Game: APOEL FC vs Chelsea
Competition: UEFA Champions League Matchday Two
Venue: GSP Stadium, Nicosia, Cyprus
Time: 20:45 CET
After securing a point against Atletico Madrid in a commendable effort away from home, APOEL Nicosia welcome Chelsea to Cyprus for their first ever home game of the UEFA Champions League. Expectations have hit the rooftop as supporters are expecting APOEL to reproduce the same kind of performance that enabled them to secure a goal less draw away from home. But Chelsea should prove to be a completely different kettle of fish.
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Form guide – APOEL FC (most recently played game on top)
v. Doxa (Win) 3-0 (Sikora*2,Charalambidis)
v. Enosis (Draw) 1-1 (C. Michael)
v. Paphos(Draw) 0-0 ()
v. APOP/Kinyras (Loss) 3-4 (Paulo Jorge, Haxhi, Mirosavlejevic)
APOEL secured their first win of the Cyprus first division this weekend and are lying mid table after four games. Coach Ivan Jovanovic also has a lot of injury concerns going into this one. Marcin Zewlakow is a doubt with a knee injury while striker Adrian Sikora, who scored twice in the weekend’s win is also injured. Defenders Joost Broerse and Paulo Jorge are definitely out, while midfielder Kamil Kosowski, forward Nenad Mirosavljević and Greek goalkeeper Dionisis Chiotis are only just back after absences. Nectarios Alexandrou is also available after serving a one-match ban against Atlético.
Form guide – Chelsea (most recently played game on top)
v. Wigan (Loss) 1-3 (Drogba)
v. QPR (Win) 1-0 (Kalou)
v. Tottenham (Win) 3-0 (A.Cole, Ballack,Drogba)
v. FC Porto(Win) 1-0 (Anelka)
Chelsea dropped their first points in any competition on Saturday as they lost 3-1 to Wigan. More importantly, left back Ashley Cole hobbled off in the second half and remains a doubt for the game. Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa are suspended for the Blues. Joe Cole and Yuri Zhirkov made their first appearances in the Carling Cup and could feature at some point or the other.
Match verdict:- Nicolas Anelka admitted after Chelsea’s last game that they missed Didier Drogba’s presence up front. With Drogba out, Chelsea will be tested by the Cypriot side’s defence. But I’d expect their quality to shine through and put at least one past Chiotis.
APOEL 0-1 Chelsea (Lampard)