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Nicolas Anelka saluted the fighting spirit which, allied to their undoubted skill, helped Chelsea FC overcome a stubborn FC Porto outfit and launch their Group D campaign with a 1-0 win.
It was Anelka's goal in the 48th minute that divided the teams on a night of incessant rain at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are used to winning on Matchday 1 – this was the sixth time in eight seasons – but Anelka and his team knew they had been given a fright by the Portuguese champions. "It's always good to win games when it's difficult," said the 30-year-old striker, "and we had difficulties tonight as we did last weekend [when an added-time goal gave Chelsea a 2-1 win at Stoke City FC]."
'Good to fight'
The victory against Porto continued the Blues' 100 per cent start to the season following five successive Premier League wins. "We are still winning and hopefully we will do it again and again," Anelka added. "It's good to fight. We have good players but also we have a good spirit. We showed it tonight and again last weekend."
Anelka's decisive strike came after he followed up his own shot and the French international conceded that his first chance to break the deadlock was easier than the effort which finally broke the resistance of Porto goalkeeper Helton. "I wanted to shoot straight away and I did that but the goalkeeper made a good save," he said. "When the ball came back to me I had to shoot again because I did not know what else to do. It was difficult but sometimes you have a bit of luck and it was a good moment for Chelsea."
Despite returning home with nothing to show for their efforts, the Porto camp were pleased with the way they stretched Chelsea throughout the game and especially in the final 15 minutes as they exerted serious pressure on Petr Čech's goal. "We have to congratulate all the team on the performance," said Helton. "We showed a lot of personality. I have to thank my team-mates for helping me. They help me every week; they give me great confidence and we do the same for each other every week."
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