Soccer: Grant claims 1st CL win as Chelsea boss

"It was one of our best games," says the Israeli after goals from Cole and Drogba give Blues 2-1 win away at Valencia.

October 4, 2007 09:33
2 minute read.
Soccer: Grant claims 1st CL win as Chelsea boss

grant 88. (photo credit: )


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Avram Grant's first Champions League win as Chelsea manager probably won over a few fans as well. The English team, playing in a European match for the first time since Jose Mourinho left last month, rallied to beat Valencia 2-1 Wednesday in Group B of the Champions League. "We believe in our qualities. We just need to play organized, try to play good football," Grant said. "I'm very happy for the result, but more for the way of the result." Didier Drogba scored the winning goal for Chelsea in the 71st minute, shrugging off a defender to get to Joe Cole's pass at the edge of the area and sending a shot over goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand. "I think the Chelsea fans today will be very happy," Grant said. "It was one of our best games." Since the Israeli took over from Mourinho, Chelsea had won only one game heading into Wednesday's match - and that against League Championship team Hull in the League Cup. "We haven't been performing as well as we'd have liked, but we had a great team spirit tonight," Chelsea defender John Terry said. "We hope it's the kick start we need after we've had a few iffy performances." Terry, who had surgery to repair a fractured cheekbone on Sunday, returned wearing a protective face mask and played the entire match. "For me it was an easy decision. When you see John Terry you see a player who plays with all of his heart," Grant said. "A big player has to be a good example and I don't think you could be a better example than this." Chelsea now has four points in Group B, while Valencia stays with three. David Villa gave Valencia the lead after spinning around Terry and beating goalkeeper Petr Cech to the loose ball in the ninth. Cole equalized in the 21st by knocking in a cross from Florent Malouda with Emiliano Moretti also challenging for the ball. Drogba, who missed the 1-1 draw against Rosenborg with a thigh problem, started in place of Andriy Shevchenko in attack. Valencia coach Quique Sanchez Flores stuck with Hildebrand for the fifth straight match despite regular goalkeeper Santiago Canizares having recovered from injury. Though Valencia dominated the first half, it fell off down the stretch. "At the end of the first half it was a pity we weren't ahead," Sanchez Flores said. "What counts in the end is not statistics but the number of goals. The small details are important and we made two big errors."

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