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On this day: Dion Dublin hat-trick downs Chelsea

Back on this day in 1997, Dion Dublin scored a hat-trick as Coventry City defeated Chelsea 3-2 on the opening day of the Premier League season.

A broken leg ended Dion Dublin's chances of making a success of his stint at Manchester United, but his career was revitalised by a switch to Coventry City in the summer of 1994.

The centre-forward soon established himself as one of the Premier League's most potent centre-forwards, with his goals seen as a major reason as to why the Sky Blues were able to retain their status as a top-flight club season upon season.

He scored 14 goals as Coventry survived on a nervy final day of the 1996-97 campaign, but with Dublin having formed a positive understanding with fellow striker Darren Huckerby, there was renewed optimism around Highfield Road ahead of the start of the new campaign.

Coventry's opponents on the opening day - a match that was played 17 years ago today - were Chelsea, who included the likes of Gianfranco Zola, Frank Leboeuf, Roberto Di Matteo and Gus Poyet within their starting lineup. If the bookmakers were to be believed, it would be the visiting West Londoners that would go on to collect all three points.

It appeared in the 39th minute that the encounter would go with the script as defender Frank Sinclair cut inside from the right flank to fire Chelsea into the lead. However, within 60 seconds, Dublin had opened his tally for the season with a header from a long John Salako throw past Ed de Goey.

Chelsea responded, though, and they regained the lead in the 71st minute through debutant Tore Andre Flo, who had only replaced Mark Hughes three minutes earlier.

Norwegian international Flo was then presented with a chance to score his second and Chelsea's third of the afternoon, but he failed to keep his shot on target. It would prove to be a costly miss as Dublin darted towards the near post with eight minutes remaining to nod in another equaliser.

Then, just when it appeared that the spoils were going to be shared, the Coventry frontman pounced on a loose ball in the 88th minute to fire in from close range, completing his hat-trick and sealing all three points for Chelsea in the process.

Dublin would go on to score 18 Premier League goals that season and 23 in all competitions, but it wasn't enough to convince England manager Glenn Hoddle that he should be a part of his squad for the 1998 World Cup in France.

COVENTRY: Ogrizovic; Burrows, Williams, Shaw, Breen (Boland); Soltvedt, Telfer, McAllister, Salako; Huckerby (Lightbourne), Dublin

CHELSEA: De Goey; Clarke, Sinclair, Leboeuf, Petrescu, Le Saux; Poyet, Wise, Di Matteo (Morris); Zola, Hughes (Flo)

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