Wednesday 23 April 2014
Chelsea are likely to be without Petr Cech for the rest of the season due to a dislocated shoulder while John Terry is doubtful for Sunday's Barclays Premier League showdown with Liverpool with an ankle problem sustained in Tuesday night's goalless UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg against Atletico Madrid.
"Petr Cech's season is over, he won't play again this season"
In a tight, tactical contest at the Estadio Vicente Calderon chances were at a premium as the Blues contained the Spanish Liga leaders who had strung together 17 wins from their previous 18 home matches in Europe.
Although Diego was an occasional threat from distance, sending one strike wide and the other straight at substitute goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, and Raul Garcia and Diego Costa each sent headers over the bar, the 41-year-old Australian was largely untroubled in the Chelsea goal. The closest he came to conceding was when he had to dive at full stretch to turn Gabi's second-half free-kick wide. At the other end Thibaut Courtois - on loan from Chelsea - had little to do save for collecting Lampard's long-range effort.
But if manager Jose Mourinho's side will be pleased at having prevented Atletico from scoring, they sustained potentially damaging losses in the form of injuries to Cech and Terry. The Czech goalkeeper was replaced by Schwarzer on 18 minutes having dislocated his shoulder when landing awkwardly after turning Koke's whipped corner over the crossbar, while Terry appeared to turn his ankle on 72 minutes.
"Petr Cech's season is over," said Mourinho. "He won't play again this season, but I hope he can at least celebrate something with us. For John [Terry], we will have to reach the final for him to play again.
"I think the result reflects the game. [Thibaut] Courtois hasn't had a difficult save to make, nor has [Mark] Schwarzer. It was a match for men: tough, tactical, obviously with more possession for Atletico. But with all the problems we had before and during the game we finished the match with this result and we will play the game of our lives at home."
Mourinho will also have to make do without Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel for the return leg, after they picked up yellow cards to incur a suspension, with Gabi missing for their opponents for Wednesday's return at Stamford Bridge.
"I wanted to win 5-0 and be in the final, but knew that would be very difficult," Mourinho added. "It is not easy leave this ground without losing and come out with a draw. It is not a great result, but a result that lets us play our final at Stamford Bridge.
"[Gary] Cahill did a great job, David [Luiz] started in midfield so it was not easy for him to step back to centre-back [when John Terry went off]. Ashley Cole was amazing after weeks without playing. Nando [Torres] was unbelievable. Every player gave everything. So I am very pleased with them.
"We had a few chances to score, but we didn't. So we come away with a result which means the tie will be decided at Stamford Bridge."
In the meantime Mourinho has the more pressing concern of preparing his side for Sunday's trip to Anfield where the west Londoners will strive to close a five-point gap on leaders Liverpool, with only three matches of the season remaining.
Tuesday 22 April
Atletico Madrid 0-0 Chelsea
Wednesday 23 April
Real Madrid v Bayern Munich