Friday, September 22, 2023

Cech ready to end Champions League misery

Petr Cech insists Chelsea are ready to finally end their Champions League misery against Liverpool in Wednesday’s decisive semi-final second leg.

The Blues have lost at this stage to Rafa Benitez’s side twice in the last three seasons and also crashed out in the last four against Monaco.

Cech is desperate to make it fourth time lucky and he knows Chelsea have a golden chance after John Arne Riise’s own goal gave them a 1-1 draw in the first leg last week.

The Czech goalkeeper, who is only just back in action after surgery on a horrific facial injury, is confident the chance to erase the bitter memories of those agonising near-misses will provide Chelsea with all the incentive they need to finish the job at Stamford Bridge.

“We all remember the moment we lost the semi-finals and this is a moment we don’t want to repeat,” he said.

“I think now could be the time to finally do it. Everyone knows what we are playing for.

“We showed many times that we have the mental strength. We just need a bit of luck, which we didn’t have in the last two semi-finals. We had a bit in the first leg and we hope it will be decisive.”

Morale at the Bridge is sky-high after Saturday’s Premier League win over Manchester United breathed new life into the title race and Cech believes Chelsea’s late surge is perfectly-timed.

“I think at this moment it could be an advantage for us because we had a big game which we won. Now we have another big game,” he said.

“It is important. If you drop points at the start of the season it doesn’t really matter. If you are in form at the end of the season in big games that makes a difference. We have showed a lot of character in big games.”

A goalless draw would be enough to send Chelsea through to the final in Moscow, but Cech claimed his side have no intention of playing a cautious game because that would give Benitez’s team the advantage.

“It is always difficult to start a game thinking about 0-0. We will play the game with a positive spirit,” Cech said.

“We want to make sure we score a goal because that will make it even more difficult for them. From the first minute we will try to score.

“Of course we know that the longer the game goes at 0-0 the better that is for us.”


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