Chelsea 2-0 Hull City: Mourinho’s special occasion

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

Branislav Ivanovics header is blocked, goalline technology confirmed that the ball had not crossed the line. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty
Branislav Ivanovics header is blocked, goalline technology confirmed that the ball had not crossed the line. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty

Scorers: Chelsea - Oscar 13, Lampard (25 pen)

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.

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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's new manager Jose Mourinho. Picture: AP

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 long unbeaten home record in the English top flight, which now numbers 61 games.

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 next week, where Chelsea target Wayne Rooney will be the centre of attention – assuming he is still with the champions.

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 Rafael Benitez, the atmosphere was hostile. It was anything but yesterday.

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 which Hull struggled to handle.

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 as he clumsily attempted to punch the ball, conceding an obvious penalty.

Lampard saw his spot-kick saved, but it appeared only a matter of time before the visiting defence would be 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. But the second goal 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 to alert him that 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 at the start 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.

Huddlestone and Livermore gave them more of a midfield presence and Cech was forced into another save when Ahmed El Mohamady’s right-wing cross was met by Curtis Davies’ head.

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.

Mourinho thanked Chelsea’s fans for their devotion later but said: “I need my team to be supported and I need the fans to sing the players’ names. Enough with Mourinho now and come on Chelsea.

“It’s enough, I know they love me. Now it is my time to work for them and work for the team.”