Cech says referee Cakir can avoid courting controversy

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PETR CECH has claimed referee Cuneyt Cakir could play a key part in Chelsea’s bid to reach the Champions League final tonight.

Blues goalkeeper Cech backed Cakir to put in a strong performance in what was the 35-year-old Turk’s first knockout-stage match in the competition in tomorrow’s semi-final second leg at Barcelona.

Chelsea-Barca clashes have been dogged by refereeing controversy since the sides first met in the competition seven years ago.

Cech, right, who has featured in most of the Blues’ nine matches with Barcelona since 2005, said: “The referee can be a big part of the game. You could see that in the past.

“There were great games between us and Barcelona but there was controversy, which was a shame, overshadowing the great games on the pitch.

“We have an experienced Turkish referee (tonight). If you have an experience of refereeing Galatasaray and Fenerbahce in the Turkish league, a game between Chelsea and Barcelona should be fine.

“The referee will have the same professional approach as we had in the first game”

Cakir’s appointment did spark some conspiracy theories, because it was made by a committee headed by fellow Turk Senes Erzik, who has business connections to Barca’s sponsors UNICEF.