Champions League Tuesday Feb 22nd Preview
Both Chelsea and Real Madrid face stiff away tests in the first-leg of their last 16 Champions League ties. ESPNSTAR.com previews Tuesday’s matches.
Chelsea travel to FC Copenhagen chasing their final hope of silverware this season.
Having all but surrendered their Premier League title as well as crashing out of the FA Cup, the Blues have only the Champions League left to play for in terms of silverware.
But despite the huge pressure on his shoulders, Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti revealed such a make-or-break scenario was nothing new for him, with the Italian having won the Champions League with AC Milan in 2007 in similar circumstances.
“The season is not finished,” said Ancelotti, who also led Milan to fourth place in Serie A that year despite the club being docked eight points in the Italian match-fixing scandal.
“A lot of times, I’ve been able to manage this moment.
“I want to remind you in 2007 it was the same situation and the Italian journalists know this.
“Maybe it could be the best season that we can ever have a memory of. Maybe it could be the worst. I don’t know.
“But wait, wait. Chelsea has not died. It’s still alive.”
Meanwhile, Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho was in a bullish mood prior to his side’s Champions League clash with Lyon.
“They’re tough opponents, who know how to play this kind of match, but we are Real Madrid,” said Mourinho in FIFA.com.
“The statistics are against us but they are figures from the past. If we think it’ll be easy, we’ll be in trouble. But we don’t think that. If we believe that everything will be decided tomorrow (Tuesday), we’ll be in trouble. But we don’t believe that.”
He added: “We are ready and convinced of our qualities. We’re not attached to the past and we respect our opponents for what they are today.
“But we are Real Madrid, the champion of champions of European football. There’s pressure but also conviction that accompanies us.”
FC Copenhagen vs Chelsea
FC Copenhagen: Martin Bergvold has not played a competitive match since 21 August because of a knee injury but has been a fixture during the winter friendlies. Zdeněk Pospěch and Dame N’Doye are within a booking of a one-match suspension.
Chelsea: Alex (knee) and Yossi Benayoun (Achilles) are long-term absentees, but Yuri Zhirkov is back in action after suffering a calf strain in Russia’s defeat by Belgium on 17 November. John Obi Mikel misses the next game if he receives another yellow card. Of Chelsea’s high-profile signings, Fernando Torres is registered but David Luiz is ineligible.
Lyon vs Real Madrid
Lyon: Lisandro pulled his hamstring in training on Thursday and will be missing, but Ederson is back in training having not played since August because of a thigh injury. Yoann Gourcuff (knee), Clément Grenier (thigh) and César Delgado (thigh) are all fit after lengthy spells out. Dejan Lovren and Michel Bastos are within a booking of a one-match European suspension.
Real Madrid: Pepe sat out the weekend win against Levante UD with a sore calf, while Gonzalo Higuaín could miss the rest of the season after suffering a slipped disc in November. Kaká (knee), Fernando Gago (knee) and Jerzy Dudek (broken jaw) have all shaken off injuries. Cristiano Ronaldo and Raúl Albiol will miss the rematch if they are booked in Lyon.
more on espnstar.com