London: Moussa Sissoko scored twice on his home debut to help relegation-worried Newcastle beat third-placed Chelsea 3-2 in the English Premier League on Saturday. The France midfielder, who joined the Magpies on Jan. 24, scored in the 68th minute to level the game at 2-2 and then blasted home a brilliant winner to further boost Newcastle's hope of avoiding the drop.
The defeat ended a week to forget for Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez after drawing against relegation-threatened Reading in the league on Wednesday and being held by third-tier club Brentford in the FA Cup on Sunday. Chelsea looked on their way to a first victory in four attempts in all competitions. Frank Lampard canceled out Jonas Gutierrez's first-half opener by scoring his 10th Premier League goal of the season for the 10th successive season and Juan Mata curled home a superb 61st-minute effort.
But a rejuvenated Newcastle refused to accept defeat and Sissoko snatched a dramatic win which was secured when Steven Taylor blocked Lampard's goal-bound effort deep into injury-time. It was meant to be striker Demba Ba's day as he returned to St James' Park. But having arrived to a less than harmonious welcome, with some Newcastle fans accusing him of chasing the money by heading for Stamford Bridge last month, he departed prematurely with a bleeding nose after just 42 minutes.
However, the confidence gained in Newcastle's 2-1 victory at Aston Villa on Tuesday - with new boys Mathieu Debuchy, Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran in the team - resurfaced against Chelsea.
Papiss Cisse saw a fifth-minute effort blocked by defender Gary Cahill, but then failed to test returning goalkeeper Petr Cech adequately when played in by Sissoko after 20 minutes. Yohan Cabaye and full-back Davide Santon both sent volleys just off target in an end-to-end contest in which the Magpies gave as good as they got.
However, Chelsea might have gone in front twice, Lampard blasting high over from Ashley Cole's 15th-minute pull-back, and then Ba forcing a 32nd-minute save from Tim Krul before heading the rebound inches wide under pressure from Fabricio Coloccini, whose boot caused the damage which forced Ba's exit.
Newcastle went ahead when Santon's cross allowed Gutierrez to glance a deft header across Cech and into the bottom corner in the 41st. Chelsea equalised in the 55th when Lampard controlled Cole's pass on his chest, took another touch and then lashed a dipping shot past the helpless Krul.
Six minutes later, Torres laid the ball back to Mata, who curled a superb left-foot shot over Krul and into the top corner to put Chelsea ahead. Newcastle dragged themselves back into it in the 68th when, after Cech had parried Gouffran's effort, Sissoko steered the rebound home.
Cech had to be at his best to palm away Sissoko's searing drive after he had run away from Cole down the right, and the former Toulouse midfielder tore the Blues open once again seven minutes from time before cutting inside Cahill, only to toe-poke his effort straight at Cech. But the Czech Republic international could not deny the Frenchman in the final minutes when he exchanged passes with Santon before drilling a sweet drive past Cech to win it.
Everton's pursuit of the fourth Champions League spot was held up by a 3-3 draw against Aston Villa, which missed a chance to climb out of the relegation zone. Wigan also remains in the danger spots with Villa, although ahead of goal difference, after being held to a 2-2 draw by Southampton.
Reading, however, moved two points clear of the bottom three by beating Sunderland 2-1, while West Ham climbed to 10th with a 1-0 victory over Swansea.