Chelsea v Barcelona – story of the match
Chelsea surged ahead but could not deny Barcelona’s star man.
Lionel Messi broke his goal duck against Chelsea to deny Antonio Conte’s side a crucial lead over Barcelona in their Champions League showdown.
The Argentinian had failed to score in his previous eight meetings against the Blues, but he put that anomaly right with 15 minutes left to secure a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea had gone ahead through Willian, who had earlier been twice denied by a post.
Tweet of the match
Messi scores for the first time ever against Chelsea. Suppose he’ll want me to come and see him before every game now. 🙄— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) February 20, 2018
Star man – Willian
While Barcelona dominated possession, it was Chelsea’s Brazil international Willian who looked to make things happen in front of goal. On another night, he would have had a hat-trick and, had it not been for Andres Christensen’s poor pass which led to Barcelona’s equaliser, would have been a deserved match-winner.
Moment of the match
It was very much third time lucky for Chelsea forward Willian. Having lashed the ball against both posts in the first half, the 29-year-old gave the Blues a merited 62nd-minute advantage. He collected the ball close to the edge of the Barcelona penalty area, side-stepped Sergio Busquets and then left visiting goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen standing as he whipped the ball into the bottom right corner.
View from the bench
Conte says that qualification to the next round is still open, but acknowledges it will be difficult against a team like Barcelona. He is pleased with his players as they put in a great effort and followed the plan. #CHEBAR— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 20, 2018
Neither coach spent much time sitting down at Stamford Bridge but, while Ernesto Valverde was a picture of calm for most of the match, Antonio Conte’s demeanour was much more animated. As has come to be expected, Chelsea’s Italian boss was constantly gesticulating, bellowing instructions, and chuntering at his bench. He inspired a fine performance from his players, although ultimately they could not hold on and conceded a potentially costly away goal.
Messi’s second-half strike was his first against Chelsea in his ninth match against them. Despite the equaliser, Barcelona have failed to win any of their last eight meetings with the Premier League champions, drawing six and losing two.
Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois (out of 10) 6, Cesar Azpilicueta 6, Andreas Christensen 5, Antonio Rudiger 6, Marcos Alonso 6, Cesc Fabregas 6, N’Golo Kante 6, Willian 8, Pedro 6, Eden Hazard 7. Subs: Alvaro Morata (on for Pedro, 83) 5, Danny Drinkwater (on for Fabregas, 84) 5.
Barcelona: Marc-Andre ter Stegen 6, Sergi Roberto 6, Gerard Pique 6, Samuel Umtiti 6, Jordi Alba 6, Sergio Busquets 7, Andres Iniesta 7, Ivan Rakitic 6, Paulinho 6, Luis Suarez 6, Lionel Messi 7. Subs: Aleix Vidal (on for Paulinho, 63) 5, Andre Gomes (on for Iniesta, 90+2) 5.
Who’s up next?
Manchester United v Chelsea (Premier League, February 25)
Barcelona v Girona (LaLiga, February 24)