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Monday, Aug. 16, 2010

Drogba sparks rout

Chelsea opens quest for repeat titles with six goals

LONDON (AP) Chelsea striker Didier Drogba scored a hat trick to lead the defending champions to a 6-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on the opening day of the English Premier League season on Saturday.

News photo
Off and running: Chelsea's John Terry (left) vies for the ball against West Bromwich Albion's Roman Bednar during their match on the opening day of the Premier League season on Saturday in London. Chelsea won 6-0. AP PHOTO

Florent Malouda put Chelsea ahead early before Drogba hit a free kick and a close-range finish to move into sixth place on Chelsea's list of all-time leading scorers. Frank Lampard passed into the net before Drogba hit a deflected shot in at the near post and Malouda scored again in the last minute.

"It's a good start but there are difficult moments and they are coming," Drogba said.

The big win gives Chelsea an early lift before last season's runnerup, Manchester United, kicks off against Newcastle on Monday. Goalkeeper Joe Hart saved Manchester City as the big-spenders escaped with a 0-0 draw despite being dominated at Tottenham, while Blackpool returned to England's topflight for the first time since 1971 with a 4-0 win at Wigan.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher put the Tangerines ahead in the 16th and Marlon Harewood scored twice before halftime. Alex Baptiste then rounded off the scoring with 15 minutes left with a 30-meter shot.

"I will take a photograph of the table and then retire," Blackpool manager Ian Holloway said.

Also, Aston Villa beat West Ham 3-0, Blackburn beat Everton 1-0 and Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Stoke 2-1. Sunderland lost Lee Cattermole to a 44th-minute red card but held on for a 2-2 draw with Birmingham, and Mark Hughes guided Fulham to a 0-0 draw at Bolton in his first game as manager.

Malouda tapped in against newly promoted West Brom in the sixth minute when goalkeeper Scott Carson dropped the ball. Drogba's 45th-minute free kick put him level with Jimmy Greaves in Chelsea's all-time scorers list and his close-range finish 10 minutes later put him ahead of the former England striker.

Lampard scored from about 12 meters and the Cote d'Ivoire striker moved to 134 club goals when his shot from the edge of the area deflected off a defender. Drogba was substituted moments later and Malouda completed the rout in the last minute with a calm shot from Nicolas Anelka's pass over the defense.

Drogba scored 29 times last season as Chelsea edged Manchester United to the title by a single point.

Of Chelsea's current squad, only Frank Lampard, in third place, has scored more goals than Drogba. Drogba is also the only non-English player in Chelsea's top 10.

"I said last season I wanted to score goals and make history," Drogba said. "I don't want to stop here. I want to carry on and put my name higher."

Sevilla beats Barca

SEVILLE , Spain (AP) Sevilla came from a goal down to beat an under-strength Barcelona 3-1 in the first leg of the Spanish Supercup.

Defending champion Barcelona will host the return leg next Saturday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic put Barcelona ahead in the 21st minute when he stretched to tap in Maxwell's long through pass from five meters.

Luis Fabiano tied it in the 63rd, striking Luca Cigarini's pass past goalkeeper Ruben Mino, substitute Frederic Kanoute converted Alvaro Negredo's pass in the 73rd and Kaunoute scored on a header 10 minutes later.

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