UCL Rewind: Drogba’s goal propels Chelsea to victory over Barcelona

Drogba getty


By JOHN BOSCHINI

It might not have been pretty, but some gritty defending combined with a clinical finish from Didier Drogba has given Chelsea the upper hand in their UEFA Champions League semifinal against Barcelona.

Chelsea held serve on a rainy night at Stamford Bridge in the first leg with a 1-0 win over Barcelona. The visitors dominated long portions of the game with nearly 80 percent possession and 24 shots, but shocking misses from Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets put Barcelona in need of a win at the Camp Nou next week.

Drogba scored on Chelsea's only shot on target, which came just before halftime. A costly turnover from Lionel Messi allowed Frank Lampard, Ramires and Drogba to break on the counterattack, and with the goal, Chelsea have scored first in all 11 Champions League games they've played this season. If they were to score again in the second leg, Barcelona would need to score at least three times to claim victory.

Barcelona began the match with their trademark domination of possession. The visitors controlled the ball close to 90 percent of the time in the early stages, while Chelsea was content to soak up pressure. Barcelona were almost ahead in the ninth minute when Sanchez beat the offside trap but his chip over Petr Cech shook the crossbar and stayed out.

Barcelona were wasteful with a plethora of chances for the rest of the first half. Fabregas whiffed on a shot eight yards out directly in front of a gaping goalmouth. The former Arsenal captain then saw his chip over Cech cleared by Ashley Cole just as it was about to cross the goal line. In the 30th minute, Messi's powerful header from near the edge of the box forced a fine save from Cech.

Chelsea scored on their first real opportunity at the end of the half. Messi, who had strained his groin minutes earlier slipping on the wet surface, coughed up possession in Chelsea's half. Lampard found a streaking Ramires, and the Brazilian cut the ball back across goal where Drogba swept it past Victor Valdes.

Barcelona resumed their dominant possession in the early stages of the second half but did not create as many chances. Sanchez received a floated pass from Fabregas but got the ball caught under his feet and his shot was just wide of the post. Barcelona had three free kicks from just outside the Chelsea area but were unable to test Cech. 

Chelsea put just about everyone behind the ball for the final half-hour and were almost made to pay twice for their conservative play. Carles Puyol came close, but his backwards header was tipped behind by Cech in the 87th minute.

Barcelona's best chance came deep into stoppage time. Pedro's curling shot from the corner of the penalty area clanged off the post and fell to Busquets 10 yards out of a vacated goal, but he skied his shot into the Chelsea stands. Chelsea were able to see off the final few seconds and take a 1-0 lead back to Barcelona where the teams meet on Tuesday.

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What do you think of today's result? Did Chelsea deserve their victory or should have Barcelona earned at least a draw? Who do you see advancing to the final?

Share your thoughts below.

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20 Responses to UCL Rewind: Drogba’s goal propels Chelsea to victory over Barcelona

  1. elgringorico says:

    What an upset. I want someone to give me an example of a game where the losing team had 80% possesion and the winning team had one shot on goal. Reeady… go!!

  2. Rabid RBNY says:

    any time Barca has lost

  3. Austin says:

    I am hoping for a barca-Madrid Final because the ratings and the interest in the final would be unmatched. Not so sure that is going to happen now. Do You?

  4. abc says:

    psh… Chelsea needed a bigger cushion than one goal…

  5. Matt says:

    id much rather See Bayern in the finals with Barcelona, Bayern is better offensively and controlling posession, if anyone has a chance to make a game out of barcelona and not have to resort to counters its bayern

  6. Roger says:

    Chelsea :)

  7. bryan says:

    72% is nearly 80%?

  8. Dillon says:

    I love upsets. Down with Barcelona and down with Real.

  9. Illmatic74 says:

    I am pretty sure it is 79.4%.

  10. bryan says:

    which site says that? uefa.com has:

    “Ball possession (%) 28 72″

  11. PD says:

    it’s hardly an upset when giants lose to giants… Maybe Chelsea is surprising but given their steady rise in form under new leadership… if they had had a different manager all season it’s hard to think they wouldn’t be pushing Man U and Man City for the title.

  12. AC says:

    Hope Chelsea wins the 2nd leg, but it will probably be a Barcelona blowout as they usually do in 2nd legs.

  13. That's what she says:

    Maybe but Chelsea is going to defend for their lives. Barca is vulnerable to counters and if they’re pushing too far up, you never know if Chelsea can find that one chance again. The game could be more open and one goal from Chelsea forces Barca to score 3 at least.

  14. frank from sf says:

    bingo.

  15. Bumby Hemmingway says:

    An all Spanish final does not hold the appeal to me that a Chelsea/Real or Barcelona/Bayern final would. I think you need a bit of league diversity in the Champions League.

  16. THomas says:

    USA over Spain? El Salvador-u23 over US-u23?

  17. THomas says:

    Thanks John Harkes

  18. TimN says:

    You can be assured that Chelsea is going to put several guys behind the ball and look for quick counters in the 2nd leg. However, I don’t see Barcelona squandering multiple open looks two games in a row. I predict Barcelona will possess the ball to death, and Chelsea will finally cave…3-0 Barcelona at Camp Nou.

  19. Felix says:

    That game is the very definition of the expression “being lucky is better than being good”.

  20. That’s what I kept saying. From what I read the expression ‘better to be lucky than to be good’ came from a baseball game where the pitcher pitched a no-hitter, and was bragging in the locker room, and one of the fielders reminded the pitcher he hadn’t struck anyone out, and all the outs were made by the fielder behind him, and the pitcher replied ‘it’s better to be lucky than good’.