Belfast Telegraph

Champions League: Chelsea stumble into last eight

Chelsea 0 FC Copenhagen 0 (Chelsea won 2-0 on aggregate): Petr Cech is confident Chelsea can progress further in the Champions League after they completed an understated passage to the quarter-finals last night.

A goalless draw at home to Copenhagen was sufficient after Nicolas Anelka's brace had earned them a 2-0 first-leg lead.

And Cech said: "We are in a good position, we did well and we are in the quarter-finals.

"Let's see the draw but we are confident, we have got a lot of experience. We don't mind (who we draw) — if you want to win the Champions League, you need to beat any opponent at any stage.

"We overcame a difficult period in our season and that made us strong for the Champions League.

"We're happy that we are through, what we were missing was goals — we created enough chances but we didn't take them.

"We needed to be careful at the back, any goal would have given them belief. The job was done, we kept a clean sheet, the only thing missing was converting our chances."

That in turn raised further questions over the Blues' attacking combination, with January signing Fernando Torres benched and Didier Drogba and Anelka failing to find the net. But manager Carlo Ancelotti maintained: "They are all fantastic players, we have a fantastic squad.

"We didn't need to score today because we won 2-0 (in the first leg). We had a lot of opportunities, we played well and had 24 shots.

"I will decide game by game, all the players are fit. The last game (Salomon) Kalou was important for us in Blackpool, and in the Champions League (first leg) Anelka scored two goals."

The cream of Europe will hardly be trembling after watching Chelsea waste a glut of chances.

With the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and even Shakhtar Donetsk sending out real messages of intent in their last-16 ties, last night was the ideal time for Ancelotti's men to do the same against the lowest-ranked team left in the competition.

Instead, they contrived to fluff at least a dozen straightforward finishes, allowing Copenhagen to salvage some pride.

Anelka, who had been so deadly at the Parken Stadium, was the culprit-in-chief but the Frenchman was barely more guilty than several of his team-mates.

The tone for Chelsea's wasteful evening was set as early as the third minute when Frank Lampard sent Ashley Cole's cross wide from no more than four yards.

Torres finally made his entrance midway through the half in place of a nonplussed Anelka who was withdrawn. The striker's team-mates did their best to tee him up but to no avail.

Belfast Telegraph


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