English Premiership

Mourinho makes winning return

2013-08-18 19:12
Jose Mourinho (AP Photo)

London - Jose Mourinho made a winning return as Chelsea manager with a 2-0 success at home to promoted Hull City in the club's opening Premier League game on Sunday.

Back at Stamford Bridge after spells at Inter Milan and Real Madrid, Mourinho saw his side prevail through early goals from Oscar and Frank Lampard on a warm, sunny afternoon in west London.

The Europa League champions looked on course for a handsome win after scoring twice in the first 25 minutes, but they took their foot off the pedal thereafter, perhaps with a view to Wednesday's visit of Aston Villa.

Mourinho picked Fernando Torres ahead of Romelu Lukaku up front, with captain John Terry selected at centre-back and returning loanee Kevin De Bruyne preferred to Juan Mata in attacking midfield.

Goalkeeper Allan McGregor was among five debutants for Hull and he was quickly involved, clumsily clattering Torres but then plunging to his right to repel Lampard's subsequent penalty in the sixth minute.

It was a temporary reprieve, however, as seven minutes later Oscar put Chelsea ahead by poking the ball beneath McGregor from De Bruyne's pass.

Lampard got on the score-sheet in the 25th minute with a dipping 30-yard free-kick that deceived McGregor, who had to save from Branislav Ivanovic in first-half injury time.

That opportunity yielded the clearest demonstration of goal-line technology of the opening weekend, with Hawk-Eye replays proving that McGregor had clawed Ivanovic's header away from right on the line.

Hull manager Steve Bruce introduced Jake Livermore and on-loan Tom Huddlestone -- both of whom arrived from Tottenham Hotspur this week -- in the second half, while Mourinho sent on new signing Andre Schuerrle.

Hull centre-back Curtis Davies headed straight at Petr Cech and Schuerrle chipped narrowly over the bar, before Mourinho handed a league debut to another new signing, Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel.

Earlier, new Tottenham signing Roberto Soldado proved there is life without Gareth Bale by giving his side a 1-0 win at promoted Crystal Palace.

Bale, strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid, was absent with a foot injury, but a 50th-minute penalty from 26 million ($40.4 million, 30.4 million euros) club record signing Soldado meant Spurs did not miss him.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas handed league debuts to Soldado, Paulinho and Nacer Chadli at Selhurst Park, while Etienne Capoue made his Spurs bow as a second-half substitute.

The decisive goal arrived five minutes into the second half, with Soldado adroitly sending goalkeeper Julian Speroni the wrong way from 12 yards after Dean Moxey blocked Aaron Lennon's cross with a flailing hand.

"It's very important to open with a win. (Crystal Palace manager) Ian Holloway really puts his team together very well. They were very narrow and there was some unpredictability," said Villas-Boas.

"We should have put the game to bed, but I'm generally very pleased to come to a difficult ground and get the three points."

Defending champions Manchester United moved to the top of the fledgling standings with a 4-1 win at Swansea City on Saturday's opening day, in what was David Moyes' first league game as manager.

Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger apologised to the club's fans after a 3-1 loss at home to Villa.

Manchester City, champions in 2012, begin their campaign at home to Newcastle United on Monday.


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