SportsPulse: Martin Rogers believes that the group stage of the World Cup is full of drama, possible stories of Cinderella and star-studded confrontations. So much so that you will forget that the United States is not in it.

Eden Hazard celebrates after scoring his first goal against Newcastle. (Photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga, EPA-EFE)

LONDON (AP) – Eden Hazard scored twice in a virtuoso performance to inspire Chelsea 3-1 to beat Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday.

His second goal – a penalty "panenka" in the 74th minute – exemplified an exhibition in which he tormented the Newcastle defense and had Stamford Bridge in ecstasy at times.

Chelsea had to fight for a sixth win in their last seven league games after conceding a sloppy goal in the 12th minute, with Dwight Gayle playing at home after Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso gave the ball and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois He could only stop.

"Maybe it was a wake-up call," Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas said. "Maybe the game needs it to accelerate."

Hazard equalized in 21 on finding a loose ball with a shot to the floor and goalkeeper Karl Darlow after a last-minute clearance by Newcastle defender Florian Lejeune, and Chelsea took the lead through Alvaro's distant crossbar Morata from the cross of Victor Moses.

Hazard was twice denied in one-on-one situations by Darlow before he was given the chance of a second goal when Moses Ritchie knocked him down. . He took it exquisitely, fooling Darlow with a cheeky chip in the middle.

"The chip bothered me a little, I would be lying if I said it did not," Darlow said.

Belgium forward Hazard received a standing ovation when he was substituted minutes later.

Chelsea moved eight points behind leader Manchester City, who plays West Ham on Sunday in the 15th round of Premier League games.

"It's still a long way, we have to get closer and closer and hope that one day they fall and we can press them," said Fábregas. "But they are there because they deserve to be."

PHOTOS: The best of the Premier League season


Show bullets

Show subtitles