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John Murray reports for the BBC
"What a start for George Weah"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 12 January, 2000, 22:45 GMT
Winner for Weah on debut

Weah soars above the Spurs defence for the winner


Chelsea 1-0 Tottenham

George Weah made a dramatic arrival in English football with a late goal in his first match for Chelsea.



It's a good beginning. I feel welcome. I'm hoping to do great things in London and I'm very happy that Gianluca believes in me.
George Weah
The former World Footballer of the Year scored with just three minutes on the clock, after coming off the bench to the delight of the Stamford Bridge faithful who had given their new hero a rousing welcome.

Liberian striker Weah, who only arrived from Italy hours before the game, bundled a header past Spurs keeper Ian Walker to preserve Chelsea's remarkable record against their London rivals.


Chelsea's Flo strides clear of Campbell's challenge
It is now 21 games, over a 10-year period, since Tottenham have managed to beat the Blues in any competition.

Spurs will feel aggrieved that they again lost out, particularly after creating all the openings in the first half.

But the arrival of Weah and English strike partner Chris Sutton after the break transformed Chelsea and they bombarded the visitors in the closing stages.

Super sub

Weah, whose participation in the contest had been in doubt until international clearance was received for his loan move from AC MIlan just before the match, was left on the bench.


Substitute Weah acknowledges the Chelsea crowd
But there was no place at all in the squad for Gianfranco Zola, who was dropped by manager Gianluca Vialli.

Spurs, though, were delighted to welcome back long-term injury victim Darren Anderton, who took his place in midfield.

Chelsea dominated possession in the early stages, but it was Spurs - happy to sit back and hit the home side on the break - who looked the most likely to score and Chris Armstrong fluffed the first opening of the game.



It's the best possible start for him and the team. He's such a great player and he wants to show he's one of the best strikers in the world and that Milan were wrong to let him go.
Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli
Spurs were convinced they should have a penalty when Ginola skipped around Frank Leboeuf and crumpled in the box under Bernard Lambourde's challenge - but referee Neale Barry dismissed the claims.

Justin Edinburgh shot just wide from the edge of the area as Spurs continued to threaten and Blues keeper Ed de Goey was forced into three saves in quick succession from Anderton and Iversen, twice, as the visitors so nearly claimed the opener.

Barnstorming Blues

Chelsea, smarting after their first-half display, were a different proposition after the break, as the match took on a pulsating pace.


Carr and Harley go shoulder to shoulder
Weah was given a hero's reception as he replaced the ineffective Tore Andre Flo for the last third of the game.

The Liberian was deployed up front alongside Sutton, who came on at the same time for Gustavo Poyet.

Spurs had defended superbly, but they almost gifted Chelsea a bizarre goal on 65 minutes following a blunder from Walker.

The goalkeeper seemed set to easily collect an over-hit cross by Jon Harley - but the ball dropped out of his hands, bounced up off the ground and landed on top of the bar before falling back in the hands of the relieved keeper.


Carr of Spurs acrobatically clears from Flo
Chelsea piled forward and after Leboeuf, among others, went close, Weah finally broke the deadlock, rising above the Spurs defence to head home Dennis Wise's cross.

Chelsea were grateful to De Goey in the very last minute, as the Dutch keeper clung onto Campbell's deflected strike right on the line. The incident sparked a fracas and blows appeared to be exchanged after Tottenham's on-rushing forwards tried to bundle the ball into the net.

But the night belonged to the Bridge's new folk hero - George Weah.

Teams:

Chelsea: De Goey, Leboeuf, Lambourde, Thome, Terry, Harley, Petrescu, Wise, Di Matteo, Poyet, Flo.
Subs: Sutton, Ambrosetti, Morris, Cudicini, Weah.

Tottenham: Walker, Carr, Campbell, Perry, Edinburgh, Anderton, Clemence, Sherwood, Ginola, Armstrong, Iversen.
Subs: Baardsen, Fox, Dominguez, Young, Nielsen.

Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe)

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See also:
12 Jan 00 |  Football
Weah cleared for debut
03 Jan 00 |  FA Carling Premiership
Armstrong raises Spurs spirits
04 Jan 00 |  FA Carling Premiership
Flo double denies Coventry
29 Dec 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
Wise weaves Chelsea spell
Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.