Four-star Chelsea open tour with win

CHELSEA opened their pre-season tour of Asia and Russia with a comfortable 4-0 win over Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Pharmaceutical yesterday.

Salomon Kalou, Frank Lampard, Argentinian teenager Franco Di Santo and Shaun Wright-Phillips all scored as Chelsea eased to victory in the southern Chinese city.

England midfielder Lampard, whose future at Stamford Bridge remains in doubt as he enters the final year of his contract, played the entire game at the Guangzhou Olympic Stadium, while scoring a spectacular chip at the start of the second half.

New manager Luis Felipe Scolari has already insisted the fact the 30-year-old has made the trip to the Far East with Chelsea is a positive sign despite speculation linking him with a summer move to join former coach Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan.

“I have said before, Frank is here, he is with us training and playing very well, he is an important player for us,” said Scolari.

“The speculation is normal because until August 31 there will be a lot of speculation.”

Portugal international Deco made his Chelsea debut alongside compatriot Jose Bosingwa and Scolari believes the former Barcelona midfielder will play an important part this season.

“I think not only Deco, all the players have to make a difference this season because this season will be difficult,” he said.

“Deco is a fantastic player and he helps the other players to play more. He is a different player because his style is different, but his style with the other players is fantastic.”

Bosingwa was withdrawn after just 20 minutes after making an impressive debut in an attacking right-back role while Joe Cole and Andriy Shevchenko were not included in the matchday squad as they are short of match fitness, but while Scolari insisted the Ukrainian will not feature in Saturday’s friendly in Macau, he admitted he was more hopeful over the inclusion of the England midfielder.

Meanwhile, new Fulham signings Bobby Zamora and John Pantsil could not prevent the Cottagers from losing 1-0 to Busan L’Park in the club’s first game of their pre-season tour to South Korea.

Busan, currently at the foot of the Korean K-League, took the lead 12 minutes into the second half courtesy of Choi Ki Suk’s deflected shot.

Zamora, who signed from West Ham for £4.8million (€6m) last week, lined up alongside David Healy in attack for the Cottagers.

The pair both had chances early on, most notably Zamora, who headed over from six yards 10 minutes into the game at the Asiad Main Stadium.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson brought five players on for the second half including Jimmy Bullard, who has been linked with a return to Wigan.

Hodgson also replaced David Stockdale with trialist keeper Pascal Zuberbuhler at the break but the Swiss keeper could not prevent Choi’s deflected shot from giving the home side the win.

Fulham face Ulsan Hyundai in the final match of their tour on Saturday.

West Brom new boy Marek Cech caught the eye as he crowned his Albion debut by firing Tony Mowbray’s men ahead.

The £1.4m (€1.7m) Slovakian left-back netted in the 20th minute, albeit with the help of a huge deflection, but the Baggies are still awaiting their first pre-season win after being caught cold by David Bird’s 79th-minute sucker punch.

Fellow new arrival Scott Carson also made his bow against the League One side.The £3.25m (€4.1m) signing enjoyed a quiet first half but did well to keep the game goalless with a vital double save before being subbed at half-time.

At Tolka Park, Shelbourne played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with a visiting Leeds United side.

Eircom League First Division top scorer Willo Flood fired the Reds in front mid way through the first half but the sides went in level when Manuel Rui Marques equalised for Gary McAlister’s side.

Derby County began their preparation for their bid to regain a top-flight place with a 1-1 draw with Oldham at boundary Park.

First blood went to the Rams as the lively John Oster’s through-ball was mis-controlled by Latics captain Sean Gregan, allowing Tito Villa to calmly convert on 16 minutes.

Five minutes later it was all square as Craig Davies carved open the opportunity for strike partner Chris O’Grady who struck from close range at the back-post.

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