By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Nine-man Chelsea began the defence of their English Premier League title on Saturday at Stamford Bridge with a nervy 3-2 defeat to Burnley, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
Sam Vokes scored twice and Stephen Ward added another for the Clarets while debuting Alvaro Morata and David Luiz were the Blues’ scorers.
Super Eagles star Victor Moses who is usually deployed at the right wing-back position by manager Antonio Conte served his suspension following his red card against Arsenal in the English FA Cup in May and was replaced in the line-up by new signing Antonio Rudigar.
The Blues’captain Gary Cahill was shown a straight red card in the 13th minute for a lunge on Steven Defour.
Vokes scored his first goal with a half volley from a tantalising cross in the 24th minute by Matthew Lowton while Ward doubled his team’s lead six minutes before half-time with a cracking shot into far corner.
Vokes then grabbed his brace and the third for Sean Dyche’s men when he headed in the ball from a Defour cross two minutes before the half time break.
Marcos Alonso let fly a shot in the 48th minute which went agonisingly wide off target. At the hour mark, Alonso’s freekick was kept out by Burnley’s goalkeeper, Tom Heaton.
Morata scored on his Premier League debut goal in the 69th minute when he beat an offside trap to deliver a diving header off a cross from Willian but what could have been a Chelsea second goal was ruled out for offside as Morata in an offside position, touched Andreas Christensen’s shot from the right flank.
Cesc Fabregas received his marching orders seven minutes before the end of the game for his second yellow card for a foul committed against Jack Cork.
Chelsea’s second goal came two minutes before full time. Cesar Azpilicueta launched a long ball which Morata flicked towards Luiz who poked home with his left foot.
Burnley went for the fourth goal but the post kept out a 90th minute freekick as the defending champions sought an equaliser.
Saturday’s defeat meant Chelsea have lost in their first opening game of the season since the 3-2 defeat suffered to Coventry in 1998.
Burnley meanwhile had lost all their previous Premier League opening day fixtures before Saturday’s triumph.
In other Saturday games, Wayne Rooney scored the only goal as Everton edged out Stoke City at Goodison Park, newly promoted Huddersfield stunned Crystal Palace 3-0 away from home and Swansea held Southampton to a 0-0 draw.
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