Sport Soccer

Sunday 28 May 2017

Terry accident adds to Blues night of misery

Mark Fleming

CHELSEA captain John Terry was breathalysed by police officers following an accident at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night that left a security guard with a badly bruised leg.

Terry's Range Rover clipped the guard who was holding back photographers as they surrounded the vehicle following the club's 1-0 defeat to Internazionale in the Champions League. Terry was at the wheel, alongside his wife Toni. He left the scene and was later given a breath tested at his home in Oxshott, Surrey, which showed he had not been drinking. Yesterday he phoned the guard to apologise.

Despite a police statement saying the man had suffered a broken leg, it is believed his injuries were actually less severe. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Police were called at 23.13 on Tuesday March 16 to Stamford Bridge to reports of a collision between a car and a pedestrian. London Ambulance Service and police attended where a 35-year-old male was found with a broken leg. He has been taken to a west London hospital where he is in a stable condition.

"The driver of a dark coloured 4x4 car failed to stop at the scene. No arrests were made though enquiries into the incident continue."

The player's spokesman, Phil Hall said: "John had no idea that he had hit the man, until he received a phone call from the club an hour or so later. John volunteered to go to the police station, and was breathalysed in his home at 1.30am."

The accident was an unfortunate postscript to a miserable night for Chelsea, who were beaten at their own physical game by Jose Mourinho's Inter. Michael Ballack is normally one of Chelsea's physical heavyweights, but he confessed that Jose Mourinho's Inter team were too strong for them and admitted the visitors won the individual battles on the pitch.

Ballack said: "In the second half we had no answer. To play against this team, they were defensively so strong and in every duel they were unbelievable, clever and hard.

disappointed

"Normally you find an answer because we are also a physical team, but we were not good on the night and we're disappointed. Their full-backs are very strong and we couldn't live with them."

Ballack's assessment was shared by Didier Drogba, who said: "On the night they were a better team, we couldn't play our game and they were stronger than us."

Mourinho's side came prepared for the battle, while Chelsea looked weary. When the home side needed to raise their game, they couldn't find the energy to match their opponents. Crucially for Chelsea, the four 30-somethings in their team -- Frank Lampard (31), Nicolas Anelka (31), Drogba (32) and Ballack (33) -- all played poorly while Inter's quartet of veterans -- Diego Milito (30), Walter Samuel (31), Lucio (31) and Javier Zanetti (36) -- all performed with vigour and vitality.

Mourinho is a master of trying to keep players fresh all season, going so far even as to rein them in during games to ensure they have the legs to last until the final game. Carlo Ancelotti's men this season have continued playing, and scoring, until the final whistle, and perhaps that caught up with them on Tuesday.

The frustration at being dominated physically was too much for Drogba, who lashed out by stamping on the ankle of Thiago Motta and was sent off. The straight red card carries a mandatory one-game ban which could be increased to two games if a Uefa disciplinary committee deems there was intent to cause the opponent harm.

Drogba's admission yesterday that his action was accidental may count in his favour, but ultimately it will all depend on what is written in the report by the referee Wolfgang Stark. Drogba said: "It's difficult. The referee was a bit hard (on me) for this red card. I stepped on not his calf, but his tendon, but it was not intentional and I was more focused on the cross and the ball."

Drogba was given a four-match suspension, which was reduced to three games on appeal, for confronting referee Tom Henning Ovrebo after Chelsea were eliminated by Barcelona a year ago. He was also told he would receive an additional two-match ban should he transgress again in the next two years of European competition. Uefa's disciplinary committee will meet next month to discuss whether that suspended ban should be triggered and added to Drogba's punishment. (© Independent News Service)

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