Newcastle United, who made such a poor start to the season, won for the fourth match running when Spanish substitute Ayoze Perez scored 17 minutes from time to give them a 1-0 win over Liverpool in a drab Premier League match on Saturday.
Perez, who replaced the injured Papiss Cisse at halftime, smashed home from close range at St James’ Park after defender Alberto Moreno failed to clear a loose ball in the box.
Perez also scored the winner when Newcastle won 2-1 at Tottenham Hotspur last week and his goal on Saturday was the highlight of an otherwise low key game of few chances from either side that only came to life in the closing stages.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, who has been vilified by their fans for the team’s faltering performances, told BT Sport he was surprised to see a friendly message written on a banner and recalled the words of the late Magpies manager Bobby Robson.
“This is Newcastle,” he said. “You have to know there are real highs, and as Bobby Robson said, the highs are massive here and the lows are equally as low. He needed a tin hat at times, I’ve needed a tin hat at times but when the good times come, this is as good a city to be in as any.” It is certainly that at the moment for Pardew, whose side almost doubled their lead soon after scoring when Remy Cabella’s shot after a swift counter was saved by the outstretched leg of Simon Mignolet.
Although Liverpool had plenty of possession, they wasted most of it and Newcastle keeper Tim Krul was hardly troubled by an impotent Liverpool attack with just Mario Balotelli up front.
Balotelli almost missed the start of the second half after coming out late from the dressing room, and like most of his teammates, had an undistinguished game.
League leaders Chelsea were made to battle for a narrow 2-1 win over strugglers Queens Park Rangers at Stamford Bridge as they maintained their unbeaten start in the Premier League. The winner came from Eden Hazard who scored with a 75th minute penalty after Charlie Austin had pulled QPR level in the 62nd minute.
Oscar had put Chelsea ahead with a curling shot with the outside of his right foot in the first half.
Chelsea moved on to 26 points from 10 matches and stayed four points clear of second-placed Southampton, who won 1-0 at Hull City with Victor Wanyama crashing home a speculative 40-metre shot after three minutes as the Saints won for the 10th time in 11 matches in all competitions.
Arsenal left Burnley without a win in their first 10 games by beating them 3-0 at the Emirates with Alexis Sanchez scoring twice and Calum Chambers also finding the net to move the north Londoners above West Ham United into fourth place. West Ham, who slipped back to fifth, came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
Real Madrid turned up the heat on their La Liga title rivals when James Rodriguez scored twice, including a stunning volley, in a 4-0 win at Granada. Cristiano Ronaldo set the European champions on their way in the second minute at the Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium when he clipped home a Karim Benzema centre – the Portugal forward’s 17th goal in nine La Liga appearances this season.
Rodriguez made it 2-0 in the 31st minute when he crashed a superb, dipping volley into the top corner before Ronaldo’s clever backheel sent Benzema clear to make it 3-0 in the 54th. Granada squandered their few chances before Rodriguez followed up a scuffed Ronaldo effort to score the fourth four minutes from time as Real eased to an 11th win in a row in all competitions.
Amateur footballer banned
A Switzerland-based amateur footballer has been banned for 50 years after kicking a ball in the referee’s face and spraying him with water, the BBC Sport reported. Portugal Futebol Clube defender Ricardo Ferreira had earlier served a 45-game ban for assaulting opposition players. “I had expected one or two years maximum.
But 50 years? Football’s my life,” Ferreira, 28, said. The fourth-tier league’s lawyer Robert Breiter said: “We do not want such a player in our league.” Speaking to Swiss newspaper Blick (in German), Breiter continued: “Unfortunately we encounter such cases about once a year.” Ferreira had been an unused substitute in his team’s match against SC Worb in the Bern league when he attacked the referee after the final whistle.