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Drogba breaks Hull hearts

sports Updated: Aug 16, 2009 02:21 IST

Hindustan Times
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Didier Drogba struck in stoppage time as Chelsea marked Carlo Ancelotti's first Premier League match in charge with a 2-1 victory over Hull City on Saturday.

The Ivorian produced a dipping free kick nine minutes after Stephen Hunt gave Hull a shock 28th-minute lead and supplied a knockout blow at the death on the opening day of the season at Stamford Bridge.

Big spending Manchester City paraded their expensive signings at Blackburn Rovers with Emmanuel Adebayor capping his debut with a goal after just three minutes in his club's 2-0 victory.

Burnley's top flight return after 33 years went flat as they went down 2-0 at Stoke City while fellow new boys Wolverhampton Wanderers also lost 2-0 at home to West Ham United. Darren Bent scored on his debut to give Sunderland a 1-0 win at Bolton Wanderers while there were away wins for Wigan Athletic at Aston Villa and Fulham at troubled Portsmouth. An opening day fixture against Hull looked like a comfortable introduction to English club football for Ancelotti but he was given an early taste of what to expect.

For much of the first half his preferred diamond formation in midfield lacked sparkle and after a shaky start, in which Drogba should have scored in the opening minute, Hull more than matched Chelsea.

Hull's new signing Stephen Hunt, booed throughout by Chelsea fans because of a tackle that left goalkeeper Petr Cech with a fractured skull in 2006 when the Irishman played for Reading, answered his baiters after 28 minutes. Ancelotti tinkered at halftime, replacing Mikel with the more forceful Michael Ballack and the hosts duly pummelled Hull City for most of the second period.

However, it looked like being a frustrating day until the 31-year-old Drogba proved how valuable he will be if Ancelotti is to break United's domination of the league.

Two minutes into stoppage time, he took possession of the ball on the left hand edge of the penalty area and from a seemingly impossible angle lofted the ball over Myhill.