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Feb 21, 2018


Barcelona Football Club would be happy to secure a vital away goal at the Stamford Bridge in the 1st Leg of the UEFA Champions League tie against Chelsea. Lionel Messi scored the equalizer for Barca, which was his first goal against Chelsea in nine outings.


Lionel Messi scored for the first time against Chelsea to secure a 1-1- draw for Barca in the first Leg tie in UEFA Champions League 2017-18

Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi Celebrating Goal against Chelsea - Barca vs Chelsea Match Pics


This season has been so far pretty good for Lionel Messi. He has been ticking away some of his unchecked items from his list since the start of the season. The best match of Barca so far this season has been the victory against Juventus. Messi never scored against Buffon in his career and he ticked away that. To the build up of last night's encounter against Chelsea, a lot of people were asking the sensational question 'Will Messi Score against Chelsea?' Some times it gets to the point of being absolutely ridiculous, where some people and pundits will hold it against him every time he puts in a good performance. So finally he got that box also ticked out; he scored the very important away goal which equalized the scoreline for Barca and also made good of not so efficient performance.




Chelsea Negated Barca's Brilliance Effectively


In my preview of this match, I clearly emphasized on the need of players to looks past the poor season Chelsea had so far. It didn't matter that they struggled consistently; in a one-on-one match up their pedigree could come into play and that's what we saw last night. They went with a Getafe like approach and showed more purpose on counter with just around 30% possession. The lion share of possession belonged to Barca, but apart from some half chances we never were able to test Chelsea's defense. The narrow pitch and the bad state of the pitch never helped; the picth conditions became the talking point among fans long before the start whistle was blown.


Always trust Messi. He would appear. Jordi Alba



From the start it was clear that Chelsea was comfortable in sitting back and defending deep and attacking on the counter. Once they became compact through the middle, our midfield was getting crowded. Chelsea also did wonderfully well to deny us any width; may be in these kind of games, we need to go with two wingers in the midfield. The early exchanges were as expected - Chelsea trying their luck from any opening from outside the box and Barca wasn't doing that as their game style looks for that perfect ball tearing the defense.


The first chance for Barca fell to Paulinho when a delightful clip chip by Messi found him in front of the goal. Paulinho had time in hand to take it under control but he never realized that and went with a first time header attempt and that went wide. Despite the missed chance, Lionel Messi showed his pedigree with that pass and that too when he was surrounded by four Chelsea players and also not facing to Paulinho at any time. The only other chance of the half to Barca fell to Pique with a header from corner.


Without any doubt Chelsea had the better chances of the half with Willian hitting the post twice and Hazard also having a decent chance toward the end of the half. Willian particularly was the trouble maker for Barca especially for Busquets. The Spaniard always was two steps behind the Brazilian and we paid the price for that in the second half when he left Willian alone to score a gem of a goal.


Lionel Messi and Iniesta combine to give Barca the Advantage


Even though we looked more organized and comfortable in second half and limited Chelsea heavily, that goal changed the complexion of the match. The way Chelsea was organized it felt as if we wouldn't be able to score in the night. But that all changed in the 75th minute when a series of horrendous mistakes from Chelsea players allowed Iniesta to pounce the ball and he squared the ball to Messi who scored for the first time against Chelsea with a clinical finish.


With the vital away goal, Barcelona start the second leg firm favourite. It gives us a bit of cushion and forces Chelsea to attack a bit. But what will be crucial will be how e use the width of the pitch at Camp Nou. But for now, we stand with a definitive advantage!

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