Authors Posts by Lorenzo Semino

Lorenzo Semino


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Chelsea joined Bayern Munich, Besiktas, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Tottenham, and Barcelona in Champions League last 16 after beating Qarabag in Azerbaijan earlier this afternoon.

Atletico Madrid have beaten AS Roma at Wanda Metropolitano and Diego Pablo Simeone’s men need a win against Chelsea in the last game of Group C in a vital game for their hopes of qualification. The league table currently sees Los Colchoneros sitting 3rd with 6 points, just 2 behind the Serie A side.

Atletico Madrid will face a must-win game against the Premier League champions next week, while AS Roma have a massive chance to get a pass for the next stage if they beat Qarabag at home.

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Chelsea players were full of praise as the team qualified for Champions League knockout stage and will be a part of the last 16 teams involved in the competition after beating 0-4 Qarabag in Baku.

CESC FABREGAS SOLER –Happy to be in the last 16. Time to recover for a big game on Saturday”

ANTONIO RUDIGER – Successful trip to Baku – Qualified for the knockout stages”

CESAR AZPILICUETA Great game from the whole team and 3 points that take us to the next round”

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Warm-up is underway as Chelsea and Qarabag will play a crucial game at 5PM in Baku. And official line-ups for the game have been announced:

QARABAG – Sehic, Medvedev, Sadigov, Agolli, Rzezniczak, Garayev, Michel, Madatov, Almeida de Oliveira, Guerrier, Ndlovu.

Subs: Kanibolotskiy, Yunuszada, Amirguliyev, Ismayilov, Diniyev, Quintana, Sheydaev

Manager: Qurban Qurbanov

CHELSEA – Courtois, Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rudiger, Zappacosta, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso, Willian, Hazard, Pedro.

Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Christensen, Sterling, Drinkwater, Bakayoko, Morata.

Manager: Antonio Conte

Kick-Off: 5PM BST

Venue: Baku National Stadium

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Qarabag head coach Gurban Gurbanov is confident ahead of next clash against Chelsea at home: “We are preparing for a tough match. It is an important match both for us and rival, – the manager said – We understand everything. We know the strength of our rival. We will try to fight on the field until the end. This is our last match in Baku.”

The Azerbaijan side currently sit bottom of the group with two points, while Atletico Madrid are just one point above them in 3rd place. Chelsea and AS Roma will plausibly fight for the 1st spot, with the Giallorossi currently leading the table enjoying a one-point gap on the Blues.

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Chelsea travelled to Baku as they face Qarabag in the Champions League Group C today, with kick-off scheduled for 5PM (BST). In the first game of this competition, the Blues easily controlled the game securing a 6-0 win at Stamford Bridge, before picking up 4 more points from three games.

Team News


  • Striker ​Dino Ndlovu is available again after spending a one-game ban;
  • Pedro Henrique is suspended and will not feature against the Premier League champions this evening.


  • David Luiz is expected to be part of the Antonio Conte‘s starting XI after reported bust-up with the Italian manager following the 3-0 suffered against AS Roma;
  • Victor Moses is sidelined as the Nigerian star is expected to recover his best form for upcoming Premier League clash against Liverpool;
  • Also Michy Batshuayi and Charly Musonda are out due to minor injuries.

Predicted Line Ups

Qarabag – Sehic; Medvedev, Sadygov, Rzezniczak, Agolli; Garayev; Madatov, Michel, Almeida, Quintana; Ndlovu.

Chelsea – Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger; Zappacosta, Kante, Drinkwater, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Pedro.

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Good news for Chelsea as defender David Luiz was part of the first-team squad in the training session ahead of next Champions League clash against Qarabag.

It is understood the Brazilian star was recently omitted from Chelsea squad from manager Antonio Conte “for tactical reasons”. The defender was also included in the provisional squad to face West Bromwich Albion, despite he didn’t feature at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

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Chelsea will face Azerbaijan side Qarabag without Victor Moses, Michy Batshuayi, Charly Musonda and Kenedy.

Anyway, manager Antonio Conte is confident ahead of tomorrow’s game: “I trust in all my players and I am sure of my choice, – Conte said – For sure I have to make the best decision for this game but it is normal to have rotation because we are have to play every three days”.

“But I repeat, this game versus Qarabag is very important as it is important not to arrive at the game against Atletico still waiting to go through, which could be more difficult of us”.

Chelsea have a chance to get a crucial qualification if they beat Qarabag tomorrow night, with Atletico Madrid currently sitting 3rd 4 points behind the Blues and AS Roma leading the table with 8 points.

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Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is keen to get a pass for the Champions League final stage as the Blues visit Qarabag in Azerbaijan tomorrow night.

“The first game was their first in the Champions League. – he said, when asked about the 6-0 in the opening game at Stamford Bridge – If you go to Chelsea, the champions, and maybe they were a bit [in awe]. We played a very good game as well, but I remember the first half was difficult for us”.

‘After that they gave Roma a really tough game here, they drew twice against Atletico, so we know we face a difficult game. They have changed a bit their tactics, they defend better, they have good strikers, and they are fast on the counter. I think they will give us the ball and try to make us make a mistake”.

Then Courtois added: “We are the favourites to win, our objective is to qualify tomorrow, so that means we have to win. For us it’s important to start very strong, to try to score early to put the pressure on them, and then hopefully we can have a good game and take the three points back to London”.

The Belgian international, when quizzed over his future at Chelsea, said: “The thing for me, the most important thing, is to perform well for myself and the team. Regarding my contract, that’s the thing where Chelsea must deal with my agent. I don’t think there have been any new developments”. 

“We have so many games at the moment, and I prefer to focus on the team’s games, my own performances. There will be time enough towards the end of the season to have talks.” 

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Chelsea will face Qarabag in Azerbaijan on Wednesday, and manager Antonio Conte believes this game will be the biggest of the season so far.

“We have to play the most important game of the season from the start until now – Conte told Chelsea’s official website – If we are able to win against Qarabag, we can go through to the next round of the Champions League and this is very important because this period from now until January is very busy, so it is very important to win the game”.

“For sure it won’t be easy because in the last two games they drew twice against Atletico Madrid, and before that they lost the game but Roma were struggling a lot to win against them so it is very important to be focused, to work and to try to win the game”.

The Blues missed a clear chance to get the qualification for the final stage after losing against AS Roma last time out at the Stadio Olimpico.

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Antonio Conte will visit Qarabag in Azerbaijan before facing Liverpool in a crucial Premier League game at Anfield. The Italian manager, speaking to the club’s official website, has backed Chelsea players, who have “always showed a great desire and will to fight in every game”. 

“I must be honest, these players always show great desire and will to fight in every game, – Conte explained – Against Roma, together we didn’t show this – me first. I always put myself before the players and I always take the responsibility”.

“In Rome we didn’t deserve to finish the first half 2-0 down, but the second half was negative because we didn’t show the desire to come back to try to draw it or win”.

“But I think this season, we faced a lot of problems from the start and now we are trying to solve these problems, to recall players, to find the right form for players like, for example, Eden and it is the same for Morata who is playing his first season in England”.

Victor Moses, as Conte confirmed a few days ago, could be fully fit for the upcoming clash against Liverpool after recovering from an hamstring injury.

“Then Kante is recovering good form and we know very well the importance of these players for us. – he added – We had a lot of problems and also we are trying to change something in the tactical aspect and to find different solutions, because when you are conceding many goals, it means you have to find a new balance”.


Chelsea joined Bayern Munich, Besiktas, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Tottenham, and Barcelona in Champions League last 16 after beating Qarabag in Azerbaijan earlier...