Benitez unhappy with Coloccini challenge
Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez believes Newcastle skipper Fabricio Coloccini should have been sent off for breaking former team-mate Demba Ba's nose in a five-goal thriller at St James' Park that the home side won 3-2 at the death.
The beleaguered Spaniard pointed to Ba's premature departure on his return to Tyneside as the pivotal moment in a game which the Magpies won courtesy of Moussa Sissoko's last-gasp strike. Ba felt the full force of the Argentina international's boot in his face as the pair challenged for a 32nd-minute loose ball, which the striker headed inches wide with the score at 0-0.
Benitez, whose side has now not won in four games in all competitions, said: "It was a penalty and a red card for me, the incident. In the middle of the park, you just carry on and go back from a free-kick. In the penalty area, you go back, penalty and red card.
"It changed the game. We lost one player with a broken nose, we had one substitution and we had a great reaction in the second half, but it was not enough."
Benitez added: "We are doing a good job in terms of what you can see on the pitch. The team is doing well. The team has a very good team spirit and that is really positive, and I am confident that we will finish in the top three. I will do well."
Newcastle went in at the break leading by the only goal, Jonas Gutierrez's 41st-minute glancing header. However, the European champions returned in determined fashion and turned the game on its head inside six minutes early in the second half.
Frank Lampard blasted them level after 55 minutes and when Juan Mata curled home a second, the writing looked to be on the wall for the Magpies. However, Alan Pardew's men refused to accept their fate as January signing Moussa Sissoko, making his home debut, took it upon himself to clich all three points for Newcastle by scoring two goals - the winner in the 90th minute.
Asked if he had seen a better home debut, Pardew replied: "Not since I have been here. [Papiss] Cisse made an instant impact when he arrived, but our fans, who are an intelligent set of fans - these people love their football here.
"They told me last time [in the 2-1 home defeat by Reading] that they didn't like me, that my subs were all wrong - and they were probably right. But they know a good player when they see one. He didn't just give us the goals, he gave us a lot more than that.
"I remember seeing him at Toulouse about 14-16 months ago and there are only two players that I have seen that I was desperate to get here. One was [Yohan] Cabaye and one was Sissoko, and we have managed to do that."
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