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Match Report: Hull City 0-2 Chelsea
Hull fans arrived at the KC Stadium ahead of the early kick-off in chipper mood following the breaking news last night that the club had agreed a fee with Everton for striker Nikica Jelavic. On the pitch, the Tigers eased into the fourth-round of the FA Cup with a convincing 2-0 victory against Middlesbrough at the Riverside. In the Premier League meanwhile, Hull suffered a 2-0 New Year’s Day defeat at the hands of Liverpool. Today’s visitors Chelsea, like Hull, progressed to the next round of the cup in similar fashion with a 2-0 win over Derby County. In the league the Blues could go top for the meantime with a fourth consecutive victory following their 3-0 victory of Southampton.
Hull boss Steve Bruce made one change from their last outing in the Barclays Premier League with Robert Koren dropped in favour of George Boyd. Jose Mourinho made two changes from their 3-0 win in the league over Southampton, into the side came Willian and Oscar at the expense of Andre Schurrle and Juan Mata.
Hull City: McGregor – Elmohamady – Chester – Davies – Bruce – Figueroa – Meyler – Huddlestone – Livermore – Boyd – Sagbo
Subs: Harper – Rosenior – Faye – Quinn – Koren – Graham – Fryatt
Chelsea: Cech – Azpilicueta – Cahill – Terry – Cole – Ramires – Luiz – Willian – Oscar – Hazard – Torres
Subs: Schwarzer – Essien – Mata – Mikel – Schurrle – Eto’o – Bertrand
Hull City 0-2 Chelsea
The majority of the opening action occurred down the right flank of Hull with Ahmed Elmohamady testing and beating Ashley Cole on a number of occasions.
The lively Egyptian had the first shot as well but his effort never really tested Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal.
Fernando Torres then tried his luck when he beat the offside trap to race clear only for his shot to take a deflection off Alex Bruce and cannon into the side-netting.
Yannick Sagbo was proving to be a handful to the Blues defence in the opening exchanges and again showed his strength holding off Gary Cahill in the 22nd minute before playing a ball in field to Jake Livermore. The midfielder then tied himself up and struck a sweet shot to which Cech palmed away for a corner kick.
Sagbo then wasted a golden opportunity four minutes later when Livermore charged down a Chelsea clearance with the rebound falling to the striker who lashed a shot wide.
Jose Mourinho’s side must have been wondering how they didn’t open the deadlock in the 33rd minute after a neat passage of play. Ramires’ chipped ball to Eden Hazard was squared to Oscar with the whole goal to aim at but McGregor somehow got a hand to turn the ball over the crossbar.
David Luiz then tried his luck just before half-time with a rasping free-kick from distance causing McGregor to tip the ball behind for a corner.
Chelsea despite all their talent weren’t the best in the first half but in the second they upped their tempo and the quality shone through.
Hazard by name hazard by nature and that was exactly the case when the Hull defence allowed him far too much space in the 56th minute seeing him cut inside into the box fake a shot, leaving Alex Bruce sprawled on the ground, before firing in a fierce drive into the back of the net.
Willian curled a free-kick from an almost impossible angle over the bar when a chip into the box would have been the better option much to the annoyance of Cahill and Terry who had ran up from the back.
Hull were left reeling from the Hazard opener and Steve Bruce introduced Stephen Quinn, Robert Koren and Matty Fryatt into the fold before Mourinho responded by bringing on Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel.
Chances for the home side were few and far between and largely from set-piece situations which the usually reliable Tom Huddlestone spurred.
With the Tigers pushing for a late equaliser it was always going to leave space for the Blues to exploit and that they did. Torres was the beneficiary when he gathered the ball and ran at the City defence before firing in a goal at the near post to wrap up the win.
The Egyptian Focus
Elmohamady had a solid first-half and had the beating of England international Ashley Cole on a number of occasions and looked full of confidence. However Elmo faded in the second-half through a combination of the alternating attacking prowess of Oscar, Willian and Hazard and not wanting to drag the centre-backs out wide to cover for him. Gedo again wasn’t selected to play a part in the game.
Jamie Barwick is a 21-year-old Sports Journalism graduate and a fan of Hull City, covering the Tigers on KingFut.com.