Key trio comeback boost Chelsea’s Champions League challenge
The aberration of a home defeat to Sunderland apart, Chelsea have kept clean sheets in all five other of their last six matches. Coral are therefore offering a special bet of 3/1 on the Blues winning to nil in 90 minutes in their Champions League semi-final second leg.
Jose Mourinho’s men remain the 4/1 outsiders to lift a third European trophy in as many seasons, but start as 13/10 favourites for victory this match (again in normal time). Opponents Atletico Madrid are rated as likely to win as a draw, with both outcomes at 23/10.
Mourinho is yet to taste Champions League triumph with the Blues in his stellar managerial career to date, but has done so with former clubs Porto and Inter Milan. Victory this year in the competition would finally complete the Portuguese’s Chelsea trophy cabinet.
Diego Simeone and his side, who top La Liga ahead of Spanish capital rivals Real Madrid and await the winner of this tie, are ahead of the Blues (evens) to qualify for the final at 4/5. All they need is a score draw to progress, so take odds of 11/2 for the game to finish 1-1 in normal time.
Atletico’s hopes of progression could lie on Chelsea transfer target and superstar striker Diego Costa. The Brazilian-born Spain international has netted 34 times in all competitions so far this season, and has scored seven in as many Champions League games. Back him at 7/4 to get a potentially crucial away goal anytime.
For the home side, the three front men of Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba have managed to score just 29 times in 99 matches in all competitions between them. Spaniard Torres will have the extra motivation, though, as he faces his former side, so take odds of 2/1 for him to get a goal against Atletico for the first time.
Simeone will be without suspended club captain Gabi, however, but that could mean a start for former Chelsea midfielder Tiago Mendes. The Blues are without suspended pair Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel from the engine room.
Mourinho has welcome injury news, though, with key players Eden Hazard and John Terry available, as well as Eto’o. Keeper Petr Cech, who dislocated his shoulder in the first leg, remains sidelined, though. Australian veteran Mark Schwarzer, who replaced Cech that day, and played in the recent Premier League win over Liverpool, is expected to be between the sticks again.