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Portugal relaxes COVID rules for English fans at Champions League final

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Portugal relaxes COVID rules for English fans at Champions League final

Portuguese authorities have relaxed COVID-19 safety rules for thousands of English fans coming to Porto for Saturday’s Champions League final, no longer requiring them to stay in bubbles and lifting restrictions on movement.

“The borders are open. The city and the country are opening up little by little. Within what is possible, freedom (of movement) will not be conditioned,” Porto police Superintendent Cardoso da Silva told a news briefing on Thursday.

“There are no restrictions of movement for fans.”

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Metropolitan Police Superintendent Lysander Strong said the two clubs had sent recommendations to fans to follow social distancing rules and wear a mask.

Since May 17, British visitors have been allowed into Portugal with proof of a negative PCR test result.

Silva said that around 80 charter flights with English soccer fans were expected to land on Saturday for the clash between Manchester City and Chelsea.

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Under the rules announced two weeks ago, when UEFA moved the event to Porto from Istanbul, passengers were to fly back within 24 hours. But police spokesman Marco Almeida said that now they can stay longer if they choose not to take scheduled return flights.

“Portugal is a nice liberal society and they (fans) are free to go wherever they want to go,” said Strong.

Eight British police officers specialised in dealing with football fans are in Portugal and will work with Portuguese police to guarantee public order.

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Chelsea FC

Chelsea vs Malmo: team news and preview

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photo 2021 04 06 16 21 23

Defending champions Chelsea host Swedish side Malmo on Wednesday in the third match of group H.

Chelsea are currently second in the group H table, with 1 win, against Zenit and 1 loss to Juventus last time out in the campaign.

Meanwhile Malmo are bottom of the group table, with no win and are yet to score a goal in the campaign. They will have to pull something special to go home with a point from the Bridge.

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Thomas Tuchel’s side will enjoy a boost in defensive options with the return of Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva, who missed out last time the Blues were in action.

The two centre halves missed Saturday’s outing to Brentford, as the Blues edged a narrow 1-0 win but were back in training on Monday.

Rudiger picked up a minor injury while on international duty, while veteran Thiago Silva missed out on training ahead of the clash with Brentford after returning from national call-up on Friday afternoon.

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Chelsea will miss the services of Christian Pulisic, who was absent on training on Tuesday, probably still nursing the ankle injury he picked up while playing for USMNT in September.

It remains unclear whether Romelu Lukaku will feature for the Blues as Tuchel has stated that he is “mentally tired” after being overplayed.

“I feel he is a bit mentally tired. For me, he’s overplayed. It’s difficult to judge if he needs a break, or is it better to keep him on the pitch?”

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The Belgian left the international squad earlier this month with muscle fatigue.

Lukaku had a remarkable start after re-signing for Chelsea, scoring 4 goals in 4 games but is now six games without a goal.

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Blow to Chelsea ahead of Juventus test as Kante ruled out

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Blow to Chelsea ahead of Juventus test as Kante ruled out

Chelsea will be without midfield maestro N’Golo Kante for their second Uefa Champions League group H match against Juventus on Wednesday.

Kante has tested positive for coronavirus and is currently quarantining, omitted from the Blues’  travelling squad to Turin.

The French ace is also expected to miss the Premier League tie pitting the Stamford Bridge outfit and the Saints of Southampton over the coming weekend.

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Blow to Chelsea ahead of Juventus test as Kante ruled out
Image Credit: Sky Sports

Manager Thomas Tuchel will also be forced to rotate his squad that suffered a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday, as defender Reece James and forward Mason Mount are expected to miss the action on Wednesday.

James was forced off after suffering an ankle problem late in the first half of the Man City fixture.

Mount is also facing a fitness test after he picked a knock in the  Carabao Cup win over Aston Villa.

New signing Romelu Lukaku will be seeking to get his name back on the score sheet after failing to locate the back of the net against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City previously.

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Predicted XI: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Thiago Silva, Rudiger, Chilwell; Jorginho, Kovacic; Havertz, Ziyech, Lukaku.

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Thomas Tuchel reveals why he blocked Callum Hudson-Odoi from leaving Chelsea

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Thomas Tuchel reveals why he blocked Callum Hudson-Odoi from leaving Chelsea

According to Thomas Tuchel, there is no way he could have allowed Hudson-Odoi to join Dortmund on loan.

Ever since Tuchel took over as coach in January, the 20-year-old has had trouble getting a consistent role at the club and has been willing to leave Stamford Bridge.

This is what Tuchel said when he was asked about possibly delaying Hudson-move Odoi’s to Dortmund:

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We have spoken. It was a very easy decision for me to make on the last day of the transfer period. We cannot let a player who is in the 18, 19 man squad leave.

‘He is able to play as a right wing-back, a left wing-back in the two No.10 positions. He knows the group, we know him very well. There was no chance to say yes on the last day.

‘For him personally, it may have been a good opportunity but for us and our targets that we want to achieve, it was simply impossible. It was an easy one for me actually.

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Thomas Tuchel reveals why he blocked Callum Hudson-Odoi from leaving Chelsea
Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

‘Callum has to overcome the gap between training and games. I see a stronger Callum every day in training and he needs to overcome this gap and show this kind of determination that he shows in training.

‘If he gets minutes, it’s never a gift. Nobody gets gifts because we take maybe hard decisions like for Callum not to let him go [on loan].

‘He needs to deserve it. I know it’s [right wing-back] not his favourite position but I think he can play this position and serve the team when it’s necessary.

‘Today it was necessary and still he can do better, still he can be more aggressive, still he needs to push himself absolutely to the limits.

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‘This is what he does in training and, as I said, he needs to overcome this gap to fight for his place in the squad. This is life at Chelsea.’

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