• French midfielder makes sensational home debut
• Sissoko's speed left Chelsea unnerved
Moussa Sissoko had just made a sensational home debut for Newcastle United and Rafael Benítez faced sustained attack from cyber-space but, briefly, Jean-Paul Ndoumin assumed centre stage.
After an afternoon spent in the home dressing room and dugout serving as the interpreter tasked with imparting Alan Pardew's message to his latest French influx, Ndoumin enthusiastically joined in an impromptu lap of honour at the final whistle.
"When we ran through points I needed to make he was really good," said an amused Newcastle manager. "I think he's better than me; maybe I should retire. Afterwards he asked: 'Do you want me to do the post-match interviews?' and I said: 'No, that's my job.'
"I did actually ask the French boys if he was taking the piss at times because I saw a couple of them laughing at his translations. I don't know if he's expressing a bit more than what I'm saying but it seems to be working. We like him."
Rather than plotting a coup, Ndoumin had simply become caught up in the emotion of one of this season's stand-out games, a quite wonderful match which, by making a mockery of the notion that Newcastle might be relegated, left Benítez looking more vulnerable than ever.
Not that a dismal run of one win in six games means Chelsea are about to press the panic button and dismiss their interim manager. Instead, the indications are that Benítez will be given time to realise his conviction that a top–three finish remains attainable. More immediately the Spaniard has returned home to Merseyside to re-group for a couple of days while those Stamford Bridge players not involved in this week's internationals have also been granted time off.
Chelsea fans were overly harsh on Benítez as they vented considerable knee-jerk Saturday evening spleen via message boards and social media.
With Yohan Cabaye intelligence personified in central midfield, Steven Taylor impressive in central defence and the newly arrived Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran adding exhilarating pace to the equation, Newcastle were very good. So good, that they weathered a second-half spell when, inspired exquisitely by Juan Mata, Chelsea appeared irrepressible.
By then Jonás Gutiérrez's header from Davide Santon's excellent cross that confounded John Terry had given the slick passing Tynesiders a 41st-minute lead. Equally significantly, their former striker Demba Ba had his nose broken as, unintentionally but recklessly, Fabricio Coloccini caught him in the face with his boot in the area.
"It was a penalty and it should have been a red card," said Benítez before confirming that Ba, swiftly substituted, may require surgery to repair the damage.
Pardew's riposte would be Ramires's escape with a yellow card following a two-footed tackle on Gutiérrez but, later, Papiss Cissé, too, had reason to be grateful for refereeing leniency. The Newcastle striker was let off with a booking after concluding a verbal exchange by almost throttling Ashley Cole.
At that second-half juncture, Chelsea looked to have grabbed the game by the throat. Two superb shots from Frank Lampard and Mata eluded Tim Krul as, with Mata the catalyst, Benítez's players cruised. Or at least they did until Sissoko decided the time had come to use his blistering counterattacking pace to put the European Champions in their place.
First the 22-year-old, acquired for £1.8m from Toulouse where he had only six months left on his contract, beat Petr Cech on the rebound after Chelsea's goalkeeper parried a shot from the accelerating Gouffran. By subsequently skinning a clearly shocked Cole and later turning Terry, Sissoko further unnerved Chelsea. So much so that when Santon surged into the area and cut back the ball they proved powerless to prevent the France international's sidefooting home a 90th-minute winner.
"We didn't have the experience to stop their counterattacks," said Benítez as Pardew marvelled at the lack of competition for Sissoko's signature. "The game I first saw Moussa in was 16 months ago and I walked away that night wanting to get him there and then," he said. "He's a giant; a real force."
Not that Newcastle are a one-man show. "Chelsea's Oscar, Lampard and Mata they're fabulous, top players but we had players out there today who looked every bit as good," said Pardew whose side benefited enormously from the speed of Gouffran and Sissoko. "We were 2-1 down and up against it but pace is always an asset. We haven't had that threat on the break."
The presence of 14 French speakers in his squad has raised eyebrows yet, with Ndoumin beside him, this revolutionary mass importation policy suddenly does not seem quite such a high-stakes gamble.
Man of the match Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United)