Eden Hazard scored twice in a virtuoso performance to inspire Chelsea's 3-1 win over Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday. The defending champions are regaining their spot in the title chase after Hazard's second goal a "panenka" penalty in the 74th minute exemplified a display in which he tormented Newcastle's defence and had Stamford Bridge in raptures at times.
Chelsea had to fight back for a sixth win in its last seven league games after conceding a sloppy goal in the 12th minute, with Dwight Gayle tapping home after Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso gave the ball away and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois could only parry it out.
"Maybe it was a wake-up call," Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas said. "Maybe the game need it so we could accelerate on."
Hazard equalized in the 21st by meeting a loose ball with a shot into the ground and past goalkeeper Karl Darlow following a last-ditch clearance by Newcastle defender Florian Lejeune, and Chelsea took the lead through Alvaro Morata's far-post header from Victor Moses' cross.
Hazard was denied twice in one-on-one situations by Darlow before he was given the chance of a second goal when Moses was tripped by Matt Ritchie. He took it exquisitely, deceiving Darlow with a cheeky chip down the middle.
"The chip annoyed me a little bit, I'd be lying if I said it didn't," Darlow said.
Belgium forward Hazard was given a standing ovation when he was substituted minutes later.
Chelsea moved eight points behind leader Manchester City, which plays West Ham on Sunday in the 15th round of Premier League games.
"It's still a long way. We have to keep getting closer and closer and hope one day they slip up and we can put pressure on them," Fabregas said. "But they are there because they deserve to be."
(With AP Inputs)