Cech's 50 stitches after blow to the face

Self-inflicted wounds have hurt Chelsea all season and there was another revealed yesterday when it emerged that goalkeeper Petr Cech had to undergo plastic surgery and have 50 stitches in his face after being kicked in the head during training by his team-mate, Tal Ben Haim.

The freak accident, which included deep cuts to Cech's lip and chin after the defender's studs caught him full on, occurred on Sunday with the 25-year-old now ruled out for at least the next two weeks. He was due to play against Fenerbahce tonight, in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final, having missed Chelsea's last nine games with an ankle injury.

Given the uncertainties that have surrounded the form of his stand-in, Carlo Cudicini, Cech's loss is another severe blow. Chelsea, however, will hope most of the action is down the other end of the pitch as they face the Turkish champions who hold a 2-1 lead after events in Istanbul last week.

The damage to Cech's face was serious enough for him to have to undergo surgery on Sunday afternoon, and there is always concern about his well-being given the fact that he has to wear protective headgear since suffering a horrific depressed skull fracture in October 2006. Manager Avram Grant refused to elaborate on the incident yesterday. "He was more than a bit unlucky this year already and he was great in training yesterday," he said. "He was very unlucky to get the injury and we think he will be out for another two weeks."

That would mean missing league matches against Wigan Athletic and Everton, with Chelsea no doubt targeting the fixture against Manchester United and, hopefully, a Champions League semi-final for his return. Anything short of comprehensively defeating Fenerbahce is unthinkable for Chelsea, with Grant aware that if he has any chance – and the prospects remain slim – of holding on to his job he has to convincingly sweep through this tie.

"This is my job and every time you need to ask this question and the answer is the same," he said when asked if he expected to be moved on should Chelsea lose. "I cannot think before every game to answer this question and my job is to prepare for this game and do my best. We have spoken to the players that this is a big opportunity. This season has been hard because there have been many difficulties but we have got to this stage."

History provides little comfort. Chelsea over-turned a first-leg deficit three years ago, when defeating Barcelona on an exhilarating evening, but failed to recover against the same opponents the following season and, famously, against Monaco in 2004 in a tie which many regarded as Claudio Ranieri's suicide note.

Not that Fenerbahce, despite winning their last six games, can quite be regarded as the same calibre of opponents. They are yet to win away in this competition this season, beyond a victory in the qualifying round. And although their coach, Zico, who may have fellow Brazilian Roberto Carlos, a one-time Chelsea target, available after injury, argued that they don't have to win he is also acutely aware that they will, probably, have to score. "We will play what we always play: attacking football," he said.

This is certainly the business end of the season and the experience which is throughout the Chelsea squad should see them qualify tonight with Grant calling on them to "dominate" their opponents the way they did Olympiakos in the previous round. Michael Ballack was one of the scorers then, in a comfortable 3-0 victory, and the German international is expected to reclaim his place having been left out for the victory over Manchester City at the weekend.

Ballack conceded yesterday that Chelsea had made their task harder having, he admitted, thought after 45 minutes of the first-leg "it would be easy". "But the game changed," he added. "We have to concentrate and prepare. We lost and we have to win. It's a long time since they [Fenerbahce] were in a quarter-final and they have nothing to lose and that makes them very dangerous."

The midfielder added that there was extra motivation in the manner that Chelsea were defeated in the Carling Cup final, against Tottenham Hotspur, and knocked out of the FA Cup by Barnsley – a result that appears to have fatally damaged Grant's prospects of remaining as manager.

"We went to a final and shouldn't have lost it," Ballack said. "It was our fault, it wasn't that Tottenham played fantastic football. The same against Barnsley it was our fault, and against Fenerbahce it was our fault. When we play our best football we can win every competition but we didn't do this in the FA Cup and the Carling Cup and we went out. It's our motivation for tomorrow."

One unanswered goal – which would be Chelsea's 200th in this competition – will be enough. It's a milestone that, for them and Grant in particular, it doesn't bear thinking about not reaching.

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before