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Barcelona 0-0 Chelsea
Stadium: Estadio Camp Nou, Spain
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Semifinals, Leg 1
Date: 28 April 2009
Kickoff: 18:45 GMT, 14:45 EST
Barcelona and Chelsea battled to a scoreless stalemate during the first leg of their Champions League Semifinal clash! Soccerlens brought you the action live! Click below for the live-blog and feel free to leave comments!
They aren’t playing Liverpool again, but Chelsea are no strangers to Barcelona in the Champions League. During the Mourinho Era, Chelsea clashed with Barca on two separate occasions in the Knockout Round. In the 2004-2005 Round of 16, Chelsea lost the first leg at the Nou Camp but eliminated Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on John Terry’s decisive goal. There was a tunnel fracas between the teams afterward and the bad feelings lingered for a long time, no doubt exacerbated by Mourinho bragging about how they had just beaten the best team in the world.
Barcelona got their revenge a year later, eliminating Chelsea in the Round of 16 en route to the 2005-2006 Champions League crown. Mourinho got in his barbs, though, praising Lionel Messi for his acting skills.
So, now we have the rubber match between these two powerhouses. This time, however, the stakes are much higher. Both of these teams are in excellent form, and are, arguably, playing the best football out of all the remaining teams in the Champions League.
Additionally, when the tie was finalized, both sides had Treble aspirations. While it’s not mathematically impossible for Chelsea to win the Premiership, their own manager doesn’t sound optimistic. However, that could work in their favor, since they can now focus all their energy on defeating Barcelona and making it to the Final.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Especially since Ashley Cole and Ricardo Carvalho won’t be available for this match. Plus, Barcelona will come into this match fairly well-rested as they sat several of their key players, over the weekend, in preparation for this fixture. They rested Rafael Marquez and Yaya Toure, and held Thierry Henry out until the 63rd minute of their 2-2 draw with Valencia.
As for Chelsea, they were able to survive a tense 1-0 victory against West Ham during which time they tested out Jose Bosingwa at left-back before his baptism by fire at the Nou Camp against Messi. Petr Cech had a strong outing and even stopped a penalty shot, which should boost his fragile confidence heading into this fixture. They’ll need Cech to be at his best, especially with their decimated defense playing in front of him.
Will Barcelona hold serve at home and establish a lead going into the second leg? Or will Chelsea pull off an impressive upset and set themselves up for a return trip to the Finals? Tune in and find out!
Barcelona: Valdes, Alves, Marquez, Pique, Abidal, Toure, Xavi (c), Ineista, Messi, Eto’o, Henry.
Subs: Jorquera, Puyol, Gudjohnsen, Krkic, Keita, Hleb, Sylvinho.
Three changes to the side that drew with Valencia over the weekend. Henry will reclaim his starting spot after making a cameo appearance over the weekend, as will Marquez and Toure. Puyol, Busquets, and Keita will sit out. Former Chelsea man, Gudjohnsen, will be on the bench, joining former Arsenal men Hleb and Sylvinho.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry (c), Alex, Bosingwa, Mikel, Ballack, Essien, Lampard, Malouda, Drogba.
Subs: Hilario, Di Santo, Kalou, Anelka, Belletti, Mancienne, Stoch.
Four changes from the side that defeated West Ham over the weekend. Ballack and Essien will return in midfield, replacing Kalou and former Barca player Belletti. Drogba takes Anelka’s spot up front, and Alex will play center-back alongside Terry, replacing Mancienne. All eyes will be on Bosingwa, but how Ivanovic does against Henry on the other side could also have a huge impact on this match.
90′ + 5 Chelsea try to spring Bosingwa down the left wing, but he’s about a mile offside. There’s the whistle and we’re done! Thanks to everyone who followed along and join me tomorrow for Manchester United/Arsenal!
90′ + 4 Anelka is getting ready to come in. What’s the point? Meanwhile, Alves gets off another great cross from deep down the right and it bounces ominously in front of goal. It just manages to elude Pique at the far post, otherwise he could have had a great chance. Meanwhile, Ballack will come off for Anelka. Well, I guess that makes sense, since Ballack was on a yellow already.
90′ + 3 Hleb gets a great chance as he’s played through by Iniesta. Ballack was trying to milk an injury, but Barca played on. Cech makes a great save to deny Hleb, though, and Hleb has a difficult angle as he tries to follow up. He ends up hitting the side of the net.
90′ + 1 Five minutes will be added on. Alves gets a great cross from deep down the right wing and Krkic is wide open in front of goal as he easily beats Terry. He heads it over the crossbar, though, and that was Barca’s best chance to score.
90′ Cech’s clearance goes right to Hleb, and he sends it to Iniesta. He makes a run towards the edge of the box, but Ballack hits him with a risky tackle from behind. No foul, though.
89′ Pique fouls Drogba and Chelsea will have a chance from a good 40 yards out.
87′ Essien with a great run down the left and he sends it into the center edge of the box for Drogba. Pique, however, makes a great tackle and takes it away from him before he can do anything with it.
86′ Mikel catches Henry on the thigh, and Barca will have a free kick from about 40 yards away. Xavi’s free kick takes a hard deflection into the box, but Cech punches it away. Meanwhile, Henry will be replaced by another former Gunner as Hleb comes in.
85′ Xavi sends in the free kick to the center of the box, but it’s easily knocked away by Drogba from danger.
84′ Iniesta tries a one-two with Messi and he gets caught by a Ballack elbow on the left edge of the box. Iniesta tries to make it look like he was inside the box, but the ref isn’t buying it.
82′ Nothing doing on the corner and Eto’o will be replaced by Krkic.
81′ Nothing doing on the corner and Barca go on the counterattack. Messi leads the way and makes a great run down the left. He lays it off to Iniesta, who gets it deep inside the box, but Terry does well to close off his shooting angle. He tries to shoot and Cech deflects it away for a corner.
80′ Long pass to Malouda and he nearly gets past Alves and through on goal. Alves recovers and knocks it out for a corner.
77′ Puyol with late lunge into Malouda from behind, and I can’t believe he wasn’t booked for that. He wasn’t even called for a foul. Instead, the stoppage in play was from Belletti, who was flagged offside. Unbelievable.
74′ Iniesta passes it to Henry, and he plays it through to Eto’o. He tries to send it back to Henry, but he slips as he makes his turn. Bosingwa may have gotten a bit of a push, but Henry wasn’t really complaining about not getting the penalty. Meanwhile, Puyol gets into it with Ballack, and Puyol gets booked. That was a dumb booking, since Puyol will now be suspended for the second-leg. If Marquez is seriously injured (and it sure looked like it), then they’ll be seriously short-handed when they go to Stamford Bridge.
71′ Lampard comes off for Belletti, and the former Barca man gets a nice reception from the fans.
70′ Great effort from Eto’o as he gets the pass from Iniesta and he easily beats Terry and then runs past Alex. He’s alone in front of goal with Cech and fires it on target, but Cech makes a great save. I thought that was a goal, for sure. On the corner, Chelsea give up another corner and then Pique’s header is well off the mark.
68′ Great effort from Alves as he curls it over the wall, but it doesn’t dip in time and ends going over the crossbar by a foot or so. He had Cech well beaten there.
66′ Abidal with a nice run down the left, and he sends a dangerous cross into the center of the box for Eto’o. Terry knocks it away from harm. Lampard hits Iniesta with a late tackle from behind, and Barca have a good free kick opportunity from about 35 yards out. They’re dead center, too, so they’re well within Alves’ range.
65′ Alves makes a nice play to avoid Terry’s sliding tackle and he plays it long to Eto’o. The Cameroon forward is flagged offside, though.
64′ Iniesta pokes it through to Eto’o, but it’s long and Cech comes out to get it.
63′ There’s going to be a ton of stoppage time. We haven’t even gotten through all the subs yet.
60′ Barca win a corner and it’s out to Messi. He doesn’t shoot it and is met by a sea of Chelsea players. Alves then gets a shot from the right edge of the box, and Cech produces a great save. Drogba then goes down after he and Pique have a meeting of the minds.
59′ Messi cuts inside and wins a corner for his team. He seems to be doing that at will and you wonder why he doesn’t keep doing it. Anyway, on the corner, Xavi’s ball finds Messi on the left edge of the box. He volleys it but it’s over the crossbar.
58′ Nearly a chance for Barca as a long ball from Pique into the box nearly finds Alves. He and Eto’o nearly collide going for the ball, but Cech comes out and collects it.
57′ Alves exchanges some words with Lampard, and Alves isn’t making too many pals on that Chelsea squad.
56′ Messi tries to make something happen, but he gets closed down by Mikel and Ballack and Mikel takes it away.
55′ Alves is back and he looks like he’s fine.
54′ Xavi makes a great sliding play to keep possession, but Alves gives it away. Meanwhile, another Barca player is down, and it’s Alves. He’s grabbing his foot and it looks like Drogba stepped on his ankle.
53′ Mikel closes off Toure from the ball, but Toure jumps on his back and mauls him. Somehow, Mikel is called for the foul there. Not sure how that happened.
52′ Marquez is coming off and the skipper, Puyol, is going to replace him.
49′ Marquez slips on the pitch and he goes down in a heap without any contact. That doesn’t look good. It looks like he may have hurt his knee, and he’s going to be stretchered off. Meanwhile, Henry is back on the pitch, but I’m not sure if he could tell you who the Prime Minister of France is.
48′ Chelsea have it close to the left corner of the box. Drogba sends it into Ballack, who gets a free header on goal. It’s just over the top right corner, and Ballack doesn’t miss too many of those. Meanwhile, on the restart, Alex elbows Henry in the air, and Henry is down on the pitch. He looks like he’s in La-La land, and they’ve brought out the stretcher. Henry eventually walks off under his own power, but he’s clearly out of it.
47′ Malouda tries to get around Alves down the left wing, and Alves brings him down. Very poor defending from Alves there.
46′ Barca kick off and we’re underway with the second half! No changes for either side.
46′ Has anyone seen Frank Lampard? Toure is doing an impressive job on him. Meanwhile, Henry had a great half. It was almost like he was back at Arsenal.
Football is a funny sport. Barcelona dominated the first half, but weren’t able to score. Meanwhile, Chelsea had the best scoring chance of the day when Drogba had a one-on-one with Valdes. The longer this match remains scoreless, the better it is for Chelsea. As such, we can expect Barcelona to increase their offensive pressure in the second half. That approach could also open up things for Chelsea, as we’ve already seen some shakiness in the back from the Barca defense. Messi hasn’t done too much, however Henry really seems to be giving Chelsea’s defense some problems. We’ll see if either manager makes any changes at halftime.
45′ + 1 One minute will be added on. There’s the whistle and we’re at halftime!
45′ Iniesta with a hard shot from long-range, but Cech handles it easily.
44′ Barca with a quick counterattack as Henry gets it inside the box. He over-dribbles it, though, and he can’t get a shot off. He has to send it back out to Messi, but Chelsea are able to reset their defense.
43′ Great run by Iniesta and he plays Eto’o through down the left. He’s called offside, and on the replay, it’s clear that he was not.
42′ More defensive sloppiness and Drogba gets it on the edge of the box. He gets into the box and he slips. He wants a penalty, but it’s clear that he was not fouled.
39′ Marquez messes up his back-pass and Drogba gets two chances in front of goal. Valdes blocks Drogba’s shot but Drogba gets another chance. Valdes then makes an even better save as Drogba looks to chip the ball past him. He probably should have tried to poke it into the net, but hindsight is 20/20. Pique then knocks it out to concede the corner. Wow! Valdes just bailed out his team there. The corner sails into Valdes’ waiting arms, and Barca are out of danger.
37′ Iniesta gets fouled by Mikel, but Toure gets booked for mouthing off to the ref. I guess Toure wanted a booking on Mikel or something.
36′ Alves goes down and Drogba gives him a lecture about diving. Pot, kettle, black.
35′ Nothing doing on the corner as Chelsea are able to get it away from danger.
34′ Messi nearly falls down as he runs along the edge of the box. He keeps his balance and sends it Iniesta on the left edge of the box. He tees it up for Henry, whose hard shot on target produces a great save from Cech. It’s out for a corner.
32′ Chelsea have parked the proverbial bus in front of their goal. They seem like they’d be thrilled with a scoreless draw.
31′ Xavi with a great through-ball to Henry. He cuts inside from the left wing and shoots on target. Cech dives and makes the save at the near post.
30′ Marquez sends in a cross from the right wing and Essien carelessly heads it out for a needless corner. It comes to nothing, though, as Chelsea knock it away from danger.
29′ Abidal tries to cross it from deep down the left flank, but Cech cuts it out. Henry is down on the pitch after a collision with Ballack, and the German skipper gets booked.
28′ Alves sends it to Xavi, who tries a long-range shot from outside the box. It’s a good effort that just barely goes over the crossbar.
27′ Xavi’s free kick takes a deflection off the Chelsea wall and it’s out for a corner. The corner goes out towards Messi, but his shot is deflected out for another corner. This time, Chelsea knock it away for a throw
26′ This will be a great chance for Barca, as they’re only about 30 yards away.
25′ Cech collides with one of his teammates on the ensuing corner, but they are able to clear it away from danger. Messi draws a foul and Alex is booked.
24′ Toure gives it away on the edge of the box, but Iniesta wins it back. He tries a long-range shot, but it’s well off the mark. Long pass to Henry deep inside the box, but Alex does a great job to close him down and give up the corner.
22′ Good buildup from Chelsea as they actually string together some passes in their attacking half. Ballack tries to play it long to Drogba, but he’s flagged offside.
20′ Very fluid movement from Barca as they seem to be doing a training ground exercise. Henry tries to set Messi up from the edge of the box, but it’s over the crossbar. Cech booms his goal-kick past all of his teammates and right into Valdes’ arms. That’s like the third time he’s done that. Well, at least his leg is healthy.
18′ It’s been all Barca, so far. Chelsea have barely had any possession. Eto’o shoots from the edge of the box, but it’s wide of the post and out for a goal-kick.
17′ Messi plays it through to Alves down the right, and his cross into the center of the box is knocked away by Chelsea before Eto’o can get on the end of it.
16′ Eto’o takes a swan-dive onto the pitch after he collides with Ballack. The ref isn’t buying it, though.
15′ Alex hits Marquez with a hard tackle, and Alex comically trots away as if he were fleeing the scene of a crime. No booking, though, as Alex evidently believes that if he runs away, then he can’t be booked.
14′ Messi takes the free kick from about 30 yards out on the right flank. Messi shanks his kick badly, though, and it’s out for a goal-kick. That was a waste.
13′ Messi burns Bosingwa down the right and Bosingwa has to lunge at him from behind, and he’s lucky not to draw a yellow card.
12′ Long cross from Abidal on the edge of the box, and Cech cuts it out. However, he fumbles the ball as he crashes to the ground. Luckily for him, Alex is there to kick it away. Cech is not inspiring confidence from his teammates right now.
10′ Toure breaks up a one-two between Ballack and Drogba. Barca go on the counter-attack and Henry plays it to Iniesta, who then finds an open Messi on the edge of the box. He doesn’t shoot, though, and decides to take a touch, which allows the Chelsea defense to recover. Not sure why he didn’t shoot that.
8′ Messi makes a run at Bosingwa, and the makeshift left-back does well to stay with him.
5′ Valdes comes out for the ball and nearly gets undercut by Malouda, but he manages to hang on to the ball. Messi plays it through to Alves down the right, but Alves’ cross is long and is out for a goal-kick.
4′ Malouda sends it across the box and Essien then taps it to Lampard. He takes a shot from the edge of the box, but it’s just wide of the post.
2′ Henry challenges Ivanovic down the left wing. Ivanovic hits him with a late tackle and Henry wins the free kick on the left edge of the box. On the freebie, Cech gets caught in no-man’s land as he hesitates once the ball goes towards the far post. Eto’o heads it across the goal and it nearly trickles in at the far post. Ultimately, Henry is flagged for being offside and that saves Chelsea, who were in total disarray in the back.
1′ Chelsea kick off and we’re underway! Wolfgang Stark is our ref.
0′ Who will be Chammmmm-pionnnnnnns?
0′ Lord knows Ashley Cole is about as likable as smallpox, but he’s a heck of a defender, especially against pacy, offensively inclined wingers. There’s a reason why Cristiano Ronaldo has never scored a Premiership goal against Chelsea. If Bosingwa struggles on the left side, then this match could get out of hand really early.
0′ Wow. Both of these teams are loaded! This should be a real treat of a match.
0′ Kind of a surprise to see Mikel in there. I guess Hiddink knows that he has to protect his defenders, which is why he’s keeping Ballack back there as well.
0′ The English press are saying that this could be Messi’s coming out party, the time that he proves to the world how great he is. I think he’s already done that, don’t you? I guess the English media believes that, because they don’t cover him on a regular basis, then he doesn’t exist. I know. I can’t believe how self-centered and narcissistic they are, either.
0′ It’ll be interesting to see how Gerard Pique does. I haven’t really followed his progress since he left Manchester United, but I always thought he had the potential to be a real dominant force. He’s established himself as a regular starter this year (the same can’t be said about Alex Hleb, for instance), and he’ll be expected to keep Drogba in check. If he does a good job, then Chelsea will be really hard-pressed to come up with goals.
0′ This match has the potential to become a real shootout. Both sides have some serious firepower up front, and both sides have some question-marks on defense. I seriously doubt that it will be a scoreless draw the way it was when Manchester United visited the Nou Camp during last year’s Semifinal.
0′ Hello everyone and welcome to Soccerlens’ live coverage of the UEFA Champions League! It’s time for the Semifinals, and today we’ll be covering Chelsea’s trip to the Nou Camp to take on Barcelona! I’m Victor and I’ll be your liveblogger. I’m watching this match on ESPN. However, this match is available, on-line, at ESPN360. For information on how to access that fine service, feel free to consult this article. Click here for other, free, options.
Well, Guus Hiddink certainly threw us a big-time curveball, didn’t he? For all the talk about Chelsea wanting to attack and pick off a road goal, once the match started, they promptly went into their 10-0-0 formation and seemed determined to escape the Nou Camp with a scoreless draw. On that count, it’s mission accomplished for them, and they’ll go back to Stamford Bridge, firmly in the driver’s seat. Obviously, 0-0 is a dangerous score for them, since any goal from Barcelona will give them a huge advantage. However, they’ll definitely fancy their chances at home, especially now that they’ve shown that they can keep the shackles on Messi and Co.
As for Barcelona, it’s not the end of the world. However, they were in this position against Manchester United last year, and all it took was a thunderbolt from Paul Scholes to eliminate Barca from Europe. They’re defense could be shorthanded, with Marquez’s injury and Puyol’s suspension. And they haven’t really seen what Chelsea are capable of, since only Drogba seemed like he was actually trying to get forward and generate scoring opportunities. In the second leg, however, Chelsea will have to commit more players to offense, which could leave them open in the back. If Messi, Eto’o, Henry, and Iniesta manage to find some room to operate, then they could easily put several road-goals past Cech and the Chelsea defense.
Man of the Match:
There weren’t too many worthy candidates to choose from. Iniesta had a great match and did an excellent job pulling the strings on offense. He passed the ball very well and nearly sparked several scoring opportunities. Valdes made a great play to deny Drogba, but, otherwise, didn’t do much as Chelsea rarely went on the attack. Alves had an ineffective first half before coming to life in the second half. Henry was the opposite, as he threatened several times in the first half and was mostly invisible in the second. Toure did a good job shutting down Lampard in the center of midfield, but it’s not like Lampard really ventured forward. Messi was quiet, as Chelsea did a great job on him and really neutralized his playmaking abilities. As for Chelsea, Cech was shaky but came up big when he had to. Their defense got exposed a few times, but didn’t give up anything. Drogba was a threat up top, but he wasn’t getting the kind of effective service he needs in order to make an impact.