Chelsea scored three second-half goals to beat Reading 4-2 and move atop English soccer’s Premier League for the first time since November 2010.
Goals from Gary Cahill, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic at Stamford Bridge last night extended Chelsea’s winning streak in its opening home league match to 10 seasons. Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny Guthrie had given Reading a 2-1 halftime lead after Frank Lampard’s 18th-minute penalty kick.
The Blues opened the new league campaign with a 2-0 win at Wigan four days ago and last night’s victory lifted them atop the 20-team standings. The match was moved from its scheduled date of Sept. 2 because European champion Chelsea is playing in the Aug. 31 UEFA Super Cup.
“We are very pleased with six points after two games,” Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo said in comments on his team’s website. “We lost our flow after Reading scored their equalizer and second goal but, apart from that, it was very good. We finished very strongly.”
Reading, which won promotion after finishing top of the second-tier Championship last season, led until the 69th minute, having gone ahead through Pogrebnyak’s 25th-minute header and a free kick from Guthrie four minutes later that Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech allowed to slip past him.
The home team made it 2-2 on another goalkeeping error when Adam Federici failed to keep out Cahill’s 30-yard (27 meter) shot even after getting both hands behind the ball.
Torres side-footed Ashley Cole’s pass into the net to put Chelsea ahead in the 81st minute, although television replays suggested the Spanish striker was offside.
Ivanovic closed the scoring on a breakout with Federici stranded after going up the other end for a corner kick as Reading sought a tying goal in stoppage time.
“We didn’t deserve to lose,” Reading manager Brian McDermott told reporters. “The linesman will be disappointed with the third goal. From where I was I knew he was offside and when you see it back it was clear. He’s had a poor night and because of that we’ve had a disappointing result.”
Chelsea is now unbeaten in 34 home league games against newly promoted clubs since a 1-0 loss to Charlton Athletic in April 2001. It last failed to win its first match of the season at Stamford Bridge in 2002, when it drew 2-2 with Manchester United. (MANU)
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