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Chelsea challenge offers Žilina no respite

MŠK Žilina have lost all their Group F games so far and, after a record-breaking defeat on Matchday 4, face another stiff test away against a Chelsea FC team already sure of progress.

Chelsea challenge offers Žilina no respite
Chelsea challenge offers Žilina no respite ©UEFA.com

Chelsea FC and MŠK Žilina could scarcely have experienced more contrasting UEFA Champions League campaigns. While the English titleholders made sure of a top-two finish with a fourth successive Group F victory on Matchday 4, their Slovakian counterparts were slipping to the heaviest ever home defeat in the competition – their fourth straight loss.

• Žilina's first group stage campaign began with a 4-1 home defeat at Chelsea's hands, all four goals coming inside 48 minutes as Carlo Ancelotti's side offered a stern introduction to the quality of the UEFA Champions League, Nicolas Anelka scoring twice and Michael Essien and Daniel Sturridge also finding the net. Tomáš Oravec's second-half strike at least ensured the home team registered their first goal in the competition at the first attempt.

• While Chelsea went onto defeat Olympique de Marseille and FC Spartak Moskva twice, Žilina lost in Moscow and Marseille before the French champions inflicted a 7-0 defeat in Slovakia on Matchday 4 – only the second time a team has conceded six or more goals at home in the UEFA Champions League, following Brøndby IF's 6-2 loss to Manchester United FC in 1998/99.

Previous meetings
• The sides were paired in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, when the London side were 5-0 aggregate winners. They won 2-0 in Zilina and 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, John Terry and Frank Lampard playing in both games.

• Chelsea faced ŠK Slovan Bratislava in a 1997/98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first-round tie, winning 2-0 both home and away.

• Žilina's only previous contest with English opponents ended in a memorable 2-1 victory away to Aston Villa FC in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage. Defender Vladimír Leitner scored their opening goal.

Match background
• Chelsea, who in five of the last seven campaigns have finished as group winners, followed their Matchday 1 victory with a 2-0 win at home to Marseille, Terry and Anelka supplying the first-half goals.

• Spartak were then defeated in Moscow – Yuri Zhirkov marking his return to Russia with the opening goal and Anelka adding a second – as Chelsea made a winning trip back to the Luzhniki Stadion, where they lost the 2008 final to Manchester United FC.

• On Matchday 4 Branislav Ivanović scored twice in a 4-1 defeat of Spartak in London, extending Chelsea's run of unbeaten home games in the group stage to 22. That includes 16 wins and six draws with 40 goals scored and only seven conceded since a 2-0 reverse against Beşiktaş JK on 1 October 2003.

•  In the knockout stages, the London club lost at home to FC Barcelona in 2005/06 and FC Internazionale Milano last season, both in the round of 16. Before that Inter defeat they were unbeaten in 21 home UEFA Champions League games, including 15 victories.

• The only blemish for Chelsea on Matchday 4 was the late goal by Spartak substitute Nikita Bazhenov, ending the home team's run of 956 minutes without conceding in the league and UEFA Champions League at Stamford Bridge.

• After the Chelsea defeat, Žilina went down 3-0 at Spartak and 1-0 in Marseille before suffering their heaviest defeat in UEFA competition at home to the French champions.

• Žilina came through three qualifying rounds to become the third Slovakian team to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage, after MFK Košice in 1997/98 and FC Artmedia Petržalka eight years later. In the play-off round a 2-0 first-leg win at AC Sparta Praha put Pavel Hapal's side in the ascendancy before a 1-0 home success.

• The Slovakian champions lost 1-0 at Birkirkara FC in the second qualifying round first leg, winning the return 3-0. In the following stage they drew 1-1 at PFC Litex Lovech before a 3-1 second-leg home win.

Team ties
• In 2008 Momodou Ceesay went to London with a view to joining Chelsea but after a few days, and without the administrative details being finalised, he moved on to Belgian side KVC Westerlo.

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