Chelsea stays perfect in EPL with 2-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers
LONDON (AP) — Eden Hazard converted a second-half penalty to keep Chelsea's perfect home record intact with a 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League on Saturday.
Hazard was fouled by Eduardo Vargas and took the spot kick himself in the 76th minute at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea provisionally moved nine points clear of main title rival Manchester City ahead of its derby against Manchester United on Sunday.
Oscar put Chelsea ahead with a sublime finish in the 32nd minute after being set up by Cesc Fabregas, but QPR threatened to steal a point when Charlie Austin equalized with a back-heel in the 62nd.
Chelsea tops the table with 26 points from 10 games, four ahead of second-place Southampton.
Despite the win, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was far from happy with his performance of his team — or from the home crowd.
"My team didn't play well, or well enough, or so well as I was expecting," Mourinho said. "We had periods of good football, not consistently. I was expecting more."
He also lamented the silent atmosphere at Stamford Bridge, saying the crowd should provide more vocal support.
"I took 30 minutes to understand that the stadium was not empty," Mourinho said. "When we scored was when I realized 'Woah, the stadium is full. Good'."
The opening goal was worth cheering, too, as Fabregas laid the ball off to Oscar in the area and the Brazilian curled the ball with the outside of his boot across goal and inside the far post.
Striker Diego Costa returned following a four-game absence with his problematic hamstrings but was kept relatively quiet as Chelsea failed to build on its lead. Instead, QPR equalized on a counterattack. Thibaut Courtois palmed away a shot from Vargas. ' shot from the right away, and Leroy Fer mis-hit a volley from the edge of the area, but Austin re-directed it in with his heel.
But Vargas clumsily barged Hazard over as the Belgian charged into the box, and the playmaker sent Robert Green the wrong way from the spot to score the winner.