Mourinho’s half-time team-talk worked. Shevchenko brought Chelsea level, then Essien wrapped things up at the 90th minute.
Chelsea have refused to give up and defied the odds for a long time now, and in this, their toughest season under Mourinho, they will play Liverpool on 24/25th April and 1st/2nd May for a shot at Athens.
- Valencia 1-0 Chelsea (Fernando Morientes)
- Valencia 1-1 Chelsea (Andriy Shevchenko)
- Valencia 1-2 Chelsea (Michael Essien)
Despite Valencia’s claims, the tie is wide open – either Chelsea or Valencia could swing it, but while you’d expect Valencia to come out strong in this leg the game could hinge on how Chelsea play the first 45 minutes of the game.
Last time around, Chelsea muddled about and conceded before taking hold of the game. It was unfortunate but Chelsea were tired and it showed.
This time, Chelsea will have to play a blinder to come out tops.
Second Leg – Match Details
Date: Tuesday, 10 April, 2007
Time: 19:45 GMT
Mourinho will be hoping that Essien can make a return today. Joe Cole has already played 2 games and could be set for an extended spell on the pitch.
Valencia have their old suspensions to worry about but confidence is high because they know they can win or draw at the Mestalla with ease. Inter’s defeat in the second round will be fresh in their minds and they’ll know that it’s more important to prevent Chelsea from scoring than it is to score themselves.
Chelsea will rush at them, but at this point of the season it will be hard going.
The Spanish police has issued an ominous warning towards visiting fans, telling them to avoid provocation otherwise immediate and appropriate action will be taken. A zero-tolerance policy towards visiting fans, but let the home fans play with the friendly stewards?
First Leg Review
The second Chelsea showed up – the one that muddles about, concedes a goal, then suddenly wakes up, fights back and uses Drogba to get the equaliser.
This time though, they got the equaliser early in the second half but weren’t able to make that momentum – and home advantage – count as Valencia got the away goal and draw that they needed. Back at the Mestalla, Valencia will be a very tough team to beat and Chelsea have a fight on their hands now.
Chelsea 0-1 Valence
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Chelsea vs Valencia – with Liverpool virtually through to the semi-finals, Chelsea and Valencia will both have their own reasons for wanting a crack at Rafa’s team.
However, before Chelsea can dream of getting revenge over Liverpool and before Valencia can go head to head against their Spanish compatriots in the Premiership, there’s this small matter of winning the first leg at the Stamford Bridge.
Valencia will have to show much more than their usual testicular fortitude in holding the fort down against Drogba and Shevchenko while scoring the crucial away goals against Terry and Carvalho. It’s the toughest fixture of the four, and Valencia have a lot on their hands.
Chelsea? It depends on which Chelsea turn up. They can blitz Valencia away in 20 minutes, or plod away for 80 minutes, concede a goal and then score an equaliser in the last 10 minutes.
Joe Cole is rumoured to be ready for a cameo appearance at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. This will be welcome news to Chelsea fans who learned last week that Robben is out for the rest of the season.
Chelsea are favourites going into this tie, mainly because Valencia are a weakened side after the suspensions and injuries. Still, they have David Villa playing for them, and as long as Valencia can score at Stamford Bridge their dream of winning the tie at Mestella and going to the semi-finals will stay alive.
There’s been a lot of banter around this game coming from the Valencia camp, but such soundbites are ignorable at best, and outright pathetic at worst.
As things stand, the only thing that can defeat Chelsea is Chelsea themselves.
Or David Villa.
First Leg – Match Details
Date: Wednesday, 04 April, 2007
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Time: 19:45 GMT
Score: Chelsea 1-1 Valencia
Chelsea vs Valencia Preview
Early in March, before the champions league quarter-final draw was made, Chelsea and Valencia (along with Mancheser United), were my tips as the 3 strongest teams in the quarter finals.
Seeing Chelsea and Valencia in the other half of the draw, and better yet, seeing the two teams go up against each other means that Manchester United’s ‘luck’ continues this season.
When the draw was announced, the Valencia manager mocked Chelsea by saying that they were the weakest of the three English teams in Europe.
With all due respect to my team, I think that over 180 minutes, Chelsea are the toughest team to beat. Their will to win surpasses everything and since this is a two-legged affair and not a one-off game, Valencia will need something special (or a Luis Garcia-style goal) to get through.
Chelsea Recent Form
Chelsea have been in stunning league form in 2007, and with key players coming back from injury, they look set to push Manchester United down to the last game of the season (or the second last game, when United go to Stamford Bridge) in the domestic league.
In the Champions League, Chelsea have lost to eventual winners in the last two seasons, and lost to finalists in the last three. It makes for very interesting reading and if nothing else, it means that Valencia will have a hell of a game on their hands.
Valencia Recent Form
Since the champions league draw, Valencia’s form has slumped and they have all but fallen out of reckoning for the domestic title.
The international break will help the players regroup, but the fact is that they go to Stamford Bridge trying to find some form and will be up against a proud, on-form team that is pushing for 4 trophies this season. A lot will depend on how many (or how few) goals Valencia concede at Stamford Bridge, although they will know that going to defend against Chelsea is never a good option.