Oscar scored within seconds of coming on as sub to settle a truly awful game of football
It's important not to get carried away, so let's settle for saying that was the worst game in football history. It was won by a classy goal from the substitute Oscar, and Chelsea are all but through to the last 16. I'd love to stop and chat but there's another MBM starting in 42 seconds' time. Bye!
90 min There will be three minutes of added nervous breakdown.
90 min Uefa should fine both these sides for bringing the game into disrepute. What a stinker.
89 min Ramires destroys four low-flying helicopters with a 25-yard shot.
88 min "All you blokes discussing Valentines is keeping me amused tonight," says Brandy Thomas. Cool your jets, Dunne. "I am female and 80+, and live next door to John Terry, so have been a Chelsea fan for ever!"
87 min Roman Bednar, once of West Brom, replaces Josef Husbauer.
84 min Almost a second goal for Chelsea. Torres ran at the defence on the left of the box and struck a crisp, rising drive that was palmed round by Vaclik at the near post. That'was a decent save.
It was a fine goal actually. Oscar played a crisp one-two with Hazard, shifted the ball away from the last man Svejdik and passed the ball gently wide of the keeper Vaclik. A touch of class from Brazil's best young footballer.
Oscar scores within seconds of coming on. Rafa in!
82 min A substitution for both sides. Oscar replaces Juan Mata, and Manuel Pamis comes on for Ladislav Krejci, who was one of the better players in this soul-crushing game.
81 min Zapotocny's cross from a narrow position on the right is scuffed wide by Kweuke, 15 yards out. It was a half-chance at best; I'd probably say it was a 44.183901 per cent chance
80 min "Rob, you're suffering," says Jonathan Denness. "This may (not) help. Sparta Prague (numerous references) are the only team to knock Watford out of Europe whose current manager Gianfranco Zola (preamble) will not become the next manager of Chelsea (47min) whose "celebrity" supporter Tim Lovejoy (54 min) confessed in a Chelsea programme that he used to go and see Watford (presumably because it was better than watching Chelsea at the time) as his second team. A couple of answers: 22 min: yes, but not for long, 63 min: got one. Torres has never been the same since he had a normal haircut – if I remember correctly, Saint Sid said 'he has three haircuts, all of them bad'. Football last 90 minutes, good job Chelsea don't play test matches."
78 min Cech claims the lively Krejci's cross. Yes, I have been reduced to desperate a goalkeeper catching a cross. This is mogadon football.
77 min "Come on now, surely it's not that bad," says Robin Hazlehurst. "Nobody ever comes to the MBM for the football – and I assume I'm including you in that – we're only here for the, er, bantz, and there's a lot of that flying around tonight. The crack is great on here, I've never seen so many emails during one match, even if half of them are from Dunne. Who needs a good football match when you have a rocking party like this. Yeah!"
How do you know when it's actually a nervous breakdown rather than just a bad day.
76 min I swear to you: nothing is happening. Apart from a substitution: the Cameroon striker Leony Kweuke replaces David Lafata, who missed the best chance of the match in the first half.
75 min "Evening Rob," says Simon McMahon. "Bought some strawberries in Lidl today. They came in a heart-shaped box. I think Kurt Cobain would have approved, don't you?"
74 min Frank Lampard has just signed a book deal to write up some of the bedtime stories he tells his children. Could he not just shove on a video of this game?
72 min "Hey there Rob," says James Sprague. "With no horse in this race, I've decided to back S. Prague. Any guesses as to why? (Aren't we having fun!?)" Well I haven't cried for nearly 10 minutes now so, yes, I suppose we are.
71 min Torres, 25 yards out, shanks a miserable shot out for a throw-in.
70 min Crikey, a half-chance. Mata's clipped short-range cross finds Lampard 10 yards out, but he flicks his header straight at the keeper Vaclik. He needed more pace on the cross really.
70 min This is a game that not even a mother could love.
69 min Former footballer Yossi Benayoun comes on for Marko Marin. "I spoke to your sometime colleague Ian McCourt about finders' fees for wee Ryan Dunne," says Brian Power. "Are you all in on the act? If you throw water on Glendenning, is Dunne the result?" Ha. I can't decide who should be more insulted by that, Baz or Ryan Dunne.
68 min Husbauer is booked for showing studs in the vicinity of Ramires.
67 min A Chelsea player passes the ball straight into touch. "Goodness me" sighs the ESPN co-commentator Craig Burley.
66 min This game needs a goal as much as Beck/Baby D/Glasvegas/whoever else has covered that song needed your lovin'.
65 min Sparta have a long spell of possession, all in front of Chelsea though. Kadlec's long-range shot hits a defender.
64 min Precisely 119 months ago, Scott Murray did this. Hands up who knows how he felt?
63 min Who needs a drink?
62 min "You're missing the existential aspect here," writes
my therapist Mick Whyte. "Watching great games like last night is EVEN BETTER when you have been forced to sit through this kind of torture. 'The Europa League – sponsored made just about tolerable by Heineken'
61 min Mata's lovely scoop over the top finds Torres on the right of the box. He toebungs it back infield to Marin, whose first-time shot is blocked by a defender. Still, something happened.
60 min "I feel your pain," says Iain Fanthorpe, slipping on a marigold. "I am currently watching this game on Czech TV – with Czech commentary – even their commentators have been bored into submission. At least this game is better than the Sparta v Liverpool game a few years back . GBP 60 ticket, minus 6, only non-alcoholic beer on sale, 3 shots on target, ended 0-0. .. oh."
57 min Cahill, already booked, puts his studs on the back of Krejci's foot 35 yards from goal. Krejci flew through the air in pain. Some referees would have given him a second yellow, although I reckon a final warning is about right.
56 min SOMEONE BLOODY DO SOMETHING PLEASE. Please.
55 min "Seems like a boring game," says Andres Munoz. "I'm in school right now in the States. Reading about it." In class? What are you studying? Existential misery?
54 min "Forced to choose, Tim Lovejoy would probably pick The Bends as the greatest Radiohead album," says Ryan Dunne. "The prosecution rests Your Honour." No way! Lovejoy would surely choose Kid A, or maybe that 2011 monstrosity. I wish I could find, on YouTube, that clip of Lovejoy in his Ramones T-shirt.
53 min Hybs's decent swirling shot from 25 yards is comfortably patted down by Cech.
52 min Nothing is happening. Don't shoot the text messenger.
51 min "I would encourage all to watch next time a Chelsea player a low hard cross," says Brendan Large. "Torres will jog into the box, stand behind a defender, not make any effort to get in front of him and then look disappointed when his colleague doesn't thread the ball through the opponent's legs (actually these days he doesn't even bother looking disappointed. Oh and also, Lukaku is still on Chelsea's books!"
Torres does sometimes have the gait of a man in the throes of a thundering existential crisis. And who can blame him.
50 min Chelsea get a free-kick, wide on the left. Lampard turns wine into water with a poor delivery.
49 min "Come on Rob, Creep might be the unofficial MBM-er anthem, but Kid A is surely better than The Bends!" says Ryan Dunne. "Similarly, Radiohead's more recent noodliness still had some moments of Kid A-style genius, and personally I'd take Thom Yorke's solo album (Atoms For Peace is lovely) over the band's (relatively speaking) more meat-and-potatoes MOR moments. That said, Radiohead aren't as good as U2, the world's greatest band."
Ryan, you were doing so well until, well, the first word of that email.
48 min Gary Cahill mistakes himself for Franz Beckenbauer, as he did at Wembley last week. This time he gets away with it as Krejci shanks a 20-yard shot out for a throw-in.
47 min Okay, here's a question. Who will – not who should – be Chelsea manager next season and why. I reckon it might be Michael Laudrup.
46 min The bad news is that the second half is underway; the good news is that there's only another 45 minutes of this and then we can go and watch the darts. (Or romance the love of our lives; same difference really.)
"I’d rather have us playing with 10 men, than with Torres!" says Salman Majid. "Wouldn’t it be wiser, or even more sensible to bring on Oscar, and play Mata at the tip? Spain were in a similar dilemma, having only Torres upfront. They saw sense and played with Fabregas. If Spain can do it, Chelsea may well at least try."
Indeed. It's the golden rule of football, and indeed life: if in doubt, false your nine.
An awful game of football. But please come back in 10 minutes for the second half!!
45+1 min Another awkward dipping long-range strike from Lampard – has there ever been anyone who hits the target with such consistency from outside the box – is saved at the second attempt by Vaclik.
45 min Have y'all seen this film? If not, rectify the situation at your earliest convenience. It's awesome.
44 min Cech comes right to the edge of the area to collect a through ball, but fumbles it and has to lump it out for a throw-in.
41 min Chelsea, quite frankly, look like they can't be bothered. Their attacking play is miserably low-key.
40 min A thoroughly inept sliding tackle from Cahill on Lafata brings a deserved yellow card.
39 min Mata plays the ball into Lampard in the bench. He is under pressure and falls over, but the ball runs to Torres, who is also falling over as he stabs it straight at Vaclik from 15 yards. That wasn't as good a chance as the earlier one.
38 min "What a boring match!" says Salman Majid. "Off to watch ’Die Hard. And why Rafa starts with Torres instead of Ba is beyond any sense! Marin seems to be the only lively player out there."
Ba is ineligible, although I blame Rafa for that too.
Poor old Rafa. I'm surprised he hasn't been blamed for the recession, or David Cameron's hair, or Radiohead disappearing up their own airbag.
36 min Another opportunity for Sparta, with Lafata crunching a shot wide of the near post from 16 yards following a low cross from the right. He looks he has barn-door issues, as that was another fairly decent chance.
35 min Saying which, a Sparta corner almost leads to a Chelsea goal. A quick break ended up with Mata playing the ball to Torres, who stabbed a fairly tame shot from 15 yards that was blocked by Vaclik.
34 min It's all Sparta just now, with Ivanovic desperately sliding the ball behind for a corner. Chelsea have been really shoddy in the last 20 minutes.
31 min A preposterous miss from Lafata, A deflected shot came through to him seven yards out, through on goal, and he welted it wide in the comedy style.. He was actually in an offside position but I don't think the flag went up.
29 min This is the kind of match that could catalyse an existential crisis. Nothing is happening. Nothing.
27 min Krejci's deflected 20-yard shot kicks up a little awkwardly and is well held by Cech. It's as if the first 10 minutes lulled Chelsea into a false sense of security – they have lacked concentration and purpose since.
26 min "Haneke's beautiful debut feature The Seventh Continent, featuring a suicide pact between a primary school-aged girl and her parents, is one up on Amour as a Valentine's Day movie," says Phil Podolsky. "Also, I saw Amour at a late night screening in a poncy little cinema hall. There was a couple hugging and eating popcorn - during Amour, for heaven's sake!!! My outraged whisper, delivered in my worst American accent, did the trick and scared them off it."
You should have done the full Mark Corrigan. Actually, that's possibly the crossover between youth and middle age. When you are young you're the one talking or hugging; when you're middle aged you're the one getting annoyed by the people talking or hugging.
25 min "Does anyone give out chocolates to all the ladies at the Guardian the way I do in mine?" says Linus John. "Really puts me up a couple notches with the ladies." Christ no, morale isn't that good.
24 min Chelsea are back in control: of the ball, the game, their destiny and everything else.
23 min Where your career's going, whether there's someone out there for you and whether there's really any point keeping that Royksopp CD you haven't played since 2003.
22 min Do you ever wonder what you're doing with your life?
21 min In terms of entertainment, this game is exceptionally boring.
20 min Emails please! Don't leave me alone. <Risible cliche> Not on today of all days </risible cliche>
19 min This is Sparta's best spell of the match, with lots of possession in Chelsea's half, although it would be a stretch to say Chelsea are under pressure.
16 min Sparta create a chance from nothing. Kadlec's angled ball in from the right went over the head of a couple of defenders to find Lafata, who lost Azpilicueta near the penalty spot but volleyed a first-time effort over the bar. It was a pretty decent chance, although he was stretching.
13 min The referee could declare this a 2-0 Chelsea win right now and save everyone the bother.
12 min Sparta are playing exclusively on the break, and fairly ineptly too. They look like a team who know they are out of their class.
9 min While "Amour" certainly is an instant Valentine's Day movie classic, i think it can easily be topped by Lars von Trier's "Antichrist"," says Martin Hutap. "Maybe next year, Rob Coughlan?"
8 min Marin zips into the area and plays a fine reverse pass to overlapping Hazard, who clips a low ball right across the face of goal. I think he was caught between the cross and the shot.
7 min Chelsea are playing with the authority of, well, European champions. Sparta have hardly had a kick.
6 min Mata's classy disguised pass from the right almost finds Torres on the six-yard line. Holek gets the first and slides the ball behind.
5 min "Is 'Cech' Czech for 'goalkeeper'?" says Oliver Pattenden. As well as Petr Cech, Sparta have Marek Cech on the bench.
4 min Chelsea have started confidently, moving the ball around nicely. This strong XI should have too much for Sparta. Lampard's awkwarly dipping 25-yarder is saved at the second attempt by Vaclik.
2 min Valentine's Day wouldn't be Valentine's Day without ... an email from Ryan Dunne. "Hawrite Rob! Ah, the ol 'MBM the early kick off so I can clock off early for some hot Valentine's Day action' trick. Playa! Although everyone's heart weeps at footballers having to work at Christmastime like priests and Santa, surely Valentine's Day presents its own problems? Surely footballer's wives, like most non-single women, would be expecting to get wined and dined tonight, yet their partners are off playing football on the other side of the world! I'd have thought Chelsea's first XI would have tried to get out of tonight by invoking 'grief from the missus'. I hope JT, Lamps etc at least bought some roses and cuddly toys before leaving. Or don't you get Chelsea-themed lingerie? The Glorious Glasgow Rangers definitely do a ladies range!"
I want to adopt you as a house pet, Ryan Dunne.
1 min Sparta kick off from left to right. They are in burgundy; Chelsea are in blue.
"I’m actually skipping work and taking the wife to see Amour instead of watching this match," says Rob Coughlan. "That’s where I’m at in life. Absolutely nothing to do with the current state of Chelsea…"
Amour? On Valentine's Day? I suppose it's a bit rich giving romantic advice given how I'm spending tonight, but: Amour? On Valentine's Day?
Sparta Prague (possible 4-2-3-1) Vaclik; Zapotocny, Svejdik, Holek, Hybs; Husbauer, Vacha; Kadlec, Matejovsky, Krejci; Lafata.
Subs: Cech, Pamic, Kweuke, Vidlicka, Polom, Bednar, Janos.
Chelsea (possible 4-2-3-1) Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Bertrand; Ramires, Lampard; Marin, Mata, Hazard; Torres.
Subs: Turnbull, Cole, Oscar, Ferreira, Terry, Benayoun, Ake.
Referee Daniele Orsato (Italy)
Ah, Valentine's Day: loneliness, regret and the Europa League. Chelsea certainly didn't think they'd be spending Valentine's night like this. Last May, after nine years of
remorseless stalking unrequited love, they finally got together with The One: the Champions League. Now, on Valentine's Day, they are back in bed with the Europa League, whose booty texts they'd been ignoring for over a decade.
The last time Chelsea played in this competition was October 2002, when a team including Gianfranco Zola, Jody Morris and Emmanuel Petit – and with ambition's Winston Bogarde on the bench – were embarrassed by Viking Stavanger. Mind you, not everything has changed. Chelsea's goalscorers that day were John Terry and Frank Lampard.
This Chelsea team are the best around when it comes to the B-list competitions – they have won four FA Cups and two League Cups in the last eight years – and they are clearly one of the favourites to win this competition. Sparta Prague should give them few problems. The winners play Ajax or Steaua in the last 16.
Kick off is at 6pm.