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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Hasselbaink ignites Chelsea

Hasselbaink ignites Chelsea

August 18, 2003 16:54 IST

Chelsea's amazing pre-season spending spree paid immediate dividends when they opened their league campaign with a superb 2-1 victory at Liverpool thanks to a late winner by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

With champions Manchester United thrashing Bolton 4-0 and Arsenal beating Everton 2-1 on Saturday, Chelsea needed a fast start to their season and delivered it in style before onlooking billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

Newcastle, third last season, drew 2-2 at Leeds United thanks to two Alan Shearer goals, while Manchester City thrashed 10-man Charlton Athletic 3-0 in Sunday's other matches.

Abramovich, who has spent more than 70 million pounds on new players since taking over Chelsea in July, leapt for joy in the director's box as his expensive team completed only their third win at Anfield since World War Two.

Hasselbaink, on as a second-half substitute, might not have played at all had Romanian striker Adrian Mutu received his international clearance in time.

But the Dutch striker signalled he will fight for his place amid all the new arrivals when he sped on to a through ball and beat Jerzy Dudek to score the winner after 87 minutes.

"It was a great start for us," Chelsea head coach Claudio Ranieri told Sky Sports television. "It was fantastic, Jimmy is a great champion. He is a strong man.

"It's a new Chelsea with a lot of new players but I saw our old character."

Eight minutes before Hasselbaink's winner Chelsea were fuming after the referee allowed Liverpool striker Michael Owen to re-take a missed penalty because Chelsea keeper Carlo Cudicini had stepped off his line.

Owen made the most of his second attempt, smashing it high into the net to make the score 1-1, cancelling out Argentine midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron's 25th-minute opener for Chelsea.


At Elland Road Shearer also scored late to give title aspirants Newcastle their draw against Leeds.

Shearer pounced after 88 minutes to avert a disappointing defeat for Bobby Robson's team.

The 33-year-old former England captain put Newcastle ahead from the penalty spot in the first half before Mark Viduka and the excellent Alan Smith gave Leeds a 2-1 advantage.

The draw was the least Newcastle deserved for a pulsating second-half display and made for a satisfactory end to the day for their two ex-Leeds players, Lee Bowyer and Jonathan Woodgate.

Goals by Frenchmen Nicolas Anelka and Antoine Sibierski and Chinese international Sun Jihai gave Manchester City their emphatic victory at Charlton Athletic.

South African defender Mark Fish was sent off in the second half for Charlton, who were without new Italian signing Paolo Di Canio because he is not yet match fit.

On Saturday Ryan Giggs scored twice as United thrashed Bolton 4-0 at Old Trafford. Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy had a penalty saved but later scored the fourth goal to set a new premier league record of scoring in nine successive games.

Arsenal won 2-1 against Everton despite having defender Sol Campbell sent off again, this time for a professional foul in the first half. Thierry Henry, with a penalty, and Robert Pires secured a gutsy victory for Arsene Wenger's team.

Bill Barclay
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