Chelsea – 2 Hull City – 0: Blues cruise thanks to Lampard, Oscar (Video)

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It was total domination by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side as newly promoted Hull City had no answer, falling 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Goals from Oscar and Frank Lampard made the difference on the scoresheet, but it was a team showing for Chelsea who controlled the pace and dictated attack after attack.

Brilliant passing and buildup by Blue shirts up front caused the Hull City squad to tire quickly, leaving them gassed and unable to offer anything on the attack.

Early on Hull City keeper Allan McGregor conceded a silly penalty inside six minutes after coming out of goal to challenge Fernando Torres, catching the striker late on the face with his arm.  McGregor made amends though, as he saved Frank Lampard’s spot kick.

Eden Hazard then had a brilliant chance with space in the box in the 10th minute but whiffed at his first attempt and drilled his second into a defender.

source: Getty ImagesOscar grabbed the lead for Chelsea three minutes later as Eden Hazard found Kevin De Bruyne who settled and expertly played the Brazilian through for the short tap-in. De Bruyne had a fantastic match, as the 22-year-old hardly put a foot wrong and found teammates in space all over the attacking half.

The Blues continued to threaten as McGregor was forced into a wonderful save on a rocket off the foot of Frank Lampard.  That right foot would surface again, as Lampard thundered in a sensational 35-yard swiveling free kick for Chelsea’s second score. Hull City finally managed their first good attack in the 42nd minute, which resulted in a long-range blast on goal by David Meyler that clocked John Terry in the chest at high speed.

Branislav Ivanovic launched a bullet of a header towards McGregor’s goal in first-half stoppage time, and with the naked eye it looks like an obvious goal, but the first test of the brand new goal-decision system proved its use.  The replays and use of the technology showed part of the ball still not over the line on a brilliant double-save by the Hull keeper, who parried it upwards before palming it out.

Chelsea had 18 goal-attempts to Hull City’s two at the half, and the second period was no different. Ivanovic made a run down the right side of the box in the 64th minute, and he went down on a challenge from Robert Brady, who was quite fortunate to not give away a penalty.

The substitute additions of Hull new boys Jake Livermore and Tom Huddlestone helped them gain a little more possession and a bit of a foothold into the match, but it was nowhere near enough.  Chelsea went to sleep somewhat in the final 15 minutes and it allowed Hull to work in the attacking half but they still hardly got a sniff on goal as they worked towards the goal.

It’s a wonderful start for Mourinho, who will be disappointed with anything but a championship this season.  The decisive win, coupled with those by Manchester United and Tottenham, will put lots of pressure on Manuel Pellegrini to get a result Monday against Newcastle.

Lineups

Chelsea: Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, John Terry; Ramires, Frank Lampard; Oscar, Kevin De Bruyne (Andre Schurrle, 67′), Eden Hazard; Fernando Torres (Romelu Lukaku, 75′).

Hull City: Allan McGregor; Maynor Figueroa, James Chester, Curtis Davies, Ahmed Elmohamady; David Meyler (Tom Huddlestone, 59′), Robert Koren, Robert Brady; Yannick Sagbo, Danny Graham (Jake Livermore, 59′), Sone Aluko.

Barcelona plan Cruyff tribute at club’s training center

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) One year after his death, Barcelona says it will name the future stadium at its training center after Dutch great Johan Cruyff.

The new stadium at Barcelona’s training center just outside the Catalan city will be called “Johan Cruyff Stadium” in honor of the club’s former player and coach.

Barcelona says in a statement that “the most emblematic building in the facility where future Barca players are coached is to be named after somebody who played such a central role in fostering youth talent at the club.”

Barcelona also says it will commission a “commemorative sculpture” of Cruyff, who died of lung cancer on March 24 last year at age 68. The statue will be placed at Barcelona’s main Camp Nou stadium.

Cruyff is largely credited with launching Barcelona’s era of trophy success, both as a player and a coach.

As a player, Cruyff joined Barcelona midseason in 1973 and led the middle-of-the-table team to its first national title in a decade.

He later returned as a coach and guided Barcelona to four consecutive Spanish leagues from 1991-94 and the club’s first European Cup in 1992.

“I think the tributes are very warming,” said Cruyff’s son, Jordi Cruyff. “It sort of changes the sadness that we might feel as family to lose a father, a husband and a grandfather. It changes to a certain kind of pride to understand that he left something behind.”

MLS Snapshot: Defense optional — Crew SC outlast Timbers, 3-2

AP Photo/Bryan Woolston
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The game in 100 words (or less): As far as teams who get out in the open field and score the lion’s share of their goals on the counter-attacking, there aren’t many MLS teams better than Columbus Crew SC and the Portland Timbers. The two sides met Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium, site of their MLS Cup 2015 clash, and lived up to their reputations. Of the five goals scored, two were notched on flat-out counters and two more came to pass through quick transitional movements. Portland (9 points) dropped their first points of the season, falling 3-2 to goals scored by Justin Meram, Ola Kamara and Niko Hansen, while Crew SC have back-to-back wins and find themselves level on points (7) with the New York Red Bulls with each side having played four games.

[ MORE: Saturday’s MLS (afternoon) roundup ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

4′ — Asprilla opens the scoring early on — 2017 Crew SC defending, same as 2016 Crew SC defending.

11′ — Meram fires home the rebound for 1-1 — One of Portland’s biggest weaknesses last season was their set-piece defending. Looks like not much has changed.

19′ — Higuain feeds Kamara for a 2-1 lead — The question mark that Portland will eventually have to answer is this: How much, if at all, have they improved defensively in the open field? Based on this Crew SC counter-attack, the answer might be “not much.”

45+3′ — Adi recovers to make it 2-2 — Everything Adi does these days (even the bad things, like this first touch) ends up being good.

84′ — Hansen cleans up at the back post for 3-2 — Jake Gleeson made a spectacular reaction save to deny Kamara his second goal of the game, but the rookie, making his MLS debut, was in the right place at the right time.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Wil Trapp

Goalscorers: Asprilla (4′), Meram (11′), Kamara (19′), Adi (45+3′), Hansen (84′)

Andorra’s 11-year, 58-game losing streak is over

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Rarely has a scoreless stalemate in front of the home fans tasted so sweet.

But 11 years of nothing but losing will do that to a team.

Andorra’s 0-0 draw with fellow minnow Faroe Islands in World Cup qualifying on Saturday ended its run of 58 competitive defeats.

It was the first point in qualifying for the Pyrenees mountain principality, population 80,000, since a scoreless draw with Finland in 2005.

Faroe Islands finished with 10 men after Joan Edmundsson was booked a second time with 15 minutes to play.

World Cup qualifiers: Dutch disaster persists; Greece hold Belgium

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s World Cup qualifying fixtures, as Groups A, B and H hit the halfway point in Europe…

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

Bulgaria 2-0 Netherlands

Spas Delev scored both Bulgarian goals (5th and 20th minutes) to secure all three points and send Danny Blind’s Netherlands side (7 points) into fourth place in Group A, six points back of leaders France and three back of second-place (qualifying playoffs) Sweden.

17-year-old Matthijs de Ligt was handed his international debut for the Dutch; he was ultimately at fault for both of Delev’s goals; he was subbed off at halftime (as was Georginio Wijnaldum).

Luxembourg 1-3 France

Olivier Giroud scored twice (28th and 77th minutes) for France, and Antoine Griezmann added the other (37th minute – penalty kick), as Les Bleus maintained their three-point lead in Group A. Kylian Mbappe, Monaco’s 18-year-old rising star, made his international debut in the 78th minute, when he replaced Dimitri Payet.

Portugal 3-0 Hungary

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged the 69th and 70th goals of his international career (36th and 65th minutes), as Portugal (12 points) kept pace with an unbeaten Switzerland side (15 points) which managed a 1-0 victory over Latvia to keep their 100-percent record intact. Andre Silva scored the opener (32nd minute) for Portugal, the 21-year-old Porto striker’s fifth goal in six international appearances.

Belgium 1-1 Greece

Romelu Lukaku‘s 89th-minute rescued a point for Group H leaders Belgium (13 points), but it did little to mask an otherwise uninspiring performance from Roberto Martinez’s side. Kostas Mitroglu put Greece ahead in the first minute of the second half, but Panagiotis Tachtsidis saw his second yellow of the game in the 65th minute, and that was the start of Greece’s unraveling. The draw was just enough to keep Greece (11 points) in second, ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose 5-0 thrashing of Gibraltar moved them to 10 points with a superior goal differential.

Elsewhere in UEFA’s World Cup qualifying

Group A

Sweden 4-0 Belarus

Group B

Switzerland 1-0 Latvia
Andorra 0-0 Faroe Islands

Group H

Bosnia-Herzegovina 5-0 Gibraltar
Cyprus 0-0 Estonia