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Chelsea coach Ray Wilkins
"The lads gave their maximum"
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Thursday, 14 September, 2000, 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK
Chelsea labour to unconvincing win
Graham Rix and Ray Wilkins
It was a frustrating night on the Chelsea bench
Chelsea 1-0 St Gallen

Following Gianluca Vialli's departure, Chelsea started their Uefa Cup campaign with an unconvincing win over St Gallen.

St Gallen, last season's Swiss national champions, came into this match after narrowly failing to qualify for the Champions League despite earning a 2-2 draw away to Galatasaray.

They set out their stall packing the midfield forcing Chelsea to dictate the game.

The caretaker management team of Graham Rix and Ray Wilkins gave Samuele Della Bona his first start for the club in midfield behind Gianfranco Zola, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Tore Andre Flo.

Despite the attacking formation and winning a couple of early corners the Londoners failed to force the game in front of a sparse Stamford Bridge crowd of 18,196.


The game began with Frank Leboeuf being roundly booed by the home support, and although he slowly won the crowd round, some of his team-mates looked less than comfortable post-Vialli.

The guys do not know whether they are coming or going at the moment and as soon as we get it sorted out you will see a very consistent level of performance
  Ray Wilkins
Christian Panucci had trouble containing the Trinidad and Tobago international Jerren Nixon, and Lebouef and Marcel Desailly had to be watchful of St Gallen's lively lone Ghanain striker Charles Amoah.

The first chants of "Vialli" after 15 minutes drove Chelsea forward with Zola sparking many of the better moves.

Hasselbaink drove a free kick low round the wall hitting the base of the post with the 'keeper, Joerg Astiel, beaten and shortly afterwards Chelsea broke the deadlock.

Midway through the first half Dennis Wise picked up the ball just inside the St Gallen half and thread a ball in behind the defence which Panucci ran onto, chipping over the on-rushing Astiel, to score his first goal for the club.


Ken Bates
Bates celebrates the goal
The goal had Chelsea chairman Ken Bates out of his seat but it failed to spark the Blues as St Gallen began to get into the game without really threatening Carlo Cudicini's goal.

Desailly earned himself a yellow card for pulling back Amoah, and early in the second half Sasha Muller tried an audacious long range chip which, with Cudicini stranded, sailed over the bar.

As the second period began to drift Amoah should have found the net after a neatly worked free kick.

Rix tried to ignite some life into Chelsea's play taking off Dalla Bona and Flo for Jody Morris and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Moments later Hasselbaink ran onto Panucci's long through ball but could only poke the ball wide after it skidded off the slippery surface.

They were quite an organised side - at the end of the day it's a win but I'm disappointed because you want to win comfortably and then go with a nice feeling to Switzerland
  Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
In search of a second goal Desailly strode forward connecting with a Hasselbaink pull back and although the Frenchman's low drive did not find the net it did at least force the St Gallen keeper Astiel to make a save - his first of the night.

Hasselbaink's frustration boiled over as he picked up a late booking before he forced Astiel into a second save from a free kick.

St Gallen will return to Switzerland for the second leg taking great heart from this result and despite this turgid performance Chelsea should be confident of progressing through to the next round.

The game finished as it began, with a cacophony of derision echoing around Stamford Bridge, and the players left the field with the name of their former manager ringing in their ears.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Panucci, Leboeuf, Desailly, Hasselbaink, Wise, Le Saux, Di Matteo, Flo, Dalla Bona, Zola.
Subs: Bogarde, Hitchcock, Melchiot, Ferrer, Morris, Gudjohnsen, Harley.

St Gallen: Astiel, Guido, Winkler, Muller, Nixon, Imhof, Amoah, Zwyssig, Zellweger, Jairo, Dala Santo.
Subs: Pinelli, Contini, Gane, Eugster, Alder, Collacino, Didi.

Referee: Victor Torres (Spain).

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15 Sep 00 |  Photo Galleries
Thursday's Uefa Cup action - in pictures
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