Football: Chelsea survive 60m wonder goal to stretch lead

LONDON (REUTERS/AFP) - Leaders Chelsea conceded one of the great Premier League goals but still had too much for Stoke City as they consolidated top spot with a 2-1 home victory on Saturday.

Eden Hazard's 39th-minute penalty rewarded the home side for almost complete domination but they went in at halftime level after Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam equalised out of the blue with a spectacular 60m shot.

With his side trailing 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, Adam illuminated a drab evening in west London with an audacious bolt from the blue in the 44th minute.

Taking possession well inside his own half, the Scotland international looked up to see Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had strayed off his line.

Even so, it initially seemed nothing more than a reckless gamble when Adam shaped to shoot, yet his incredible drive from 60m out arrowed over Courtois, who could only help the ball into the net as he back-pedalled in a futile attempt to prevent the wonder-goal.

A terrible mistake by Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic allowed Loic Remy to roll in Chelsea's winner after 62 minutes.

Victory stretched Chelsea's lead to seven points with eight matches left after Arsenal and Manchester United had earlier moved above champions Manchester City with victories.

It was not all good news, though, for Chelsea as their top scorer Diego Costa limped off with a hamstring injury shortly after coming on as a halftime substitute.

Adam’s moment of magic brought back memories of David Beckham’s famous lob from the halfway line against Wimbledon in 1996, a goal widely regarded as one of the best in the Premier League’s 23-year history.

The stunning strike also earned comparisons with Manchester United star Wayne Rooney’s gem against West Ham last season, Xabi Alonso’s goal from inside his own half for Liverpool against Newcastle in 2006 and Maynor Figueroa’s goal from the halfway line for Wigan against Stoke in 2009.

Said Adam after the match: “It’s a great goal to score. I saw the ‘keeper off his line, tried an effort and it went in.

“I always have a look at the goalkeeper’s position throughout a match because these balls move so much.

“When you have that much space and time it’s nice to do something like that. I was just disappointed the keeper got a hand on it!

“It was great to get back in the game but the biggest thing is we lost the match.”