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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 August, 2003, 20:04 GMT 21:04 UK
Chelsea romp past Zilina
Eidur Gudjohnson (left) celebrates his goal with Juan Veron
Gudjohnsen celebrates his goal

MSK Zilina 0-2 Chelsea

Chelsea started to repay billionaire owner Roman Abramovich's massive investment as they moved to the brink of Champions League qualification in Slovakia.

Claudio Ranieri's expensively re-assembled side shrugged off early sluggishness to comfortably dispose of MKS Zilina in the first leg of the qualifier.

Eidur Gudjohnsen gave Chelsea a first-half lead and new signing Joe Cole came off the bench and was instrumental as an own goal from Michal Drahno doubled their advantage late on.

Ranieri will have been pleased at how his new faces settled in, with 17m winger Damien Duff in irrepressible mood.

And Chelsea's victory left the second leg a virtual formality as they contemplate entry into the money-spinning Champions League proper.

It will have provided satisfactory viewing for mega-rich Russian Abramovich, who was reportedly watching the game on television from his yacht moored off Alaska.

Ranieri gave a debut to five of his summer signings - with Cole restricted to a substitute's role.

Damien Duff threatens for Chelsea
Damien Duff threatens for Chelsea

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was also left out, ensuring he was not cup-tied for Europe as speculation continues to surround his Stamford Bridge future.

Chelsea, understandably, showed signs of ring rustiness as the new signings settled in.

And it was Frank Lampard, who could almost be described as long-serving after two seasons at the club, who twice came close to breaking the deadlock.

He wasted an opportunity he created himself after nine minutes, shooting well wide after breaking clear.

And he was narrowly off target after 32 minutes with a lob as goalkeeper Ivan Trabalik was stranded out of position.

But the star of Chelsea's show was undoubtedly Duff, who delivered a virtuoso display of direct wing play in a blistering first 45 minutes.

Chelsea needed a goal to settle nerves, and inevitably Duff was the creator as Gudjohnsen provided it three minutes before the interval.


Duff's cross, delivered on the run, was the perfect invitation for the Icelander to slide home at the far post.

Chelsea had their first serious scare after 52 minutes, when Richard Varadin headed over from only eight yards from Miroslav Barcik's cross.

Ranieiri finally introduced Cole with 21 minutes left, replacing Duff after an excellent display.

And Cole played a part as an own goal from Drahno doubled Chelsea's advantage after 75 minutes.

He sent a trademark back-heel into the path of Gudjohnsen and Drahno's unwitting intervention sent the ball looping over Trabalik.

Chelsea played out time comfortably in a perfect work-out for the Premiership kick-off against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

MSK Zilina: Trabalik, Konecny, Zabavnik, Labant, Stas, Bazik, Strba, Sninsky, Barcik, Durica, Varadin. Subs: Rzeszoto, Kosmel, Klago, Cervenec, Fabus, Putik, Drahno.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Johnson, Desailly, Terry, Bridge, Veron, Geremi, Lampard, Duff, Forssell, Gudjohnsen. Subs: Ambrosetti, Huth, Melchiot, Gronkjaer, Joe Cole, Carlton Cole, Hasselbaink.

Referee: Rene Temmink (Holland)

Chelsea's Damien Duff
"We got the win but we can do better"

Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri
"I am happy with the performance and with the goals"

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