After drawing at Club Atlético de Madrid, APOEL FC are aiming for a spectacular home debut against a Chelsea FC side "under the right kind of pressure" after a weekend loss according to Carlo Ancelotti.
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After drawing 0-0 at Club Atlético de Madrid, APOEL FC are aiming for a spectacular home debut against a Chelsea FC side "under the right kind of pressure" after a weekend loss according to Carlo Ancelotti. That could be ominous for the Cypriot hosts, who will be without injured Polish strikers Marcin Żewłakow and Adrian Sikora though they do have Matchday 1 hero Dionisios Chiotis available after a back problem.
Ivan Jovanović, APOEL coach
A team like Chelsea need no introduction. They are the best side in the group, a team which wants to win the Champions League and, for me, one of the top four sides in Europe. They have excellent players and an excellent coach who has already lifted the trophy. It will be crucial to start well against them, to stand our ground and perform to our best. We are hopeful that we can secure a good result. Even a draw would be good for us but to get a good result we need to exceed ourselves. We have done it before and we can do it again.
Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea manager
There is a good kind of pressure on the team after the defeat at Wigan. We are top of the group and we obviously want to win. It won't be easy because APOEL are a big team with lots of enthusiasm. They did a good job in Madrid, we respect them and we need to play well against them. The game against Wigan was a bad day for us and so now we look forward. I want to see Chelsea play like they did at the beginning of the campaign in the Premier League and in Europe. APOEL are well-organised in both attack and at the back. They are compact and this could be a problem for us. We need to check Ashley Cole's fitness after training. If he doesn't start then [Yuri] Zhirkov will come in. I will decide later whether or not to start with Joe Cole.
26/09/09 APOEL 3-0 Doxa Katokopia FC
(Sikora 12 52, Charalambides 39pen)
• It was APOEL's first league win of the season. The Cypriot champions have lost three matches in all competitions already this term, only one defeat fewer than they suffered in the whole of last term.
26/09/09 Wigan Athletic FC 3-1 Chelsea
(Bramble 16, Rodallega 53pen, Scharner 90; Drogba 47)
• Chelsea's perfect start to the Premier League season was ended at Wigan, Ancelotti tasting defeat as Chelsea manager for the first time after eight successive victories in all competitions. Petr Čech was sent off for the first time in his Chelsea career after conceding the penalty and the Blues ended with nine men as, having used their allocation of substitutes, Ashley Cole went off with a knee injury late on.
• Drogba's goal was his 100th for the club, the milestone coming in 224 games.
• The 3-0 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur FC on 20 September was Chelsea's eleventh successive league win, eclipsing the previous club record of ten set in January 2006.
Out: Paulo Jorge (leg muscle tear), Marcin Żewłakow (knee), Joost Broerse (leg muscle strain), Adrian Sikora (knee),
Doubtful: Kamil Kosowski (knee)
Misses next match if booked: none
Out: Alex (groin), Deco (calf), Michael Ballack (calf), Daniel Sturridge (calf), John Mikel Obi (ankle)
Doubtful: Ashley Cole (knee)
Suspended: José Bosingwa and Didier Drogba began two and three-match bans respectively against Porto.
Misses next match if booked: none
• APOEL won all three of their home games in qualifying, starting with a 3-0 victory over EB/Streymur which confirmed a 5-0 aggregate win. In the third qualifying round they beat FK Partizan 2-0 at home for an overall 2-1 triumph and then in the play-off round against FC København overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit with a 3-1 home success.
• However, in UEFA competitions proper, the Cypriot champions have a poor recent home record. In the UEFA Cups of 2000/01, 2003/04, 2005/06 and 2008/09, home defeats in the first round contributed to their eliminations.
• Chelsea failed to win on their travels in last season's group stage, drawing with CFR 1907 Cluj and FC Girondins de Bordeaux either side of a 3-1 defeat by AS Roma.
• Since a 2-1 defeat by Fenerbahçe SK in the 2007/08 quarter-final first leg, Chelsea have played seven away games in the UEFA Champions League, not including their defeat in the 2008 final in Moscow against Manchester United FC. They have drawn five, won one and lost one.
Did you know?
APOEL's Nuno Morais signed for Chelsea from FC Penafiel in August 2004 soon after José Mourinho had taken charge of the London club. He made his debut in an FA Cup victory over Scunthorpe United FC in January 2005 but made only two Premier League appearances against Manchester United and Everton FC before joining the Cypriot club in May 2007.