Viktoria Zizkov. .2
THEY harboured worries about their inexperience before this return to European football, but Chelsea's reintroduction to the Cup-Winners' Cup they won 23 years ago was made somewhat easier last night by the discomfort of a teenage goalkeeper on his first full appearance for the visitors from the Czech Republic.
With much-appreciated assistance from Daniel Zitka, Glenn Hoddle's side were able to take strength from a second-minute lead that became two goals in four minutes. There was a reviving third goal at the start of the second half, after Chelsea's early onslaught had been answered in some style, and a splendid fourth goal from Dennis Wise in the 69th minute leaves Chelsea in better heart for the return.
This is Viktoria Zizkov's first season in continental competition, and for the majority of the home side it was a new experience too. However, it required only a basic grasp of the game to catch on to the fact that, with only 60 minutes' senior service behind him, the 19-year-old Zitka was an obvious source of prosperity for Chelsea.
From the start he was under pressure, and when Scott Minto, making his debut, drove the ball back in after his corner had been cleared, the unfortunate rookie spilled the ball at the feet of Paul Furlong, who dreams of just such an opportunity.
The second goal was almost as straightforward, Frank Sinclair meeting Wise's free- kick with a positive header that looped under the crossbar. Clearly Chelsea were relishing the chance to make up for the lost years, and the orders from Hoddle to attack the opposition from the start admirably were taken up. But if the first appearance was that the Czechs were acting merely as punchbags, Stamford Bridge was quickly disabused as Viktoria showed they could attack far better than they could defend.
'We went into neutral after our great start and it shows we still have so much to learn at this level,' Hoddle said. 'The tie is more balanced than it looked after the first 10 minutes, but what encourages us is that we feel we are capable of scoring goals over there.'
They might have to if the Czechs can repeat their ability to snap up half-chances. Josef Majoros was left alone to drill home in the 36th minute and then, stunningly, brought his side level with a shot that burned the paintwork off the left-hand post on its way to the net.
The interval came just in time for Chelsea, though not before Furlong had hit the bar, a feat he was later to repeat with a towering header. Hoddle was looking for someone to put his team back on track, and he later hailed Wise as that man with his brute of a left-foot drive in the 69th minute.
However, he could also have singled out David Rocastle nine minutes after the break, when the hapless Zitka had again been an accessory to his own destruction. The goalkeeper's clearance landed only as far as Chelsea's midfield recruit, and he was left stranded by the accuracy of Rocastle's chip.
Chelsea (4-1-3-2): Kharin; Newton, Johnsen, Sinclair, Minto; Spackman; Rocastle (Rix, 90), Wise, Peacock; Spencer, Furlong.
Viktoria Zizkov (1-4-3-2): Zitka; Casko; Petrous, Kordule, Gabriel, Vrabec; Bilek, Poborsky, Majoros; Trval (Krejcik, 67), Jancula.
Referee: C Fallstrom (Sweden).