Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chelsea 2-0 Hull City Tigers: Oscar & Lampard strike to ensure Mourinho win



The Brazilian opened the scoring on 13 minutes after the Blues' all-time top scorer had seen a penalty saved by Allan McGregor, but he atoned with a stunning free kick

Oscar and Frank Lampard scored to ensure a happy return to Stamford Bridge for Jose Mourinho as Chelsea got their season off to a winning start against Hull City Tigers.

Lampard saw a penalty saved by debutant Allan McGregor on six minutes, but the Brazilian playmaker broke the deadlock seven minutes later after a fine pass from Kevin De Bruyne.

Chelsea's all-time top scorer then atoned for his earlier miss by rifling a stunning 30-yard free kick into the top corner and, though Hull rallied after the break, they never seriously threatened a

comeback.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mourinho handed starts to two stalwarts of his first spell at the club, with John Terry and Lampard returning at centre-back and in central midfield respectively.

Steve Bruce, meanwhile, abandoned the 3-5-2 formation that served his side so well in Championship last season in order to deploy a 4-3-3 set-up with loanee striker Danny Graham leading the line.

The build-up to Sunday's game had inevitably focused on Mourinho's return to Chelsea, and the Portuguese's second stint in charge appeared set for a dream start when Hull goalkeeper McGregor needlessly wandered to the edge of his box to fell Fernando Torres with five minutes gone and concede a penalty.

But the Scot would earn himself an instant reprieve, diving low to his right to emphatically pound away Lampard's well-hit spot kick and keep the scores level.

However, it would take just under seven minutes for Chelsea to finally grab the breakthrough, when a fine exchange allowed De Bruyne to work space and the Belgian picked out a slide-rule pass that Oscar poked under McGregor's despairing dive.

Lampard went close with a drive inside the box in the immediate aftermath of the first goal, but he eventually also got on the scoresheet midway through the first half courtesy of a ferocious 30-yard free kick that dipped over the visiting goalkeeper.

The second was little more than Chelsea had deserved, and they began to play with a degree of comfort rarely seen in a season-opening fixture after carving out a two-goal advantage.

They even almost added a third just before half-time only for McGregor to somehow prevent a Branislav Ivanovic header from crossing the line - a fact confirmed by the use of the Premier League's new goal-line technology.

The second half started at a leisurely pace, with Chelsea happy to spend the opening 15 minutes keeping possession and stamping out any Hull hopes of a meaningful counterattack with some ruthless defending.

This prompted visiting manager Bruce to make a double substitution, with close-season acquisitions Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone replacing David Meyler and Graham as Hull desperately searched for a way back into the match.

Both teams had credible penalty shouts soon after - with Robbie Brady bundling Torres over in the box before Lampard's arm appeared to block a Hull shot - but referee Jon Moss waved both claims away.

A chipped effort from substitute Andre Schurrle was the closest either side came to scoring again in the final moments, with Chelsea squeezing all life out of a match that ended in comfortable circumstances.