Drogba fires Chelsea | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, August 15, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, August 15, 2009

Barclays English Premier League

Drogba fires Chelsea

English season kicks off boisterously

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba (R) celebrates scoring the equalising goal from a freekick against Hull City during their Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.Photo: AFP

Didier Drogba's injury-time goal - his second of the match - ensured Carlo Ancelotti enjoyed a winning start to his new life in the Premier League as Chelsea narrowly beat Hull City 2-1 here on Saturday.
Chelsea manager Ancelotti was heading for an opening day disappointment with Hull hanging on for a point after Stephen Hunt's 28th minute goal had been cancelled out by Drogba's 37th minute equaliser.
But Drogba claimed all three points with a superb chip from the narrowest of angles to secure three points for the hosts at Stamford Bridge.
The frantic ending was at odds with the atmosphere that greeted Ancelotti at the start of the game.
An air of expectation at Stamford Bridge had been reinforced by last weekend's Community Shield victory over Manchester United at Wembley and, with one piece of silverware already under his belt, Ancelotti settled back in his new home dug-out in anticipation of a debut Premier League win.
Chelsea started the stronger, a slick opening move inside the first minute that involved an exchange of passes between Michael Essien and Jose Bosingwa on the right flank creating an opening that Essien exploited before delivering a precise cross towards Drogba.
Positioned in front of goal, just eight yards out, the striker should have claimed the honour of scoring the first goal of the new campaign but wasted the excellent opportunity by firing wide.
The ease with which Chelsea had unpicked Hull's defences suggested another chance would arise sooner rather than later and sounded an ominous warning for the visitors, who have already been earmarked as favourites to go down.
Phil Brown's side endured a miserable finish last season and avoided relegation only on the back of an extraordinary set of results before Christmas that included victories at Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
But the way they responded following Drogba's early miss suggested they still have the capacity to shock.
After finally settling, the visitors' packed midfield and organised backline restricted Chelsea to a series of half chances while forcing Chelsea onto the backfoot with a series of sharp counter-attacks.
One such attack forced a corner that was only half cleared and it took an excellent reaction save by Petr Cech to keep out Hull midfielder George Boateng's low drive with his right boot.
Ancelotti's preference for a narrow diamond in midfield gave Hull space to exploit from the flanks with Hunt and Boateng linking particularly effectively down the City left.
And the chinks in Chelsea's defence were fully exposed when, after another swift break, Boateng's shot cannoned off John Obi Mikel's knee and into the path of Hunt, who finished comfortably from close range.
Hull were well worth their lead, but Chelsea - and Drogba especially - were finally spurred into action by the shock of falling behind
And the Ivory Coast striker was given the chance to make amends for his earlier miss in the 28th minute when Seyi Olofinjana fouled Mikel outside his own penalty area and Drogba delivered a superb, dipping free-kick beyond Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill.
From that moment on, Hull were forced into survival mode with Chelsea dominating possession.
It helped Hull's cause that Chelsea were in wasteful mood, never more so than when Nicolas Anelka tamely shot straight at Myhill just seconds after the restart, a miss that was as glaring as Drogba's had been at the start.
Myhill repeatedly dealt with anything Chelsea threw at him in the second period, including an outstanding save to deny Drogba.
And, worryingly for Ancelotti, as time wore on, his side ran out of ideas far too quickly for a side with title ambitions until Drogba conjured a final piece of magic.

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