Chelsea stay calm in the Turkish 'inferno'

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The Independent Online

Chelsea were given a taste of the hostile atmosphere they will have to endure against Galatasaray tonight as they were welcomed to the "inferno" in Turkey yesterday.

Chelsea were given a taste of the hostile atmosphere they will have to endure against Galatasaray tonight as they were welcomed to the "inferno" in Turkey yesterday.

Gianluca Vialli's team emerged from Ataturk airport in Istanbul to be met by about 250 Galatasaray fans shouting abusive chants at them. Riot police kept the supporters back behind barriers, but a handful of stones were still thrown close to the team coach, and flares were lit to envelop the players in smoke.

There was also a police escort to take the players' coach to their hotel as dozens of cars occupied by flag-waving, horn-tooting fans pursued them out of the airport.

Chelsea have arrived with a cheque to be presented to the Turkish earthquake disaster fund, but much worse intimidation is still likely to await them inside the stadium tonight and one banner warned: "Relax - hell is waiting for you." Another read: "Welcome to the hell Chelsea bastards."

The sight of missiles such as lighters and coins being thrown at players during matches is all too regular an occurrence inside Turkish grounds, while flares are set off and even gunshots are sometimes heard.

Chelsea need at least a draw from this fixture, but should not be too worried by a style of of welcome which is becoming so commonplace for visiting teams it is losing its edge.

One player likely to suffer more than anyone else, apart from defender Jes Hogh, who used to play for local rivals Fenerbahce, is Chelsea's captain, Dennis Wise, whose fragile temperament was again exposed at the weekend when he was sent off for the ninth time in his Chelsea career for striking Liverpool's Vladimir Smicer with an outstretched arm.

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