Chelsea holds off Atletico Madrid 0-0

Madrid, April 23 (IANS/EFE) Chelsea contained Atletico Madrid here Tuesday to come away with a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal, setting up a decisive sequel next week in London.

Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe and his wife, Princess Letizia, were among the roughly 54,000 people who packed Vicente Calderon stadium hoping to see Atleti take a big step toward its first European final in 40 years.

La Liga-leading Atletico dominated in possession and scoring chances, but could not break Chelsea, even though injuries forced the Blues to play most of the match without starting goalkeeper Petr Cech and the last 17 minutes of regulation minus top defender John Terry.

The Colchoneros, who boast the stingiest defence in both La Liga and the Champions League, were visibly uncomfortable playing against a rival whose approach is similar to their own.

The English club sent only one man forward on offense, former Atleti stalwart Fernando Torres, who received a cordial welcome from the fans at the Calderon, unlike Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, a hate figure for Colchoneros supporters from his tenure at Real Madrid.

Three players – Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel of Chelsea and Atletico captain Gabi – are suspended for the second leg at Stamford Bridge due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

–IANS/EFE

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IANS