Football: Tromso are trounced as Vialli warms to the task

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The Independent Online
Mike Rowbottom

Chelsea 7 Tromso 1

Chelsea win 9-4 on aggregate

Tromso, 3-2 winners in the snowbound first leg of this European Cup- Winners' Cup second round tie two week's ago, were buried under an avalanche of goals at Stamford Bridge last night, three of them from Gianluca Vialli.

The Italian, whose two late goals in the first match had got his side out of the Norwegian wood, spoke before the home leg about a premonition, or what he described as "a feeling", that he would do well. He was not mistaken.

Vialli matched the European scoring exploits of Manchester United's Andy Cole the previous evening with the exuberance that has been a feature of his play this season.

"The feeling was right," said Vialli. "I knew we were going to get a great result. To get a hat-trick in Europe is always a great feeling."

Such was Vialli's performance that his manager and friend, Ruud Gullit, was suggesting afterwards that he was a realistic candidate for a recall to the Italian team for the forthcoming World Cup qualifier against Russia.

Ruud Gullit's feelings for snow were made very clear during the first leg, when he called in vain for the match to be abandoned. He made it clear after last night's consummate performance - which means Chelsea can put aside thoughts of their quarter-final match until March - that there was a serious purpose for his side from the start.

"The other game was not really a game. Now you can see the real difference and the real Chelsea," he said.

"Chelsea wanted to prove a point today. Tromso knew two weeks before the first leg that a snowstorm was forecast, but they did not switch the game to Oslo. That upset me. Now you can see on a real pitch what is the difference between the two sides.

"Luca [Vialli] is a great player, and he made me proud tonight. Last year he had problems with injury before the season and he missed a lot of training, which made it very difficult for him to get back again. He has come back in a different way this season."

Vialli himself was already looking ahead to the next challenge - Sunday's Premiership fixture against West Ham.

"We must keep our feet on the floor and calm down. We can be happy tonight, but tomorrow we must think about the next match," he said.

Apart from one brief period in the first half, when they allowed Tromso to level the tie at 4-4 through a 20-yard shot by Bjorn Johansen, Chelsea were dominant against a side reduced to 10 men after the 57th minute sending off of Johnny Hanssen.

Vialli came close to scoring three times in the opening 10 minutes, but the first goal, after 13 minutes, came from Dan Petrescu, who converted Dennis Wise's cross with a glancing header.

Vialli mopped his brow in theatrical relief after giving Chelsea a 4- 3 aggregate lead in the 24th minute, capitalising on Gianfranco Zola's through ball.

The celebrations were shown to be a little premature as Johansen struck in the 38th minute. But the balance of the tie tipped finally in Chelsea's favour three minutes before half-time when Zola converted a 20-yard free kick following a foul on Roberto Di Matteo which earned a booking for Hanssen.

Tromso's evening finally disintegrated eight minutes into the second half when Hanssen was sent off after handling a shot by Wise in the area to concede a penalty from which Franck Leboeuf put Chelsea 4-1 up on the night.

Thereafter it was an exhibition game. After 57 minutes, Vialli slid in a second goal from a narrow angle after Petrescu had run half the length of the pitch. Vialli competed his hat-trick after 75 minutes with a springheeled header from another Wise cross, and Petrescu ended the night as he had begun with a goal 10 minutes from time.

"We're pleased for Luca," said Wise, Chelsea's captain. "He came in after the game and shook everyone's hands and said thanks for the goals. That proved what a lovely person he is."

The Tromso coach, Hakan Sandberg, reflected afterwards on the missed opportunity of the first leg. "We lost our big chance to pass this round in Tromso," he said. "In the end, Chelsea are a better team than us. They have a good chance of winning the whole competition." It certainly looks that way.

Chelsea (4-4-2): De Goey; Sinclair, Leboeuf, Myers, Babayaro; Petrescu, Newton (Clarke, 70), Di Matteo (Lambourde, 80), Wise; Zola, Vialli (Flo, 87). Substitutes not used: M Hughes, Hitchcock (gk), Granville, Nicholls.

Tromso (4-4-2): Grenersen; S Johansen, Nilsen, Hanssen, Kraemer; Bernsten, B Johansen, Christensen, Fermann (Hafstad, 55); Lange, Arst (S B Johansen, 70). Substitutes not used: Pedersen, Balling, R Johansen, Tollefsen (gk).

Referee: V Melnichuk (Ukraine).

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