APOEL armed with daunting home record

NICOSIA - APOEL Nicosia, who snatched a surprise draw against Atletico Madrid two weeks ago, will try to use their stadium's raucous atmosphere to pull off another Champions League upset when they face Chelsea on Wednesday.

At their intimidating GSP stadium in Nicosia, the Cypriot champions won all three home games in this season's Champions League qualifiers by at least a two-goal margin.

With the 22,000-capacity ground sold out for the London club's visit, competition debutants APOEL can count on noisy support for a match against their toughest opponents in Group D.

"They are the best team in the group," APOEL coach Ivan Jovanovic told a news conference. "We need to exceed ourselves, something we have done many times and must do so again."

The Cypriots will be looking for a repeat of their performance in Madrid earlier this month when Atletico were booed off for drawing 0-0 with the unfancied visitors.

Asked if he saw any weaknesses in Chelsea this season, APOEL's Serbian coach Jovanovic said: "Minimal, probably none."

But Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti, still smarting from a 3-1 defeat by Wigan Athletic in the Premier League on Saturday, was not taking any chances.

"It will not be an easy game," he told reporters in Nicosia. "They did a very good job in Madrid, they drew but they could have won the game."

Chelsea will be without suspended duo Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa. Midfielders Michael Ballack and Jon Obi Mikel have also been ruled out through injury.

Long-term absentee Joe Cole has travelled to Cyprus but neither he nor Deco, recovering from a calf injury, will start.

"Joe had a problem in the last few days. He can start from the bench, also Deco," said Ancelotti.

Jovanovic will be without injured central defender Paulo Jorge and Polish internationals Marcin Zewlakow and Adrian Sikora. Long-term absentee Joost Broerse is not in contention but Kamil Kosowski is expected to be fit.


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