who are sick of Gus! He not only scores against Newcastle. He scores many important goals and he is one of the best players I have played with
  Gianfranco Zola on Poyet
But Le Saux's injury jinx appeared to have struck again minutes later when he limped off shaking his head, to be replaced by Gronkjaer.

Chelsea's probing continued though and they deserved their equaliser eight minutes before half time.

Celestine Babayaro fed Zola and the Italian international cut inside before letting fly with an unstoppable right-foot shot from the edge of the penalty area.

More Zola skill teed Poyet up before the break, only for the Uruguayan to send his header way off target.
Mario Melchiot heads clear under pressure from Shola Amoebi
Melchiot heads clear under pressure from Amoebi

But Poyet made no mistake with his next opening, sweeping the ball past Shay Given after Hasselbaink's low cross had disected the defence.

Chelsea were well on top by now and, with Dennis Wise controlling the centre of the pitch, never looked like loosening their stranglehold on the game.

Instead, they tightened it.

Substitute Gonkjaer had already wasted one good opening but put the icing on the cake with a superb finish 11 minutes from time.


I'll have to kill that Poyet one day, he's the bane of my life! He did it last season when he knocked us out of the FA Cup in the semi-final, he scored with a header when we lost 1-0 at St James' Park and he's done it again tonight. I'll have to remember not to speak Spanish to him.
  Bobby Robson, Newcastle manager
When Newcastle failed to clear a corner, the ball ricocheted off Melchiot to Gronkjaer asnd the Dane made no mistake with a powerful left-foot volley.

With little more than 10 minutes left, there was little hope of a Newcastle comeback and their 1997 win at Crystal Palace remains their last victorious capital visit.


Chelsea: Cudicini, Ferrer, Babayaro, Leboeuf, Melchiot, Poyet, Wise, Le Saux, Dalla Bona, Zola, Hasselbaink. Subs: de Goey, Jokanovic, Stanic, Gudjohnsen, Gronkjaer.

Newcastle: Given, Barton, Quinn, Goma, Hughes, Solano, Acuna, Bassedas, Speed, Dyer, Ameobi. Subs: Marcelino, Griffin, Cordone, Lua-Lua, Karelse.

Referee: M Halsey (Welwyn Garden City).

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See also:

20 Jan 01 |  Eng Prem
Tireless Magpies steal spoils
13 Jan 01 |  Eng Prem
Newcastle sink spirited Coventry
22 Jan 01 |  Newcastle United
Dyer injury fears allayed
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