Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona
Didier Drogba gave Chelsea a precious lead to take to the Nou Camp for the Champions League semi-final second leg as his goal beat holders Barcelona at Stamford Bridge.
The Catalans dominated possession as well as creating a succession of chances - but Drogba struck in first-half injury time to give interim manager Roberto di Matteo's side an advantage to protect in Barcelona next Tuesday.
Chelsea were forced to mount a resilient rearguard action in the face of Barcelona's famous passing "carousel", but Drogba converted their one clear chance to reward the outstanding defensive work of Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole and captain John Terry in keeping Lionel Messi and co at bay.
Barcelona produced evidence of the huge threat they will pose in front of their own supporters as they enjoyed 72% of the possession, but Chelsea will be elated at not only claiming the victory but also keeping a crucial clean sheet.
Alexis Sanchez hit the crossbar for Barcelona early on and Pedro hit the post in the dying seconds - while Cole cleared off the line from Cesc Fabregas. Goalkeeper Petr Cech also saved well from Messi and Carles Puyol as Pep Guardiola's team tried every avenue in an attempt to break Chelsea down.
In the end, Chelsea's organisation and discipline was rewarded but Di Matteo knows they will have to produce the same - and more besides - in the Nou Camp to confirm a meeting with either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in the final in Munich next month.
Di Matteo clearly saw Drogba's power as a potential threat to a Barcelona defence stripped of Gerard Pique - but he barely caught sight of goal in a first 45 minutes in which the Catalans exerted their technical superiority.
Chelsea were riding their luck as early as the eighth minute when Andres Iniesta played in Sanchez. The Chilean's lob left Cech stranded but his effort bounced back to safety off the bar.
Fabregas was the guilty party when Chelsea had another escape soon after. Messi was the creator to set up Iniesta but when Cech could only push out his shot, the former Arsenal captain miscued his finish from eight yards.
Messi was the next to test Cech with a header from Sanchez's cross, the Chelsea keeper gathering the effort comfortably as Barcelona once more failed to produce the final touch to accompany their artistic approach work.
As half-time approached Fabregas had another chance to give Barcelona the lead. He collected an incisive Messi pass and this time beat Cech, who required Cole to scramble back and clear the ball off the line.
Chelsea, at this point, would have been happy to reach the interval on level terms - but instead they produced the wonderful bonus of a goal in first-half injury time.
Messi was caught in possession by Frank Lampard, who released Ramires, and the reliable Brazilian served up the perfect cross for Drogba to sweep a left-footed finish past Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
Drogba's main contribution prior to his goal was to go through his full range of theatrics but this was an example of exactly why Di Matteo made him his choice.
As is their style, Barcelona continued as if almost failing to recognise they had fallen behind - but also in the same vein of wasting the openings they created as Adriano saw a shot pushed away by Cech and Sanchez was unable to apply the finish to Fabregas's scooped pass.
Chelsea were pushed right back into their own territory as Barcelona probed and passed for an opening. They were able, however, to survive without too many serious alarms until the closing moments.
Cech dived away to his right to save Puyol's header from Messi's free-kick then escaped again in the final seconds as substitute Pedro struck the base of the post, with Sergio Busquets lifting the rebound wildly over the bar.
And after clinching a place against Liverpool in the Chelsea can now contemplate the possibility of reaching their second Champions League Final in five years.
- 01 Cech
- 02 Ivanovic
- 03 Cole
- 24 Cahill
- 26 Terry
- 07 Ramires Booked (Bosingwa - 88' )
- 08 Lampard
- 12 Mikel
- 16 Meireles
- 10 Mata (Kalou - 74' )
- 11 Drogba Booked
- 22 Turnbull
- 17 Bosingwa
- 05 Essien
- 15 Malouda
- 09 Torres
- 21 Kalou
- 23 Sturridge
- 01 Valdes
- 02 Alves
- 05 Puyol
- 21 Adriano Correia
- 04 Fabregas (Thiago - 78' )
- 06 Xavi (Cuenca - 86' )
- 08 Iniesta
- 10 Messi
- 14 Mascherano
- 16 Busquets Booked
- 09 Sanchez (Pedrito - 66' Booked )
- 13 Pinto
- 03 Pique
- 32 Bartra
- 11 Thiago
- 15 Keita
- 23 Cuenca
- 17 Pedrito
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.90:00 +2:29
Shot from deep inside the area by Sergio Busquets clears the bar.90:00 +2:20
Rodriguez Pedro has an effort at goal from deep inside the box striking the post.90:00 +0:09
Corner taken right-footed by da Silva Dani Alves, Didier Drogba manages to make a clearance.87:21 Substitution
Substitution Ramires leaves the field to be replaced by Jose Bosingwa.86:54
Corner taken by Andres Iniesta from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Frank Lampard.85:47
Lionel Messi sends in a cross, Carles Puyol takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.85:47 Substitution
Substitution Isaac Cuenca is brought on as a substitute for Hernandez Xavi.85:47 Booking
Booking Didier Drogba booked for unsporting behaviour.85:39
Didier Drogba gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lionel Messi.84:09
Salomon Kalou gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Claro Adriano. Victor Valdes takes the free kick.83:06
Hernandez Xavi sends in a cross, clearance made by Branislav Ivanovic.80:23
Mikel fouled by Alcantara Thiago, the ref awards a free kick. Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.79:40
Hernandez Xavi takes a shot. Mikel gets a block in.79:29
Da Silva Dani Alves produces a cross, clearance by Ashley Cole.78:15
Foul by Didier Drogba on Carles Puyol, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Sergio Busquets.77:40
Petr Cech takes the indirect free kick.77:40 Substitution
Substitution Alcantara Thiago on for Francesc Fabregas.77:40
The assistant referee flags for offside against Andres Iniesta.76:35
Free kick awarded for a foul by John Terry on Lionel Messi. Da Silva Dani Alves produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick.
Free kick taken by Mikel.75:13 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Sergio Busquets for unsporting behaviour.75:09
Sergio Busquets gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ramires.74:46
Da Silva Dani Alves crosses the ball, clearance made by Gary Cahill.73:04 Substitution
Substitution Salomon Kalou is brought on as a substitute for Juan Mata.72:54
Rodriguez Pedro sends in a cross, blocked by Ashley Cole.70:25
Frank Lampard crosses the ball, Headed effort from inside the area by John Terry misses to the right of the goal.70:25 Booking
Booking Rodriguez Pedro is shown a yellow card.70:14
Free kick awarded for a foul by Rodriguez Pedro on Ashley Cole.68:32
Hernandez Xavi shoots direct from the free kick.68:32 Booking
Booking Ramires is cautioned.68:27
Lionel Messi fouled by Ramires, the ref awards a free kick.65:53 Substitution
Substitution Rodriguez Pedro replaces Alexis Sanchez.65:11
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Hernandez Xavi from the right by-line, Carles Puyol takes a shot. Mikel makes a clearance.65:03
Lionel Messi takes a shot. John Terry gets a block in.64:23
Javier Mascherano challenges Didier Drogba unfairly and gives away a free kick. Raul Meireles takes the free kick.63:16
Mikel is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Shot comes in from Lionel Messi from the free kick.62:21
Branislav Ivanovic concedes a free kick for a foul on Francesc Fabregas. Francesc Fabregas takes the direct free kick.61:05
Ashley Cole fouled by Alexis Sanchez, the ref awards a free kick. Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.59:11
Gary Cahill is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Victor Valdes takes the direct free kick.58:35
Foul by Andres Iniesta on Didier Drogba, free kick awarded. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Juan Mata from right wing.57:43
Centre by Claro Adriano, Effort on goal by da Silva Dani Alves from just inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.56:08
Close range effort by Alexis Sanchez goes wide of the right-hand upright.54:26
Da Silva Dani Alves produces a cross, John Terry manages to make a clearance.54:08
Lionel Messi takes a shot. Blocked by Gary Cahill.52:03
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Frank Lampard.50:34
Claro Adriano takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.49:19
Lionel Messi takes the outswinging corner, clearance by Frank Lampard.49:11
Andres Iniesta takes a shot. Branislav Ivanovic gets a block in.46:17
Lionel Messi takes a shot. Gary Cahill gets a block in.45:01
The referee gets the second half underway.45:00 +3:00 Half time
Half Time It is the end of the first-half.45:00 +1:45
Assist by Ramires.45:00 +1:45 Goal scored
Goal! - Didier Drogba - Chelsea 1 - 0 Barcelona A goal is scored by Didier Drogba from inside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona.45:00 +0:18
Ashley Cole is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Da Silva Dani Alves takes the indirect free kick.44:13
A cross is delivered by Lionel Messi.43:32
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Hernandez Xavi from the right by-line, Didier Drogba makes a clearance.43:23
Da Silva Dani Alves crosses the ball, Raul Meireles gets a block in.42:47
Lionel Messi has shot on goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.42:19
Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Clearance by Ashley Cole.41:26
Da Silva Dani Alves has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the goal.41:01
Outswinging corner taken by Hernandez Xavi, clearance by Didier Drogba.40:56
Centre by da Silva Dani Alves, blocked by Ashley Cole.39:50
The offside flag is raised against Didier Drogba. Free kick taken by Javier Mascherano.39:30
Raul Meireles takes a shot. Francesc Fabregas gets a block in.36:56
Da Silva Dani Alves gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mikel. Mikel takes the free kick.34:35
The assistant referee flags for offside against Didier Drogba. Javier Mascherano takes the indirect free kick.34:00
Claro Adriano crosses the ball, free kick awarded for a foul by Carles Puyol on Didier Drogba. Petr Cech takes the direct free kick.33:21
Corner taken short by Hernandez Xavi.30:21
The referee blows for offside against Alexis Sanchez. Free kick taken by Petr Cech.29:47
Didier Drogba is caught offside. Da Silva Dani Alves takes the indirect free kick.27:40
The ball is sent over by Alexis Sanchez, Lionel Messi takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a save.25:57
Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.25:06
The ball is swung over by Alexis Sanchez, John Terry makes a clearance.21:29
Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Lionel Messi, clearance by Raul Meireles.21:16
Hernandez Xavi takes a shot. Blocked by Frank Lampard.18:41
Juan Mata has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.17:25
Foul by Sergio Busquets on Didier Drogba, free kick awarded. Branislav Ivanovic takes the direct free kick.17:11
Shot by Francesc Fabregas.16:54
Andres Iniesta takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a save.16:33
Lionel Messi takes a shot. John Terry gets a block in.13:04
Sergio Busquets fouled by Raul Meireles, the ref awards a free kick. Hernandez Xavi takes the free kick.8:36
Alexis Sanchez takes a shot.7:31
Raul Meireles challenges Francesc Fabregas unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Hernandez Xavi from left wing, Petr Cech makes a save.4:00
Foul by Didier Drogba on Sergio Busquets, free kick awarded. Hernandez Xavi restarts play with the free kick.1:22
Free kick awarded for a foul by Branislav Ivanovic on Francesc Fabregas. Francesc Fabregas restarts play with the free kick.0:00
The match begins.
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