Found April 18, 2012 on
Didier Drogba grabbed the first-half winner as Chelsea produced a resilient display to beat Barcelona 1-0 on Wednesday to take a narrow lead into the second leg of their Champions League semifinal against the defending champions.
In one of Chelsea's few forays forward at Stamford Bridge, Drogba swept home a cross by Ramires in the second minute of first-half injury time to hand Barca a first loss in this season's competition, leaving the contest delicately poised.
The Spanish giants were camped inside Chelsea's half for almost the entire match but were denied by a mixture of poor finishing and brave defending. Gary Cahill was outstanding alongside center-back partner John Terry to repeatedly deny Argentina forward Lionel Messi, who failed to score for only the second time in his last 15 matches.
With the ''Clasico'' against Real Madrid in the Spanish league to come on Saturday and then the return leg against Chelsea three days later, Barca has little time to regroup if it wants to reach the Champions League final for the third time in four years.
Much will be made of Barca's inability to find an away goal - Alexis Sanchez and Pedro both hit the goal frame - yet Chelsea should be praised for its work rate, cohesion and discipline under almost constant pressure.
Unbeaten in its last five games against Barcelona, Chelsea has been one of the few teams in the world to cause the Spanish giants problems in recent years.
And it did so again here, with Drogba giving Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano - a midfielder playing out of position at center back - trouble with his power on the rare times he managed to snaffle possession.
Drogba's goal came after a rare mistake in possession from Messi, allowing Frank Lampard to pick out the surging Ramires with a crossfield pass. The Brazil midfielder bore down on goal but crossed the ball across the area for Drogba to scuff a shot that still had enough to beat goalkepeer Victor Valdes.
It was his 38th Champions League goal, with only Messi having scored more since the 2003-04 season.
Barcelona should have been in front by then, however. Sanchez's lob struck the bar in the ninth after a fine pass from Iniesta, Ashley Cole cleared off the line from Cesc Fabregas, who had earlier fluffed a shot wide with the goal at his mercy in the 17th.
Messi, man-marked by Raul Meireles, wasn't at his electric best but still produced a couple of superb dribbles and through-balls to remind Chelsea of his class.
Still, Barca went into the break trailing despite having 70 percent possession in the first half and proceeded to lay siege on the Chelsea goal in the driving rain.
Messi, looking to add to his record haul of 14 goals this campaign, was dropping deep to start Barca's attacks. From one of them, Fabregas dinked a ball over the top for Sanchez, who could only sidefoot wide from close range.
Cahill had his best game since joining the club in January, denying Messi with a number of last-ditch tackles in the second half that were reminiscent of Terry in his prime and appearing to block any shot aimed by Barca.
The longer the game went on, the less likely the visitors looked like scoring, although Pedro curled a low shot against the post in the dying seconds.
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Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo says Didier Drogba could miss next week's Champions League semifinal against Barcelona.
The Ivory Coast striker scored in this week's 1-0 first-leg win over the defending champions but has been ruled out of Saturday's Premier League match against Arsenal because of a knee injury sustained in that match.
Di Matteo says ''we have...
Didier Drogba will miss Chelsea's Barclays Premier League game at Arsenal.
The striker picked up a knee injury in Wednesday night's Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Barcelona and will be reassessed ahead of Tuesday's second leg.
Meanwhile, Drogba's recent heroics will convince Chelsea to bow to his contract demands, according to the striker's agent...
Didier Drogba Scores as Chelsea Beat Barcelona 1-0 at Stamford Bridge - originally posted on Soccerlens.comDidier Drogba’s first-half goal handed Chelsea a 1-0 home win against Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals.
Drogba scored with a low finish after a great run and assist from Ramires who had received a long ball from Frank Lampard in a counter attack...
Roberto Di Matteo is pondering the biggest selection dilemma of his managerial career as he plotted Barcelona's downfall in Chelsea's latest Champions League semi-final.
The interim Blues boss had to decide whether to stick with Didier Drogba for Wednesday night's first leg at Stamford Bridge or recall Fernando Torres for the crunch clash.
Based on current form and...
Didier Drogba scored in the second minute of first-half stoppage time, and Chelsea held on to beat defending champion Barcelona 1-0 Wednesday night in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals.
Lionel Messi lost possession of the ball in midfield, and Frank Lampard passed to Ramires for a counterattack. Ramires' cross was swept into the goal by Drogba, who scuffed his...
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has admitted Chelsea is now the favorite to reach next month's Champions League final following the Blues' 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
Didier Drogba's goal in first-half stoppage time was enough to clinch victory in the first-leg encounter.
And though Barcelona would hope to score at least once in Tuesday's return...
A Didier Drogba goal was enough to lift Chelsea to a 1-0 win over Barcelona in the first leg of...
It might not prove to be enough in a week's time, but Chelsea restored the pride of the Barclays Premier League Wednesday night, with a 1-0 first leg victory over defending champion Barcelona . It was not pretty, but it's a win that will have the Stamford Bridge faithful dreaming of a May journey to Munich.
Didier Drogba scored the only goal, and the Blues defended with...
Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has hit back at the critics who dubbed him too old to lead the line against...
English side Chelsea have taken a 1-0 advantage over Spanish side FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League semifinals. It was a very important win for Chelsea who were organized defensively and took advantage of a counterattack.
The match started out with Barcelona dominating possession and nearly taking the lead. Luckily for the home side, a Alexis Sanchez chip shot (over Petr...
Atlético Madrid’s Radamel Falcao doubled and wrapped up Atlético Madrid’s victory today over Valencia with a brilliant finish in the first leg of the UEFA Cup semifinal.
Click here to view the embedded video.
Interesting times in Spain at the moment. Real Madrid and Barcelona are reeling after disappointing midweek results on the road in Europe’s big tourney, the Champions...
Clashes between Chelsea and Barcelona have always provided plenty of drama and their Champions League semi-final first leg was no exception. Chelsea’s fortunes have been turned around since the temporary appointment of Roberto Di Matteo and Barcelona knew they would face a tough battle at Stamford Bridge.
Under previous manager, Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea’s ageing stars had been...
Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is hoping to end what could be his last season at the club with a trophy....
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