Chelsea, Atletico seek a way through

Teams meet in Champions League semi-final second-leg tonight and look for goals after a stalemate last week.

    While enjoying majority of possession, Atletico failed to break down Chelsea's defence last week [Reuters]
    While enjoying majority of possession, Atletico failed to break down Chelsea's defence last week [Reuters]

    The tepid 0-0 draw in the Vicente Calderon resembled a phoney war but Chelsea and Atletico Madrid will surely up the ante at Stamford Bridge when a place in the Champions League final is on the line.

    That semi-final first leg stalemate left Chelsea marginal favourites to progress although with no away goal in their pocket, Jose Mourinho's side will be vulnerable against an Atletico side capable of much more than they produced at home.

    We are up on a cloud from which we don't want to get down. The team has a level of conviction that has rarely been seen

    Gabi, Atletico Madrid player

    Atletico, closing in on a first Spanish league title since 1996, ran out of ideas against a resolute Chelsea rearguard in which John Terry and Gary Cahill spent most of the evening heading away hopeful crosses into the area.

    Chelsea got a massive boost when Mourinho said Terry was fit to play after recovering from an ankle injury.

    Need for a change

    But Atletico coach Diego Simeone needs a different game plan if his club are to reach the final for the first time since 1974. They enjoyed 64 percent of the ball last week but leading striker Diego Costa barely got a sniff of a chance as the two sides effectively cancelled each other out.

    Simeone's side, who have conceded the fewest goals in La Liga this season, have won their last nine Spanish top-flight games and are on a 14-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

    With a relatively thin squad he was unable to rest any of his regulars in the 1-0 win at Valencia at the weekend, although Gabi played down talk of heavy legs as the season reaches its climax.

    "We are up on a cloud from which we don't want to get down," Gabi, who will miss the second leg through suspension, told reporters. "The team has a level of conviction that has rarely been seen."

    Simeone, however, issued a word of caution.

    "La Liga is nothing like the Champions League," he said before referencing a weakened Chelsea's 2-0 win at Premier League leaders Liverpool at the weekend.

    "Chelsea has a great team, the possibility of rotating and winning 0-2. We face a very powerful team that will make it very hard for us."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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