By Owolabi Abiola/First Zeal Media
Late own goal gives Chelsea victory over Newcastle
• Two for Mitrovic as Fulham hit four to beat Burnley
Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea maintained their winning start to the Premier League season with victory over Newcastle United in a match featuring three goals in 11 second-half minutes.
Eden Hazard, on his first start this season for the Blues, netted from the penalty spot in the 76th minute before substitute Joselu levelled with a brilliant header at St James’ Park.
But, having been resolute in defence for the majority of the game, Newcastle failed to clear their lines and Marcos Alonso’s shot took a deflection off DeAndre Yedlin.
Chelsea dominated the game with 82% possession and Pedro, Cesar Azpilicueta and Alvaro Morata missed chances.
Antonio Rudiger rattled the crossbar in the 70th minute but Newcastle contained the pressure until Fabian Schar tripped Alonso in the box.
Chelsea’s third win in as many matches moved them level on points with Liverpool and Watford at the top of the table, while Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle have only one point.
Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic praised his team’s “brave” performance as Fulham secured their first victory since returning to the Premier League in an eventful match against Burnley.
Aleksandar Mitrovic scored twice for the hosts as they recovered from losing their first two matches to leave their opponents without a league win this season.
“We scored four goals and showed we could be a brave, attacking team,” Jokanovic said. “It’s an important step for us and we are satisfied with many things.”
Jean Michael Seri, signed from Nice in July, gave Jokanovic’s men the perfect start by firing a wonderful 25-yard strike into the top-right corner of Joe Hart’s goal after just four minutes.
Burnley drew level in the 10th minute as Jeff Hendrick converted at the second attempt after good work from Aaron Lennon down the right flank, but a cleverly worked corner allowed Mitrovic to head the home side back in front on 36 minutes, as Tom Cairney’s perfectly weighted cross from the edge of the area found the alert Serb.
Seeking another quick response, the Clarets were caught on the break two minutes later, as Mitrovic beat Stephen Ward in the air to glance beyond Hart – though the visitors were able to half their deficit before the break through James Tarkowski.
Mitrovic missed numerous chances to complete his hat-trick in a much quieter second half and agonisingly struck the post before Schurrle converted the rebound to add Fulham’s fourth with seven minutes remaining.
“We are improving, definitely. We know a huge job is ahead of us and we must keep going,” added Jokanovic.
“This is most competitive league in the world and this is not going to be an easy job for us.”