Blues rally past Reading
Second-half show leaves hosts stunned
Last Updated: 16/08/07 12:58am
Chelsea made it two wins from two at the start of the new season with a hard-fought 2-1 success against Reading.
The Blues scored twice in the space of three minutes at the start of the second half to clinch all three points at The Madejski Stadium.
Reading, who held reigning champions Manchester United on Sunday, had appeared on course for a second surprise result thanks to Andre Bikey's opener.
The defender scored with his first touch after coming on as a sub, turning in a loose ball following a Petr Cech error from a cross.
However, the game turned on its head during an amazing start to the second period.
Frank Lampard restored parity on 47 minutes before Didier Drogba curled home the winner from the edge of the area shortly after.
Reading's misery was complete when debutant Kalifa Cisse was shown a second yellow card for a high tackle on Chelsea substitute Claudio Pizarro.
Torrential rain before kick-off had left the playing surface extremely slippery but Chelsea mastered it quicker than the home side and should have taken the lead in the fifth minute.
Paulo Ferreira fed Shaun Wright-Phillips on the right flank and his cross found Drogba unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box.
But the Ivorian striker, who scored 33 goals last season, smashed his right-foot volley against an upright.
Reading responded by winning a succession of corners and Ivar Ingimarsson sent a header flashing just wide of Cech's left-hand post in the seventh minute.
Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou thought he should have had a penalty when he went down under the challenge of Michael Duberry in the 19th minute but Mike Dean ignored his appeals.
Two minutes later, Drogba wasted another good chance when he collected a corner at the far post only to send his effort high into the crowd.
Bikey replaced Michael Duberry on 29 minutes and had an immediate impact.
A long free-kick was headed back into the six-yard box by Shane Long and although Cech went to punch the ball clear he was hampered by the close attention of Sidwell and Tal Ben Haim as well as Reading striker Kevin Doyle.
When the Czech Republic international completely missed the ball, Bikey ran clear to prod it home from close range in the 30th minute.
The goal gave Reading extra impetus and moments later Doyle forced Cech to save his 18-yard shot at the second attempt.
In the 34th minute, Reading should have gone two in front when Stephen Hunt's far-post cross was smashed against the post by John Oster.
Chelsea replaced Ferreira with John Obi Mikel and Sidwell with Pizarro at half-time as Jose Mourinho's side looked to get back on level terms.
The double substitution paid dividends as Chelsea equalised within two minutes of the restart.
Both Pizarro and Drogba supplied clever back headers to a long clearance and stand-in captain Lampard burst into the penalty area, controlled the ball, and beat Hahnemann from close range.
It was the perfect start for Mourinho's side and they took the lead in the 50th minute through Drogba.
The Ivorian hit-man played a clever one-two with Kalou before sending a 20-yard curling effort beyond the outstretched Hahnemann for his first of the season.
A rare Reading foray into the Chelsea half caused panic in the visiting defence, which ended with Doyle smashing the ball straight at Cech.
But it was an isolated moment for the home side and in the 68th minute Pizarro almost made it three for Chelsea when he sent a left-foot effort across the face of the goal.
Reading's woes continued when Cisse was sent off for a foul on Pizarro in the 72nd minute and Chelsea held on comfortably to record their second successive win.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||5|
|6||Shots off Target||8|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||29||31|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||29||28|