Champions League

Chelsea, Drogba eye reunion

2014-02-25 09:14
Roberto Mancini (AFP)

Istanbul - Chelsea renew acquaintances with former hero Didier Drogba and an old rival in Roberto Mancini when they go to Istanbul to take on Galatasaray for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.

Drogba was the hero of Chelsea's 2012 final victory against Bayern Munich, scoring a late equaliser to force extra-time and then netting the decisive penalty in the shoot-out that followed.

But the powerful Ivorian centre-forward was also one of the cornerstones of Jose Mourinho's first spell in charge at Stamford Bridge, with the pair arriving at the same time in 2004.

"It's a strange feeling," Mourinho said, having previously expressed a wish that the clubs would come out of the hat together before the draw was made.

"We know him well and that means there will be no friends during the game. We have respect for a real legend of this club before the game and after the game, but we have a job to do.

"It's in his nature to win and to score, but we have to stop him."

For Mourinho, coming up against Drogba is nothing new - his Real Madrid side beat Galatasaray 5-3 on aggregate in last season's quarter-finals despite Drogba scoring for the Turks.

The tie will also see the Chelsea manager come up against Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder, who was the driving force of his Inter side that won the Champions League in 2010 and moved to Istanbul last year.

There is also the enticing prospect of seeing Mourinho in direct confrontation with Mancini, the man he replaced as coach of Inter in 2008, and the man who locked horns with the London club during his tenure at Manchester City.

Beyond the sub-plots, though, Sneijder believes Galatasaray's inside knowledge on Mourinho's methods gives them a good chance of springing a surprise.

"Mourinho knows us well and that is an advantage but the same applies for us, we know Mourinho very well, perhaps better than the Chelsea players know us," said the 29-year-old, who also told Turkish media that his former mentor had called him immediately after December's last-16 draw.

- Hostile atmosphere awaits -

Chelsea did not exactly convince en route to winning their Champions League group ahead of Schalke 04 and Basel, losing both meetings with the Swiss side.

However, without the distraction of European football over the winter, they have emerged as serious contenders to win the Premier League title, a 12-match unbeaten run putting them top of the table, a point ahead of Arsenal.

Over two legs, they are the clear favourites to get the better of Galatasaray, even if the Turkish side progressed from their group at the expense of Juventus and can count on a hostile home support at the 52,000-capacity cauldron of the Turk Telekom Arena.

Mancini's side beat city rivals Besiktas 1-0 at the weekend with a Selcuk Inan penalty to keep the pressure on Fenerbahce in their domestic Super Lig, and have lost just once in 19 games.

However, the Italian insisted in an interview with British radio station TalkSport last weekend that something special would be required for his side to beat Chelsea, with a 6-1 home loss to Real Madrid at the start of the group stage indicating the size of the gap that separates Galatasaray from Europe's elite.

"We went through in a difficult group with Real Madrid and Juventus and I think it was a miracle," he said. "Now we are here and I don't know if we can do another miracle but we want to try. In football never say never."

Chelsea, whose January signings Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are ineligible to feature in Europe, travelled to Turkey on Monday evening with David Luiz and John Mikel Obi both included in the party despite missing the weekend's 1-0 win against Everton.

Oscar, substituted in that game with an ankle problem, also flew out with the squad, who would love a repeat of the scoreline the last time the clubs met in Istanbul in 1999.

On that occasion, they ran out 5-0 winners, with Norwegian striker Tore Andre Flo scoring twice.

Read more on:    manchester city  |  roberto mancini  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

Fixtures
22 April 2014
Atlético de Madrid v Chelsea, Vicente Calderón 20:45
23 April 2014
Real Madrid v FC Bayern München, Santiago Bernabéu 20:45
29 April 2014
FC Bayern München v Real Madrid, Allianz Arena 20:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which team will win the 2013/14 Champions League title?

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.