For about 75 minutes, Chelsea’s visit to Newcastle United was as dull as could be. Then things really heated up over the last quarter of an hour — especially for U.S. international DeAndre Yedlin.
Yedlin provided the assist that tied the game in the 83rd minute, but his own goal in the 87th ultimately sunk Newcastle and allowed Chelsea to win 2-1, the Blues’ first win at St. James’ Park in nearly seven years.
Newcastle set up in a defensive shell, hoping to limit the damage of the more talented visitors. Yedlin in particular had a steep challenge at right back trying to contain superstar Eden Hazard and fullback Marcos Alonso, who loves to bomb forward down the left flank.
Alonso drew a penalty in the 76th minute when he blew past Fabian Schär, forcing the Newcastle defender to scissor-tackle him from behind in the box. Hazard buried the ensuing penalty to give Chelsea its breakthrough.
It took the Magpies less than 10 minutes to equalize. Yedlin won a ball in the air down the right side and whipped in a cross that Newcastle striker Joselu buzzed off his head and into the back of the net:
There was a shout of controversy from Chelsea, as it appeared Yedlin elbowed Olivier Giroud in the face in the process of winning the ball. But no call was given and the goal stood.
Yedlin and Newcastle’s happiness turned to heartbreak shortly after, when Alonso fired a shot across the penalty area that appeared to be going wide before Yedlin’s reflexes betrayed him and he nudged the ball into his own net:
Newcastle has a solitary point through three Premier League fixtures so far this season, a scoreless draw at Cardiff City last weekend. The other two games have been against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, however, so the schedule has been tough. Yedlin himself escaped what could have been a serious injury in the opener against Spurs.
Chelsea, meanwhile, now sits joint-top of the table with Liverpool and Watford, trailing Liverpool only on goal difference. The Blues have varied from impressive to simply resilient thus far under new manager Maurizio Sarri.
On Sunday, luck played the determining factor — good luck for Chelsea, and bad luck for one of the USMNT’s best players.
More soccer on Yahoo Sports:
• USMNT’s Brooks scores for Wolfsburg in Bundesliga opener
• Watch: Man City held at Wolves thanks to blatant handball goal
• Atlanta United’s Martinez sets MLS single-season goal record
• Bayern Munich looks set to run away in Germany once again