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Di Santo and Sahar make debuts


BLUENUT

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Not sure mate.

My dad said he watched it recently and they asked the reserve/youth team manager what type of player Di Santo was ''Lets just say he's like no other player at Chelsea'' was the reply.

Still only a kid, but sounds like a real prospect.

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di santo scored in his debut -- apparently not a stunner, but a goal is a goal (just ask sheva). here's a write up from the official club site:

CHELSEA RESERVES 2 FULHAM RESERVES 2

A spirited second-half display by Chelsea's young reserves ended a four-month wait for a goal and rescued a point, the side having fallen two goals behind.

Among the spectators at Brentford on Monday evening were Roman Abramovich and Avram Grant and they were treated not just to the fight-back, but also to a first competitive goal from their new signing, Franco Di Santo.

The tall 18-year-old striker from Argentina has built a burgeoning reputation playing in Chile and this game began in earnest the acclimatisation stage to the English game. His was a quiet debut, especially when denied service in the first-half, and he'll be hoping to score more emphatic goals than his equaliser tonight, but finding the scoresheet on his reserve debut can only give confidence.

The first Chelsea goal was scored by Jimmy Smith, the most experienced member of the side who was asked to take on not just the captaincy but also an unfamiliar place at centre-back.

Against a Fulham side with a smattering of seasoned first team players plus £3 million pound January signing, Eddie Johnson, Chelsea started by dominating possession.

Then out of the blue, Fulham's experienced New Zealander Simon Elliot caught a volley from a Chelsea clearance sweetly from the edge of the area, the ball looping beyond Rhys Taylor and onto the post.

On 12 minutes, a run by Johnson was followed by a shot from the US international and it needed an accomplished close range save from Taylor to palm out the cross.

Having survived, Chelsea looked for our own chances and a Sahar cross sought out Di Santo on the far side but the clearing header came in.

Fulham winger Ismael Ehui was allowed to shoot from the edge of the area, Taylor saving, before Chelsea went straight up the other end via a pass from right-back Shaun Cummings. Ben Sahar, making his first reserve start of the season, drew a near-post save from Ricardo Batista with an acute angle shot. There were 22 minutes on the clock.

Former Chelsea youth team product Ian Pearce, now 33, came up from the Fulham back and shot wide before Elliott again tried his luck from distance. Fulham were well up on attempts on goal, even if most were long-range.

That could not be said of their 27th minute opener, scored by the head of Seol Ki-Hyeon from only five yards out as he met a corner ahead of marker Cummings. A simple set-piece success for the visitors.

Batista need to dive in at the feet of Sahar to keep Chelsea out after the Fulham defence was sluggish on 29 minutes. The Israeli then took Sinclair's pass and shot wide from 20 yards with a worthy effort.

In stoppage time before the break came the quality Chelsea moment of the half. Scott Sinclair (pictured), who had been kept far too periphery to the action, came inside and dummied space before releasing a shot towards the top corner. It took a very good full length save from the Portuguese keeper to prevent an equaliser.

After a poor first 45 minutes, Chelsea started the second half much refreshed and a Sahar shot was on its way in until deflected past the post via a defender. The good, short spell made Fulham's second goal a painful blow - Michael Timlin expertly guiding a free-kick into the far top corner.

The response however was positive. Sahar and Tejera worked a cross, just missed by Di Santo but it ran through to Sinclair who hammered it at goal, again to be denied by quality goalkeeping.

Unbowed, Chelsea instantly won a free-kick on the right which Sinclair struck low into the danger zone. It was half-cleared but Smith was on hand to smack it home, showing good technique in keeping the ball down. At last the six-game goal drought was over.

On 64 minutes, Sinclair forced Batista into a scrambling save with a low shot. Hoping to impress Avram Grant ahead of the weekend's FA Cup game, the winger was now at the heart of most good Chelsea moments.

Chelsea were in the ascendant. Sinclair and substitute Miroslav Stoch tore Fulham open down the left, only for Sahar to stab his shot agonisingly wide of the far post.

Fulham defender Nathan Ashton was the only booking in an otherwise disciplined encounter for sending Stoch tumbling.

With six minutes remaining, Chelsea survived a rare Fulham second-half attack, Taylor diving full length to save an under-hit Johnson shot.

With 89 minutes on the clock, the equaliser went in. Di Santo attacked a Sinclair corner and rolled a tame shot on target. Substitute Gaël Kakuta missed his touch but succeed as a distraction and Fulham allowed the ball across the line via a deflection off Ashton.

Deep into stoppage time, there was a chance to complete the story. Sinclair's free-kick was on-target but was tipped over by the impressive Baptista.

Chelsea Rhys Taylor; Shaun Cummings (Gaël Kakuta 81), Carl Magnay, Jimmy Smith ©, Patrick van Aanholt; Jacob Mellis, Sergio Tejera, Michael Woods (Miroslav Stoch 60); Ben Sahar, Franco Di Santo, Scott Sinclair.

Fulham Ricardo Baptista, Elliot Omozusi, Nathan Ashton, Ian Pearce ©, Toni Kallio, Simon Elliott (Matthew Briggs 63), Wayne Brown, Michael Timlin, Eddie Johnson, Seol Ki-Hyeon, Ismael Ehui.

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he had a decent debut. looks very hard working, quicker than i expected and had a very good first touch. cummings had a pretty good game, magnay impressed me again (very much a young jt in the making), and stoch did well coming of the bench. other than that no one really stood out. but they showed excellent character to come back from 2-0 down.

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