They had to do it the hard way, falling behind to Keisuke Honda’s penalty before Shinji Kagawa made it two.
A goal before half time from Daniele de Rossi, an own goal early in the second period and a Mario Balotelli penalty put them ahead. Shinji Okazaki equalised for Japan but Sebastien Giovinco won it late on for the Azzurri.
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Since Guus Hiddink arrived at the helm, Chelsea have improved considerably after a tricky start to the campaign.
Newcastle United are staring down the barrel of relegation to the Championship for the second time in the past eight years.