Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Chelsea Depite All Odds Defeats FC Barcelona 1-0

After yesterday's FC Bayern's win over Real Madrid with goals by Ribery and Gomez, today Chelsea hosted FC Barcelona at Stanford Bridge in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.  Frank Lampard, Chelsea manager said it was all about "Belief" prior to the match.  Chelsea started the match as the underdog.  In their respective leagues Chelsea is sixth in the English Premier League, while Barcelona is second, trailing Real Madrid in the Spanish league.  Real and Barca meet this weekend in a head on head matchup in league play. 

Barcelona started the match as the dominant team with a ball possession of 83 to 17%.  In the 9th minute Alexis Sanchez hit the crossbar after the ball came to him with a lofty pass from Iniesta and there was no one between him and Cech.

While Barcelona was the dominant team in the first half, Chelsea create plenty of opportunities and their counters eventually paid off in 45+2 minutes.  Frank Lampard stole the ball from Messi and send a long pass to Ramirez on the left side who pushed it to Drogba who transported the ball into the net for an unlikely 1-0 Chelsea lead.

Although Barcelona had more passes, more ball possession and put the pressure on Chelsea, the Spaniards were unable to penetrate and when they did they were stopped by Chelsea's keeper Cech.
Even the three free kicks that were executed in the first 75 minutes, two went into the wall set up by Chelsea and one went well over the net.

In exta time Chelsea's lucky star shone once again when Barcelona hit the post just before the final whistle.  It was definitely Chelsea's night.

Despite 71% ball possession and Chelsea seldom venturing into Barcelona's half, the English side managed to defend successfully to maintain the lead in the second half.  A well defended lead, which gives them a one goal advantage for the second half.

Chelsea:  1.  Cech - 2. Ivanovich 3. A. Cole 24. Cahill 26. Terry 7. Ramos 8. Lampard 12 Mikel 16 Raul Meireles (Bosingwa 88th)10 Juan Mata (Kalou 74th) 11 Drogba

Barcelona:  1. Victor Valdes, 2. Daniel Alves, 5. Puyol, 4. Fabregas,(Alcantara (79th) 6. Xavi Hernandes, (Cuenca 87th) 8. Iniesta, 14. Mascherano, 16. Busquets, 21. Adriano 9. Alexis Sanchez (Rodriguez 67th) 10. Messi

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