October 16, 2006

Cech has skull surgery after in-match collision.: "Chelsea keeper Petr Cech has undergone surgery for a depressed fracture of the skull after he was injured during the Blues' 1-0 win at Reading on Saturday. The 24-year-old collided with Reading's Stephen Hunt in the first minute of the game..." I watched Cech crawl off the pitch in order to get treatment. If they could only have guessed how seriously he was injured, noone would've let him move an inch. I couldn't tell but I don't think anyone could either.

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 12:01 AM - 21 comments

I watched this too. His skull? Really? I thought he'd done something to his knee. Wow.

posted by chicobangs at 12:07 AM on October 16, 2006

It looked like an accident to me. Unfortunate for the lad, and for Chelsea to then lose their second string keeper Carlo Cudicini to another head injury towards the end. Let's hope third stringer Hilario is up to playing the Champs League match vs Barca on Tuesday night.

posted by squealy at 03:09 AM on October 16, 2006

I saw the footage on the news this morning, looked like a total accident, so while I totally sympathise with Cech I do have to wonder about Mourinho's comments. Not a good time to be a goalie though is it. Two knocked out in this match. Plus Shay Given's life threatening knock a while ago. Must be something in the stars ;)

posted by Fence at 03:12 AM on October 16, 2006

I watched the match on tv and was shocked to read about this later. Cech's hit looked similar to a hit Nicky Butt of Newcastle United took earlier in the season. He had to leave the game with double vision, but apparently, he's okay now. Cudicini's hit actually looked worse. He was unconscious before he hit the ground. Pretty scary stuff. What's the rule on stuff like this? Is pretty much everything okay up until the point the keeper has the ball in his hands, or does the keeper get a little bit of cushion to make a play? It really did look like Hunt had tried to avoid hitting Chech, but managed to hit him in the head with his knee. Sonko's challenge on Cudicini, on the other hand, looked a little more reckless.

posted by psmealey at 07:12 AM on October 16, 2006

video recap. Man, those hits looked nasty. And all of a sudden it is all on Hilario. Or John Terry. Wow.

posted by gspm at 07:45 AM on October 16, 2006

Though there was nothing at all funny about the circumstances, it was amusing to see John Terry wearing the goalkeeper's shirt and gloves. I was kind of hoping Reading could test him a bit, just to see what he could do.

posted by psmealey at 08:24 AM on October 16, 2006

Surely having a goalkeeper called Hilario is just asking for trouble? Anyone see Mourinho's post match comments? His usual idiotic, kneejerk stuff:

"It is easy to see. Hunt knows what he's doing. It is an unbelievable action. Cech is lucky to be alive. He has the ball in his hands and is sliding with it as the boy comes in out of his head - no, out of his shape - and goes with his knee to the face. It is a stupid challenge, a challenge for a red card, a challenge for responsible people to look at," "The player went in with intent, he went into Petr's face with his knee. I'm not saying he intended to send Petr to hospital but the challenge deserved a red card."
I've seen the clip a couple of times now, and no way in a million years was that deliberate.

posted by afx237vi at 09:33 AM on October 16, 2006

Mourinho can't not say that stuff. It's his job to be the most outspoken in his player's corner, and he kvetches very well. It's part of who he is. Is he wrong? Sure. But I don't blame him for holding down the hard line for his boy.

posted by chicobangs at 10:33 AM on October 16, 2006

Leaving the question of intent aside, I'm surprised that Hunt didn't even get a yellow card for that. He was completely reckless.

posted by blarp at 11:58 AM on October 16, 2006

I have to agree with Mourinho on this one. This was Hunt's first league start of the season for a newly promoted side and I think he went into that challenge intent on being a hard man. He dropped his knee and the action looked beyond a normal running stride. I certainly don't think he intended to injure Cech...just to let him know he's there...but I definitely think he could have pulled out of that challenge. And I agree with psmealy that Cudicini's looked worse.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 01:03 PM on October 16, 2006

It still looks to me like Hunt is trying to get his foot out of the way of Cech's face and unwittingly catches him with his knee. He's been booked twice in total in his two seasons with Reading so he's not exactly a thug.

posted by squealy at 06:36 PM on October 16, 2006

His knee drops because he's trying to pull his foot out. How anyone can say it's deliberate is beyond me. Mourinho should back his players, but comments like that are uncalled-for and if I was Hunt I would be looking to see if I had a case for defamation of character.

posted by walrus at 07:28 PM on October 16, 2006

I'm a Chelsea fan and I don't think Hunt meant it at all. The damage was done mainly due to Cech's sideways momentum sliding him into Hunt's path after the ball was in the keeper's hands. A more experienced player would probably have pulled out way before Hunt did, but it was 100% accidental. The Cudicini challenge was reckless by Sonko, but again, I don't think he meant to catch him. The impact was worsened by the fact that Cudicini was jumping with a fair bit of forward momentum that Sonko couldn't have been anticipating. At worst a booking for Sonko, no action against Hunt. And as per the Gallas saga, once again it saddens me that the Special One has to act in such a hubris manner. Dave Sexton and Peter "The King" Osgood" would be turning in their graves.

posted by niall at 09:48 PM on October 16, 2006

Arsene Wenger weighs in on the issue. Food for thought: Do you think we'll see start to see some new rules protecting keepers in the same manner that the NFL tries to protect its quarterbacks?

posted by psmealey at 07:01 AM on October 17, 2006

Cech conscious, but likely to miss the rest of the season.

posted by psmealey at 07:03 AM on October 17, 2006

Didier Drogba says it was deliberate: 'Don't tell me tall stories, this was not an accident,' Drogba was quoted as saying by French Sports Daily L'Equipe on Tuesday. Click here to find out more! 'He (Hunt) saw that he was going to collide with Petr and he didn't try to avoid it. 'The worst came after that. When Petr was carried out of the ground, he (Hunt) was laughing...,' Drogba was quoted as saying

posted by Fence at 09:02 AM on October 17, 2006

'I'm not paranoid but they hate us', Drogba was quoted as saying. Right Didier. Sure. Whatever you say.

posted by squealy at 09:24 AM on October 17, 2006

With all due respect to Drogba -- whom I've enjoyed watching this year at the World Cup and the early part of the season with Chelsea -- I really, really doubt that Hunt did this on purpose. As others have commented above, the video doesn't bear that out. Drogba likely heard some stress-induced laughter on Hunt's part (it's no fun to knock someone out or otherwise injure them in a game -- unless you're a sadist) or something else he misinterpreted.

posted by psmealey at 09:38 AM on October 17, 2006

Some thoughts from three players who played the game in one of it's more violent and uncompromising phases: Ian St. John: "Rightly or wrongly, he thought he could put Cech under pressure but as he ran at him it was clear he got his feet wrong. In those circumstances if a striker is trying to do 'the goalkeeper' he leaves his foot in - not his knee. That is fraught with all kind of risks, especially to the striker. Mourinho said he 'dropped' his knee. Believe me, a striker does not drop his knee. That is an invitation to serious injury - a striker dropping his knee is an unnatural act." John Giles: "When it is the intention to hurt the goalkeeper the boot goes in - not the knee. I don't know how bright Hunt is but no one playing professional football over any length of time could be so stupid as to try to use his knee in that situation. It would be a form of professional suicide. No one who ever played the game for a living would dispute this." Bobby Charlton: "t wasn't a good challenge and you have to feel sorry for the goalkeeper but I have to say I didn't think it showed any intention to cause injury. It was one of those unfortunate things that are always going to happen in football." Only someone who has never played football at any decent level could argue that Hunt intentionally went to hurt the keeper. Like his comments about Essien after one of the most horrific and deliberate tackles I've witnessed on Hamann, like his comments on Messi diving when it was clear he was trying to avoid Del Horno's challenge, like much of what Mourinho says , a manager who has never played the game at any kind of decnet leve, his comments on Hunt smack of arrogance, overprotectiveness, and a complete misunderstanding of the game. He's a classless, whining pratt who has yet again courted controversy rather than honesty. Like his comments about the ambulance, which he claims took thirty minutes to arrive ... BBC Radio Five Live sports news correspondent Gordon Farquhar said: "We understand from the ambulance trust it was Chelsea's doctor who asked for the ambulance to be called when he realised Cech's condition was perhaps more serious than may at first have been the assessment." "At 5.45pm it was decided that an ambulance should be called. It arrived at 5.52 - seven minutes after the call was made - and at 11 minutes past six he was in hospital. So 26 minutes after the call was made to the ambulance, he actually arrived in hospital."

posted by walrus at 01:26 PM on October 17, 2006

Another opinion.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 07:18 PM on October 17, 2006

Hilario stood up to the test today, got to give him credit for handling the few chances that came through. Boulerouz really was impressive in shutting down Ronaldinho too. Drogba, big mouth or not, he had a brilliant goal to take the three points. Got to love Crouchie diving in to make the header, eh? Amazing that we've seen Liverpool more on ESPN for CL matches than on FSC, though we'll finally break that cherry the weekend after this one.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:51 PM on October 18, 2006

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