Verheyen leaves it late to breach Blues' defences

FOOTBALL: Chelsea suffer first defeat of European campaign in Belgium

BY TREVOR HAYLETT

Club Bruges 1

Chelsea 0

Chelsea suffered the first defeat of their European campaign last night, finally beaten by a header with eight minutes remaining. It spoiled a performance of determination and resolve from the English side, characterised by Kevin Hitchcock, their replacement goalkeeper, who made four splendid saves.

For long periods, the Olym-piastadion, where Glenn Hoddle received his one and only red card, looked to have offered the Chelsea manager a far sweeter return. Then a free-kick was swung in from the right and amid a fusion of bodies, Gert Verheyen applied a scoring touch for the Belgians. Still, Chelsea will feel they can progress to the Cup-Winners' Cup semi- finals in the Stamford Bridge return.

Mark Stein, who brought Chelsea their first League victory in 11 attempts at the weekend was omitted, Hoddle preferring the height of Paul Furlong as his lone attacker. Presumably that had a lot to do with the surface, a sandy pudding top between the penalty areas placing a premium on any attempt to use a patient, passing game.

The choice of Kevin Hitchcock over the Russian goalkeeper, Dimitri Kharin, who in any case was injured at Upton Park, allowed John Spencer, the little Scotsman and their third "foreigner" to forage and present himself for tackles just ahead of the midfield quartet.

Chelsea were required to defend in depth; Nigel Spackman and Eddie Newton arranged as a protectionist force in front of the back four. In the 14th minute, however, the cover came apart when Verheyen got through and appeared to be brought down by Scott Minto, but Bruges' penalty appeals were waved away.

The containing operation mostly worked well in the early stages. However, as the first half continued, Bruges began to find more spaces among the blue shirts and hinted at a breakthrough. A fluid interchange in the 37th minute gave Lorenzo Staelens a shooting chance, but Hitchcock's legs kept him out.

Making only his third appearance of the season, Hitchcock distinguished himself yet again shortly afterwards, reacting quickly when Yves Buelinckx twisted to put a header on target.

Chelsea had the first attempt on goal, a speculative bid from Spencer from 25 yards. The ball took a strange bounce and was held none too easily by Danny Verlinden. That came in the first minute, and it was mostly defensive responsibilities for the visitors thereafter.

In the 36th minute, Frank Sinclair relieved the siege when Dennis Wise's free-kick found him rising above his marker to send a header into the goalkeeper's gloves. Often there were so many Chelsea bodies back defending that attempted clearances only found a friendly shirt and the ball remained in danger. A strong wind added to the problems, but Chelsea could feel pleased with the way their night was turning out.

Bruges are a side liberally sprinkled with lofty players, but still nimble enough to work their shooting opportunities, albeit from outside Hitchcock's penalty area. When Sven Vermant did just that, Newton conceded a free- kick with potentially damaging consequences, but it caught to nought. So too did a link started by Franky Van der Elst, which Vital Borkelmans clouted high and wide.

Responding immediately with some spirit, Chelsea forced three successive corners, and Staelens had to hurriedly clear from Gavin Peacock's header.

Club Bruges (1-3-3-3): Berlinden; Okon; Medved, Renier, Borkelmans; Van der Elst (De Brul, 81), Vermant, Staelens; Verheyen, Eijkelkamp, Buelinckx.

Chelsea (4-4-2): Hitchcock; Clarke, Johnsen, Sinclair, Minto; Newton, Spackman, Peacock, Wise (Rocastle, 86); Spencer, Furlong.

Referee: S Muhmenthaler (Switzerland).

Ajax's young masters, page 38

News
i100
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Financial Accountants, Cardiff, £250 p/day

£180 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Financial Accountants - Key Banking...

Regulatory Reporting-MI-Bank-Cardiff-£300/day

£200 - £500 per day + competitive: Orgtel: I am currently working on a large p...

Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Real Staffing - Leeds - £18k+

£18000 - £27000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Sales - Trainee Recruitment Co...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices