Blunt Blues Tamed By Tigers  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 0 Hull City 0

Ricardo Quaresma debut against Hull CityChelsea's title tilt took another knock on Saturday as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Hull City at Stamford Bridge.

The hosts dominated proceedings from the off but found the going tough against plucky opposition prepared to dig deep and grind out a result.

Clear-cut opportunities were few and far between despite the flowing nature of the first half, with neither keeper severely tested.

Michael Ballack lofted a delicate free-kick into the side-netting at one end while Kevin Kilbane saw a towering header brush the post at the other, but that was as close as either side came to breaking the deadlock.

Chelsea's toothless attack continued to provide little in terms of a cutting edge after the break, while the Tigers grew in confidence as the game progressed.

The Tigers even wasted the best opportunity of the game as Dean Marney dragged a tame effort past the post when well placed seven yards from goal.

Salomon Kalou did force Matt Duke into a fine save with time running out but the spoils would be shared.


Perhaps the omens were there for Chelsea as early as the second minute when a free-kick from Frank Lampard found John Terry inside the six-yard box.

The Chelsea captain's first instinctive effort was saved by Duke but when the ball rebounded back to him just two yards out, he somehow contrived to send his second shot over the bar.

New boy Ricardo Quaresma, on loan from Inter Milan for the remainder of the season, showed some nice early touches.

Hull were kept relatively quiet in the opening moments but Geovanni was just off target with an angled volley from 20 yards in the 10th minute.

Eight minutes later another quick Hull break allowed Geovanni to try his luck again from 20 yards but his shot was deflected off Terry for a corner.

But the resultant free-kick was cleared and Quaresma almost opened the scoring when Chelsea broke on the counter.

The home side's quick attack had been led by the galloping Kalou and his pass allowed Quaresma to try and curl the ball around Duke, but the winger's shot was tipped round the post by the Hull goalkeeper.

It was all Chelsea and Ballack was narrowly wide with an angled drive as the Blues stepped up the pace.


Hull were defending valiantly as another Chelsea attack saw a shot from Kalou cleared superbly by Kilbane.

But Hull responded bravely and John Obi Mikel was booked for bringing down Geovanni after the City striker had made him look quite pedestrian.

Geovanni could not punish Chelsea from the free-kick which he sent over Hilario's crossbar from 20 yards.

On the half-hour mark, Ballack was sent sprawling by Kamil Zayatte 20 yards from the Hull goal but referee Lee Mason did not produce a card to the fury of the home fans.

Ballack almost made the visitors pay with his free-kick which he curled around the City wall only for it to hit the side-netting.

It was the spark for another sustained spell of Chelsea pressure. First Kalou caused panic in the Hull defence when he danced into the area only to see his pass to Anelka intercepted by Michael Turner.

Then a corner from Lampard found the head of Terry but his effort was well saved by Duke.

Another free-kick from Lampard in the 34th minute smashed straight into the groin of the unfortunate Zayatte, who was unsurprisingly left poleaxed on the ground.

The Hull player returned to the fray after a spell of treatment and the visitors almost stunned the home side in the 40th minute when Kilbane headed a cross from Sam Ricketts off an upright.


A free-kick by Hull's Marney four minutes later had Chelsea's defence in trouble until Alex managed to clear the danger.

Moments later Craig Fagan beat Mikel to the ball and sped clear of the Chelsea defence but the City forward's attempted chip was caught easily by Hilario.

There was little to indicate that Chelsea had the guile to break the deadlock and the home fans were beginning to vent their frustration.

Scolari replaced the ineffective Mikel with Juliano Belletti in the 56th minute, but the initial change did nothing to spark Chelsea and so Scolari opted to replace Quaresma with Didier Drogba in the 63rd minute.

In the 67th minute Hull wasted a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring when Geovanni carved open the Chelsea defence with a perfect through ball for Marney.

The Hull player probably did not realise how much time he had as he screwed his shot just beyond the far post.

Referee Mason waved away penalty appeals from Chelsea when Andy Dawson appeared to handle the ball inside the penalty area.

Then, four minutes from time, Drogba sent a free-kick wide of the target to complete a miserable afternoon for the Blues.


Team Statistics

Hull City





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Chelsea  Hilario, A. Cole, Alex, Bosingwa, Terry, Ballack (Deco 73), Mikel (Belletti 57), Lampard, Anelka, Kalou, Quaresma (Drogba 63)
Subs Not Used  Taylor, Stoch, Di Santo, Ivanovic
Booked  Mikel

Hull City  Duke, Zayatte, Turner, Dawson, Ricketts, Ashbee, Marney, Kilbane, Geovanni (France 81), Fagan, Garcia
Subs Not Used Doyle, Halmosi, Myhill, Manucho, Hughes, Barmby
Booked  Ashbee, Garcia

Attendance 41,802

Referee L. Mason

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