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Thursday, April 16, 1998 Published at 21:13 GMT 22:13 UK

Sport: Football

Chelsea storm back to reach final
image: [ Chelsea keeper Ed de Goey under presure from Vicenza's Pasquale Luiso as Michael Duberry looks on ]
Chelsea keeper Ed de Goey under presure from Vicenza's Pasquale Luiso as Michael Duberry looks on

Substitute Mark Hughes smashed a spectacular goal as Chelsea came from behind against Vicenza to reach the Cup Winners' Cup final in a dramatic night in the London rain.

Ron Jones reports from Stamford Bridge
The veteran Welsh striker thundered a left foot shot into the corner 15 minutes from time to give the Blues a 3-1 win and complete a fantastic comeback.

They will play German side VfB Stuttgart in the final in Stockholm. Stuttgart beat Lokomotiv Moscow 3-1 on aggregate in the other semi-final.

Vicenza added to their 1-0 first leg lead with a high quality goal on 32 minutes.

But Gustavo Poyet equalised three minutes later, Gianfranco Zola made it 2-1 in the second half then Hughes sealed the win.

To complete Vicenza's misery, Massimo Ambrioso was sent off for a second bookable offence with two minutes left.

Chelsea's Italian player-manager Gianluca Vialli, an inspiration on the field, said: "It's a great feeling. It's been a very tough game.

"Despite going a goal down we kept playing very well with patience and confidence. We deserved to go through."

Rally at the Bridge

[ image: Gabrielle Ambrosini (centre) climbs above Chelsea's Dennis Wise and Steve Clarke]
Gabrielle Ambrosini (centre) climbs above Chelsea's Dennis Wise and Steve Clarke
Chelsea began the game with all guns blazing as the rain swept down at Stamford Bridge.

But they were stunned when Lamberto Zauli chipped over a static defence and Pasquale Luiso smashed a right foot shot into the top corner.

The comeback began three minutes later when Uruguayan Poyet, starting for the first time in six months, followed up after Zola's drive was beaten back by keeper Pierluigi Brivio.

Chelsea steamed forward like a train in the second half and took the lead on 51 minutes, Zola meeting Frank Leboeuf's teasing cross with a bullet header. But with the aggregate score at 2-2, Chelsea needed a third to avoid going out on the away goals rule.

Hughes obliged, but the Londoners also had Dutch keeper Ed de Goey to thank, stretching to palm away a dangerous left-wing cross in the final seconds.

Lokomotiv derailed

[ image: Stuttgart's Marco Haber (left) tussles with Lokomotiv defender Andrei Solomatin]
Stuttgart's Marco Haber (left) tussles with Lokomotiv defender Andrei Solomatin
Stuttgart were defending a slender 2-1 lead from the home leg but sealed the tie with a 1-0 win in Moscow.

The Russian side were caught on the break by German international Fredi Bobic after 24 minutes. Gerhard Poschner won the ball inside his own half and found Nigerian Jonathan Akpoborie who put Bobic through on goal.

Bobic, who had given Stuttgart the advantage with an injury time winner in the first leg, slotted past keeper Ruslan Nigmatullin.


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