Chelsea were surprisingly held to a 1-1 draw by Barcelona after Willian put the Blues ahead before Lionel Messi cancelled out Willian’s strike. The Argentine forward hasn’t found the back of Chelsea’s net since he became a professional player and all eyes were on him during the match as they look to see if he would break is unwanted record against the Blues.
There were no much goals to talk about but there were suspense during the Champions League last-16 first leg tie at Stamford Bridge.
Conte made strong and surprise changes to his starting lineup as Morata and Giroud both start from the bench while Hazard was deployed as a false 9 so as to accommodate Willian in his first-team list for the game.
Barcelona coach Valverde didn’t make a wholesome change to his lineup but he interchanged his player’s position as he put Messi and Luis Suarez at the striker’s position while Paulino operates from the left of the midfield and Iniesta was deployed in his usual position as the attacking midfielder behind the two strikers.
Chelsea was the first team with a sight for goal as Hazard’s beautiful shot sailed over the crossbar in the fifth minute. Antonio Rudiger has also presented the chance to break the deadlock four minutes after Hazard miss but his header was wide off the post.
Brazil winger Willian strikes Barca’s post twice in 11 minutes before he broke the deadlock in the 62nd minutes after he curled a beautiful shot behind the Catalans goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Steen.
Barcelona was back into the game after a mistake from Christensen whose loose ball found Iniesta who made no mistake in finding Messi who also didn’t hesitate to slot the ball past Thibaut Courtois in the 75th minute of the encounter.
With Tuesday’s result, Chelsea must avoid losing to Barcelona or playing a goalless draw in the reverse fixture if they must qualify for the next round of the competition.
I thought everyone was excellent except Hazard and Antonio Conte. Hazard showed flashes of brilliance but not enough…was lazy at times. Antonio Conte got the lineup wrong. Morata or Giroud should have started. Im not happy with a 1-1 the game was there to be won. #CFC
— FrankieG???????? (@FrankieG_CFC) February 20, 2018
Conte's decision to play Pedro instead of Giroud/Morata cost us this game. CONTE messed up;his set-up from the right go was wrong @ChelseaFC
— Kwabena Sarri (@Dougie_Triks) February 20, 2018
Conte got the tactics right but the team wrong. Morata/Giroud inplace of Pedro & we would have won the game by 2-3 goal
— Aman (@Aman__cfc) February 21, 2018
A good contest between Chelsea FC and FC Barcelona this morning. A delightful goal from Willian and Lio Messi finally struck a goal against Chelsea. All is even now and let's hope for a better, thrilling match at Nou Camp.
— Bro Aizat (@izyaizatAB) February 21, 2018