19 April 2012

[UCL; Semifinals; Leg1] Chelsea FC 1 - 0 FC Barcelona

A goal from Drogba on the stroke of half time sentenced Barça to defeat in a game where they were the the better team and leaves them needing to pull back from 1-0 in next week’s second leg at the Camp Nou.


Nobody ever said it would be easy to get to the Munich final. Barça went down to a single goal at Stamford Bridge, despite hitting the post twice and restricting the hosts to a single shot on target – Drogba’s goal on the stroke of half time. Guardiola’s team dictated the pace and the rhythm of the game, dominating possession and creating plenty of chances, but the packed Chelsea defence, the posts and an inspired Cech somehow kept them out.

The result means Barça will have to come from behind at the Camp Nou next Tuesday night if they want to reach the Munich final and it should be a perfect night to put right the injustice of a result that this evening in London failed to reflect their superiority.

Barça took control from the kick off and soon had Chelsea pinned back in their own half, with the Londoners defending with four at the back, a line of five across the middle and only Drogba up front. On 10 minutes, Alexis set the tone of the night, when after a great pass from Iniesta, his clever chip came back off the bar with Cech well beaten.

It was one way traffic for most of the first half, as Barça patiently probed the Chelsea ramparts, keeping hold of possession and looking to pounce on any opportunity. The chances were coming, with Cesc missing a couple of great opportunities with his left peg. Chelsea were always looking to attack on the break though and in injury time they got their reward as Ramires broke down the left and crossed for Drogba who bundled the ball past Valdes. It was a cruel blow for Barça who had been by far the better team throughout the first 45 minutes.

Little changed after the break, as Barça laid siege to the hosts’ area, whilst Chelsea were prepared to sit back and defend en masse. Alexis came close and Puyol forced a brilliant save from Cech, before in injury time Pedro hit the post and Busquets smashed the rebound high over the Chelsea bar and into the celebrating home fans in the stand. Tuesday will be another game and Barça must hope that their luck will surely turn. (via FCBarcelona.com)


[Match Stats]
Chelsea FC Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Mikel, Meireles, Lampard, Ramires (Bosingwa, min. 88), Mata (Kalou, min. 74) and Drogba.

FC Barcelona Víctor Valdés; Dani Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano; Sergio Busquets, Xavi (Cuenca, min. 86), Cesc (Thiago, min. 78); Messi, Alexis (Pedro, min. 66) and Iniesta.

Goal: 1-0, min. 45 +. Ramires's Center and Drogba connects unstoppable shot to Valdés.

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany). He showed yellow card to Ramires and Drogba, by local, and Pedro and Sergio Busquets, to Barça.

Subs: 40,000 spectators at Stamford Bridge.