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Chelsea draw with Atletico in Spain
23 Apr 2014 10:10
Jose Mourinho was unapologetically grumpy on the eve of the Champions League semi-final first leg at Atletico Madrid and his team were unwaveringly stubborn in a 0-0 draw at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.
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Chelsea lost 2-1 to Sunderland in the Premier League last Saturday to leave Mourinho in a sour mood and the European Cup they won in 2012 their most likely trophy chance this term.
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Mourinho, appearing in the semi-finals for a fifth successive season, was returning to the city which was his home for three years while Real boss as he seeks a third European Cup win on May 24 in Lisbon after successes with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010.
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The Portuguese opted for a defensive approach against Atletico, who had never lost to English visitors in nine previous matches and were the last unbeaten team in the competition.
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Los Rojiblancos, in the last four for the first time in 40 years, appeared undeterred by the pedigree of Chelsea and Mourinho in the competition, but encountered a black wall of shirts.
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Striker Fernando Torres, starting against his former club, cut an isolated figure as the visitors packed men behind the ball, with Gary Cahill marshalling dangerman Diego Costa superbly.
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Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, playing against his parent club, was a spectator for much of the contest, which saw Chelsea's long-time number one Petr Cech go off injured, clutching his shoulder after a heavy fall, inside the opening 20 minutes. Mourinho has since said that Cech's season is now over.
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Captain John Terry also went off 18 minutes from time, forcing a defensive reshuffle, but still the visitors held firm to frustrate Atletico.
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Chelsea are likely to be a different proposition at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday, but they could be without three stalwarts in Cech, Terry and Frank Lampard, who will serve a suspension following a second-half booking.
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Like Lampard, who might have been shown a second yellow card for handball, John Obi Mikel will be banned for the second leg after being booked as Chelsea's approach came at a cost.
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