BenHaim cu­tupover Cech­mate

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BY CRAIG SIL­VER

CHAM­PI­ONS LEAGUE While Avram Grant cel­e­brated steer­ing Chelsea into the semi-fi­nals of the Cham­pi­ons League, his hopes of Euro­pean and Pre­mier League glory were dealt a blow af­ter fel­low Is­raeli Tal Ben Haim side­lined keeper Petr Cech in a train­ing ground ac­ci­dent. Since tak­ing over from Jose Mour­inho last Septem­ber, Grant has done well t o keep the West Lon­don team f i g h t i n g f o r hon­ours as he has rarely been able to name his strong­est line-up due to a se­ries of in­juries. Ben Haim, who has fallen out of favour in re­cent weeks, col­lided with the Czech Repub­lic stop­per who re­quired 50 stitches in an in­jury that needed cos­metic surgery af­ter the player’s studs raked down his face.

“It was just back luck,” said Cech. “Tal tried to clear the ball and I dived for it at the same time. We hit each other and he tore my face.”

How­ever, Grant could still joke: “This year I am more a doc­tor than a man­ager. I need to speak about in­juries ev­ery week.”

Hav­ing trailed 2-1 from the first leg, Grant mas­ter­minded a 2-0 win over Fener­bahce on Tues­day night.

Look­ing ahead to the Liver­pool clash, he said: “Of course I be­lieve we can win the com­pe­ti­tion. I am op­ti­mistic by na­ture.”

Is­rael has risen two places in the latest FIFA rank­ings to a record high of 20 fol­low­ing last month’s 1-0 friendly vic­tory over Chile.

PHOTO: DAVID KATZ

Tal Ben Haim

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