Match Report- Chelsea 1- Barcelona 1
Not a bad game of football that! Chelsea defended well and looked dangerous on the break. Willan rattled both posts in the first half and Conte's side had the upper hand going into the break. Barca came back in the second half and continued to boss possession. However, Chelsea took the lead as Willian curled in a shot into the bottom corner just after the hour mark.
Barca fought back and ramped up the pressure on their opponents. A rare defensive error from Chelsea saw the Catalans find their equaliser. Iniesta pounced on a misplaced pass from Andreas Christensen. The Veteran midfielder picked out Lionel Messi on the penalty spot, and the playmaker curled the ball into the bottom left-hand corner, his first goal against Chelsea in eight attempts.
Both sides attempted to grab a winner in the final stages, although both sides cancelled each other defensively. Conte will certainly be pleased how his side performed on the counter-attack with Eden Hazard and Willian excelling. However, just one defensive error from his side gave Barca the vital away goal. It's certainly all to play for when the sides meet again at the Camp Nou.
90+3 Full-Time 1-1. Honours even between the two sides. Seems fair. Chelsea will be disappointed on how they conceded the equaliser, but regardless the second leg at the Camp Nou is going to be one to watch. Finely poised.
90+3 Last seconds of the second half- Barca coming forward with intent.
90+1- Iniesta is coming off. A tidy assist for Messi, Andre Gomes comes on in his place. Not a bad evening for the midfielder.
90- Chelsea are looking for a winner here. Three minutes extra time to play.
84- Hazard is hacked down. Willian stands over the freekick. The ball eventually goes out for a goal-kick. A wasted chance that. Morata picks up a yellow for complaining.
83- Another sub for Chelsea, Fabregas who has played well against his former side is taken off. Danny Drinkwater replaces him in midfield.
82- Former Real Madrid man Morata is on for Pedro. Can the forward be a difference maker in the final minutes of the game?
79- Rüdiger picks up a yellow for a crunching tackle on Sergi Roberto
74- Goal Barca! That's a hammer blow for Chelsea! Iniesta picks up the ball after a mistake from Christensen and squares it to Messi. The number 10 drills the ball into the bottom left-hand corner. After eight attempts Messi scores against Chelsea! 1-1
68- Chelsea on the breakaway. Kante pushes into the Barca half and picks out Willian. The Brazillian tries to return the ball to Kante in the box, but his pass finds its way into the arms of ter Stagen.
66- The Catalans have understandably upped the tempo. Messi goes on a scampering run but is crowded out. You get the feeling Chelsea are going to be up against it in the final 24 minutes!
63- Paulinho is hauled off for Barca and is replaced by Alex Vidal.
62- GOAL! CHELSEA! What a strike from Willian, the corner is played short. Passed across the box to Willian, who drops the shoulder, beats his man and curls the ball into the bottom right-hand corner. It's a fine shot. 1-0 Chelsea!
61- First real attack from Chelsea in the second half. The ball is neatly passed to Fabregas who knocks the ball wide, deflection. It's a corner.
59- Just the 71% possession for Barcelona. Sure!
57- Barca is playing keep ball, as Barca tends to do. Suarez goes on a mazy run, beats Christensen Moses is on hand to knock the ball out for a corner, which is eventually gathered by Courtois.
52- Suarez skips past Andreas Christensen way too easily, the Uraguyan smashes a shot from a tight angle that creeps across the goal. Courtois gets a vital touch and the ball is cleared. Close.
51- Ball played into Hazard in the box, the Belgian tumbles to the ground under pressure from Umtiti the Chelsea players scream penalty the referee waves it away.
48- Barcelona is back at it. Iniesta has a shot well wide, the Catalans have started the second half well.
Second half- Barca get us back underway!
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Halftime viewing- Eden Hazard said before the game he needs to "shine" against Barca. He's certainly done that in the first half!
45- Halftime! Well, that was a breathless first half! Barca settled well and has bossed possession but Antonio Conte's side looks the most likely to score on the break. Willian has hit both posts with two cracking efforts. All to play for in the second half!
42- Fabregas clips a freekick into the Barca box, Pique heads out, the ball pops up perfectly for Eden Hazard who launches a dipping effort just over the bar. Chelsea is in the mood now.
40- POST! This time Willian hits the other upright! Chelsea chases a lost cause, the ball falls to Hazard to stabs the ball to Willian, another shimmy and the Brazilian shapes to shoot and his effort hits the other post.
35- Rakatic curls in a corner, finds Pique but the central defender is under pressure from Rudiger as he makes contact with the ball. Wide.
35- No striker, no problem so far for Chelsea! Hazard and Willian are causing the Barca backline plenty of problems at the minute
32- Post! The best chance of the game so far goes to Chelsea. Hazard dances down the wing and picks out William, a quick shimmy and he shapes to shoot. His curing effort beats ter Stegen and smashes off the post. So close for the Blues!
29- Freekick Willian sprints away- Rakatic bundles the Brazilian down and gets a yellow. Alonso steps up and his freekick goes into the hands of ter Stegen
27- Moses bounces off Samuel Umtiti, who falls to the turf on a rare foray forward for Chelsea- Free kick for the Catalans
23- Chance for Messi! Iniesta slips the ball across the box and Messi is primed to shoot. Chelsea players convene on the Argentine and he flicks the ball wide. Close call.
21- 75% possession for the Blaugrana so far in the game. That is not a stat you would like to see as a Chelsea fan.
18- Chelsea seem happy to give possession to Barcelona. Antonio Conte's side is living dangerously here.
14- Chance! Barca knocks the ball around midfield, pop the ball to Messi who picks out Paulinho with a cross. Plum in the middle of the goal the Brazilian heads wide. Close!
10- Messi is dropping deep and causing mayhem against the Chelsea backline. A smart one-two with Paulino doesn't quite work out.
8- Chance! Willian whips the ball in, which is met by Rudiger but the German international's header skims wide!
8- Chelsea have the first corner of the night...
4- Chelsea knock the ball around for a little pressure Jordi Alba, eventually, Eden Hazard lashes a shot from distance ter Stegen dives, the ball flies over.
2- Barca keeping the ball well (as you would expect) Messi chips the ball across the goal. Cleared by Alonso.
Kick-off! Peeep! Chelsea get us underway
Just under 5 minutes from kick-off! Chelsea fans are waving tiny flags! Players are in the tunnel! Got a sneaky feeling that this is going to be a goal-fest!
Eden Hazard has to be the main man for Chelsea tonight if the Blues are to grab the win. The Belgian international has scored three goals and delivered two assists in his last five Champions League games. 15 minutes to go!
We have some predictions! First up David Freeley, who has a fine second name is going with a storming Barca away win.
3-1 Barca...— dave freeley (@djfreeley) February 20, 2018
Whilst Adam is going for a goal heavy 2-2 draw.
2-2— Adam K (@Akynners) February 20, 2018
Huge stat from Opta Joe heading into the game. The Catalans are firm favourites tonight. Just over 30 mins to Kick-off! As a reminder, if you don't fancy following the action live with me, you can watch all the action on beIN SPORTS CONNECT.
Chelsea team news! No clear striker on the pitch, so it's former Barca man Pedro playing as the false 9. Marcos Alonso is back after missing the last three games, a big boost for the Blues. Olivier Giroud & Álvaro Morata are on the bench.
Team to face Barcelona: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro.— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 20, 2018
Subs: Caballero, Cahill, Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Morata. #CHEBAR pic.twitter.com/lzHoGYN626
Team News! Sound that team news klaxon! Barca has confirmed their team for tonight. Bar Coutinho, that is their strongest side based on form. Whilst Dembélé makes the bench!
Outside, It seems like a Chelsea fan has brought his own Champions League trophy to get the party started. Might be the closest that Chelsea gets to the trophy this year...
Likewise, Barca is setting off from their plush London hotel to Stamford Bridge. Special shout to the tuxedo-clad bouncers.
It's building up nicely ahead of the 10:45 mecca KO! Italian charmer and Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola has offered some words of encouragement for the Blues. What a lovely, tiny man.
Hello! Welcome to the Live Blog for the Champions League last-16 first leg tie between Chelsea & Barcelona. You can check out all the pre-match chat in the handy preview below. Tonight is going to be all about Leo Messi, as most Barca Champions League nights seem to be. Can the Argentinian score a goal against Chelsea? He's had eight attempts so far and has yet to score. Got a feeling he might break his duck tonight.
An out of sorts Chelsea welcome Barcelona to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening for their Champions League last-16 tie. You can watch all the action on beIN SPORTS CONNECT.
The Blues have only won four games in their last twelve in all competitions. Speaking prior to the game, under fire Chelsea coach Antonio Conte recognized that the tie will be a challenge for his side. "This team (Barcelona) is one of the best in the world - maybe they are favourites to win this competition."
In team news, Marcos Alonso & Ross Barkley are back in training having missed the last three games and should be fit to at least make the squad. David Luiz and Timemoue Bakayoko have been absent this week in training and could be doubtful.
Chelsea is now unbeaten in their last seven Champions League ties against the Catalans, winning two and drawing five of their games. Whilst Lionel Messi has yet to score against Chelsea in eight appearances.
Channel Information- Bein 11HD
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Venue- Stamford Bridge, London
As for Barca, they are undefeated in the league this season and come into the tie following a 2-0 away win against Eibar.
Blaugrana boss Ernesto Valverde revealed prior to the match that he is relishing the prospect of going up against Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. “He is one of the best coaches in the world with an extraordinary CV, not just with Chelsea but also with Juventus and the Italian national side. His teams are always hard working and they knew what they have to do. For me, it’s a great challenge to come up against one of his sides,”
Barcelona will be without January signing Phillipe Coutinho for the game as he is cup-tied. Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen has travelled with the side and could make the bench for the game.
Barca is one of only four sides who went unbeaten in the group stages this season. Whilst defensively they only conceded one goal in six games. Valverde will be happy if his side can keep a clean sheet, with the second leg at the Camp Nou, however, the Catalans have never kept a clean sheet when playing at Stamford Bridge.
As ever you can watch all the action live & exclusively on beIN SPORTS CONNECT