An in-from Chelsea will face an inspired, confident CFR Cluj on Wednesday (1 October 2008) in a Champions league showdown. Both the sides are confident ahead of the match. Premier league club Chelsea started their Champions league 2008-2009 campaign with a 4-0 victory over French club Bordeaux. CFR Cluj, on the other hand, is not as big a club like Chelsea, but they are the defending champion of Romanian Liga 1 and thus qualified for the Champions League group stage for the first team. Most importantly, CFR Cluj produced the biggest upset of the tournament so far, defeating Italian club Roma away from home in their very first match in Champions League. No doubt, they are now looking to build on their impressive 2-1 victory at Roma.
Match: CFR Cluj vs Chelsea, Group A, Champions League 2008-2009
Date: 1 October 2008, Wednesday
Venue: Dr. Constantin Radulescu, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Kick off: 19:45 BST (British Standard Time)
Chelsea started off well this season under their new boss Luiz Felipe Scolari. The Blues are currently leading the premier league point table with 14 points from six matches. Their top form has been proven enough to dominate both in premier league and domestic league. Scolari has not suffered any defeat since joining the West London club in summer. Out of their last seven matches in all competitions, Chelsea won five and drew two. So, it is for sure that Chelsea will go into the match with full of confidence.
Romanian champion CFR Cluj stunned the football world with their excellent away victory at Roma in their Champions league opener. I think, this is one of the biggest upsets by a debut team in Champions league. Interesting thing is that CFR Cluj is the first Romanian club from outside Romanian capital Bucharest to have entered into Champions League group stage. So, CFR Cluj has already showed what they can do in their days.
However, the defending champions could not make a good start in Liga 1 this season. After 9 matches, CFR Cluj secures 5th place with 15 points, 7 points behind leader Dinamo. Since their away defeat at FC Vaslui 2-1, CFR Cluj has been playing consistently well. In their recent league encounter, Cluj drew 1-1 against title challenger FC Steaua Bucuresti. In their last seven outings in all competitions, CFR Cluj won three, drew three and lost one. Though their domestic performance has not been as good as it was supposed to be, CFR Cluj has impressed all with their victory over Roma in Champions league.
CFR Cluj will have home advantage against Chelsea. So, that would also help the Romanian club to hope for another stunning performance. They will surely look to build on their 2-0 victory against Roma. The man who was instrumental behind CFR Cluj’s historic victory at Roma is Argentine midfielder Juan Emmanuel Culio who joined the club in 2007, after being overlooked by many Argentine clubs. After 18 months of his arrival in Romania, football fans in Romania call for giving him the Romanian citizenship so that he can play for Romanian national team. No doubt, the midfielder will have to play a vital role against Chelsea too in order to bring out another impressive performance in Champions league.
Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari may not have any worry for the performance of Chelsea. However, the Brazilian manager has a lot to worry as his injury list is only extending day by day. Michael Essien, Anderson, Deco and Ricardo Carvalho are already out with injury for a number of weeks. Now, he has got to worry about two of his first choice wingers- Joe Cole and Salomon Kalou. Joe Cole missed Saturday’s 2-0 away victory at Stroke City with slight tear in his thigh muscle, while Salomon Kalou was limped off the field with an ankle injury at the half time. Manager Scolari could not say anything about Kalou’s injury, but the manager would assess the condition of Joe Cole. However, he confirmed that Deco and Ricardo Carvalho are out of CFR Cluj encounter.
Well, despite the injury list mounting, Luiz Felipe Scolari is glad with the performance of his boys. He also thinks that Chelsea is now in good shape and the players are playing at their best.
The Press association reported:
He said: "My team is in good condition and we are keeping our shape well. We are now at our best. All my players know their position and how to cover for each other if necessary. If a player makes a mistake, another one helps him out and that is important."
He added: "We have won most of our matches and drawn only two. We have confidence as we have good players."
So, it is pretty much sure that Chelsea is very confident ahead of their trip to Cluj-Napoca, Romania, despite the injury problems. The good news for Chelsea is that Michael Ballack is now in his way to return to form. The German Captain played very well against Stroke City, supplying flurry of chances for the strikers. So, Ballack will have to play an important role against CFR Cluj in the absence of two key midfielders: Michael Essien and Deco.
Online Live Score and Updates
Fans of both sides are eagerly waiting for the match. Though the match will be telecast in television, still many fans might miss it due to lack of time. So, for those who will not be able to watch the match on television, here I am giving some names of online live score websites from where you can get the live score and updates of the match:
Live Football Scores
Considering the strength and experience, Chelsea is definitely favorite against CFR Cluj. However, Roma was also favorite against CFR Cluj. So, starting the match wit favorite’s tag may not work for Chelsea unless they continue their top football and keep the pressure on CFR Cluj. As the host side has nothing to lose, they might play all out football from the beginning. So, Chelsea’s injury-hit midfield and defense have to face strong challenge from the home side. However, one or two early strikes for either side in the match might be decisive because both the sides have some quality defenders to defend an early-taken lead in the match.