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Drogba injured as Blues draw
01 Oct 2008 - 21:51:40
Didier Drogba picked up a serious injury as Chelsea stumbled to a goalless draw against Group A minnows CFR Cluj in their latest Champions League clash.
The Ivory Coast international had to be stretchered from the pitch after suffering suspected ligament damage just past the hour mark against the Romanian champions.
It summed up a difficult night for Luiz Felipe Scolari's side as they endured a frustrating time against a well-organised and lively Cluj outfit.
Both sides had won their opening group games a fortnight ago - Chelsea thrashed Bordeaux 4-0 while Cluj shocked AS Roma 2-1 in the Italian capital thanks to a brace by Argentinian striker Juan Culio.
Scolari was without the injured Ashley Cole, Joe Cole, Michael Essien, Deco and Ricardo Carvalho while Cluj, who won the Romanian League for the first time in their history last season, started with players from Portugal, Argentina, Ivory Coast, Brazil and Uruguay in their line-up.
Cluj showed how they had shocked Roma in the first group game as they more than held their own, playing with panache and style.
In the 28th minute a superb Cluj move ended with Eugen Trica volleying wide and nine minutes later Alvaro Pereira rifled in a low left-footed shot that was only inches wide of Petr Cech's goal.
Despite the lack of goalmouth action, it was a compelling first half with Cluj causing Chelsea more problems than they would encounter in a normal Premier League game.
Scolari's side were far from convincing and Cluj could have been ahead at half-time if they had shown a bit more composure in front of goal.
Chelsea improved at the start of the second half and almost broke the deadlock in the 51st minute when Frank Lampard's close-range effort from Nicholas Anelka's cross was deflected away for a corner.
Five minutes later Florent Malouda's dangerous cross was cleared by Andre De Sousa who just got to the ball before Drogba. However, the Ivorian was injured in the incident and now looks set for another lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Cluj played most of the second period in their own half as they seemed to settle for a point but they almost snatched a victory in the closing stages.
Yssouf Kone forced Alex into an 80th-minute error and, when the ball broke to Trica, the Romanian crashed in a shot that clipped the outside of a post before whistling wide.
With two minutes left Pereira bustled his way into the penalty area and managed to force Cech to make a smart save as Cluj ended the match on top.