Verheyen leaves it late to breach Blues' defences

FOOTBALL: Chelsea suffer first defeat of European campaign in Belgium


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

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn