Drogba double gives Chelsea opening victory

Drogba celebrates his dramatic late winner for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Didier Drogba scored twice as Chelsea came from behind to beat Hull City 2-1 in the opening match of the English Premier League season.

Chelsea were stunned by a goal by Hull’s new signing Stephen Hunt in the 28th minute, but Drogba equalized with a thumping free kick seven minutes before the interval. Hull, who made a habit of upsetting leading Premier League teams on their travels in their first season in the top-flight, looked set to claim a point until Drogba struck the killer blow in injury time. Played in down the left by Deco, the Ivory Coast striker was pushed wide but sent an exquisite chip over the flailing arms of Boaz Myhill in the Hull goal to give coach Carlo Ancelotti a winning start. Drogba told Sky Sports after the match that his goal owed much too good fortune. “It was a cross,” he admitted. “The intention was always good, we had a difficult second half and we could have scored a lot of goals today.”

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Hull could feel hard done by, but the home side wasted several chances to claim a clear-cut victory with Drogba a culprit in the very first minute. They were made to pay as Irish international Hunt, signed in midweek from second-flight Reading, seized on a loose ball in the Chelsea penalty area after George Boateng’s shot had been deflected into his path by John Obi Mikel. Chelsea’s equalizer came ten minutes later when Seyi Olofinjana fouled Mikel just outside the area and Drogba’s superbly struck free kick dipped late to beat Myhill. Hull looked dangerous from set pieces, but Chelsea had several clear chances in open play after the break, with Myhill using his legs to block Nicolas Anelka after he had been played in by Drogba.

Anelka returned the compliment but Drogba was again denied and wasted a better chance soon afterwards from the right side of the area. Hull’s last trip to Stamford Bridge had secured a draw in February, which led to Luiz Felipe Scolari having his Chelsea reign cut short, and they looked good for a point until Drogba finally made amends with his late winner.