Chelsea 2-0 Hull: Match Report

18 August 2013 06:31
Chelsea 2-0 Hull: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.

Winning return for Mourinho

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho celebrated his Stamford Bridge return with a comprehensive and incident-packed 2-0 victory over Barclays Premier League newcomers Hull.

Almost six years since leaving the Blues, the self-proclaimed Special One enjoyed a rapturous reception and a strong showing from his side on his homecoming.

It did not all go Chelsea's way as Frank Lampard saw a sixth-minute penalty saved by Allan McGregor and goal-line technology came into play when the Scotland goalkeeper saved a Branislav Ivanovic header in first-half stoppage-time, correctly ruling no goal had been scored.

Chelsea were already two goals up at that point, through Oscar and Lampard's stunning 30-yard free-kick, with the three points all but secure.

Hull put up more resistance in the second period to give reason for optimism, but at times it seemed like they were in a different league to their hosts.

For the newly promoted Tigers, it was always going to be difficult to end Mourinho's now 61-game unbeaten home record in the English top flight.

Chelsea had won 12 and drawn two of their previous 14 opening-day league games, while the Tigers' last away win in a season-opener was in 2002 at Exeter and in the fourth tier.

The Blues will have to be better against Aston Villa on Wednesday night and then at Old Trafford against defending champions Manchester United a week tomorrow, where Chelsea target Wayne Rooney will be the centre of attention.

It was a day Chelsea supporters have been waiting for since Mourinho's departure in September 2007.

The intervening years have brought success, but also chaos.

Under Mourinho's predecessor Rafael Benitez, the atmosphere was hostile. It was anything but today.

The return of the Portuguese even prompted notoriously shy owner Roman Abramovich to make a public utterance, just a few months after the 10th anniversary of his takeover, hoping for "many more years of success" in a 29-word statement on the cover of a special matchday programme.

Abramovich's millions helped Mourinho lead Chelsea to a first championship in 50 years in 2005, but now the task is to mould the existing team rather than spend lavishly, with the possible exception of Rooney.

Belgium forward Kevin de Bruyne has been a Chelsea player since January 2012 and finally made his competitive debut behind Fernando Torres, who was preferred up front to Romelu Lukaku.

After acknowledging the acclaim by blowing kisses, Mourinho set to work and so did his team, playing with a fluidity Hull struggled to cope with.

McGregor, one of five debutants in a Hull line-up which saw new signings Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore left on the bench, saved from Eden Hazard before felling Torres with a clumsy challenge which conceded a penalty.

Lampard saw his spot-kick saved, but it appeared only a matter of time before the visiting defence was breached.

Hazard received the ball on the left, cut inside and found De Bruyne, who fed the on-running Oscar and the Brazilian prodded underneath the advancing McGregor.

The Scot again denied Lampard, this time from the edge of the area, as Chelsea pressed forward relentlessly in search of a second.

It came after Torres was awarded a dubious free-kick 30 yards out, against James Chester.

Lampard's rapier-like strike dipped into the top corner past McGregor and Chelsea's record goalscorer wheeled away, racing towards the dugout and his manager.

Mourinho turned his back, though, focusing on what would happen next and leaving Lampard to celebrate with his team-mates.

Hull will have less difficult days than this in the top flight, but they did little to help themselves, giving possession away cheaply.

Lampard had another shot saved as half-time approached and, from a corner, Ivanovic had a header blocked on the line by McGregor.

There was no reaction from referee Jonathan Moss, whose watch did not buzz - it would alert him if the ball had crossed the line - and Hull were relieved to be only two down at the interval.

Chelsea were content to bide their time in the opening exchanges of the second period and home goalkeeper Petr Cech was required to make a save for the first time when Robert Koren shot straight at him.

The Tigers were fortunate not to concede a second penalty when Ivanovic was pushed over by Robbie Brady before Hull appealed in vain for handball when Yannick Sagbo's shot was driven at Lampard's chest.

The arrivals of Huddlestone and Livermore gave Hull more of a midfield presence and Cech was forced into another save when Ahmed El Mohamady's right-wing cross found Curtis Davies, whose header extended the goalkeeper.

Andre Schurrle and Lukaku replaced De Bruyne and Torres, respectively, as Mourinho sought a fresh impetus which never came.

Schurrle chipped over when played through by Ramires but Mourinho had to be content with victory by a two-goal margin.

Source: PA