Chelsea stunned everyone at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night by beating mighty Barcelona 1-0 in the first leg of the two teams' Champions League semi-final. Didier Drogba's first half injury-time goal sealed the win for a dogged performance from the home side.
The Blues' interim manager, Roberto Di Matteo, earlier said his team needed two perfect games if they were to progress to the finals and a victory in the first leg (and the added bonus of not conceding an away goal) is certainly a job well done so far.
However, as is usually the norm, it was Barcelona who dominated the game and held a lion's share of the possession, from start to finish. The Spanish giants, led by Argentinean star Lionel Messi, created numerous chances. It was only heroic goalkeeping by Petr Cech and good fortune Chelsea were able to contain the Catalans.
The visitors' first attempt came as early as the ninth minute, when Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez's shot hit the crossbar. Former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas then missed a golden opportunity, in the 18<sup>th minute, when he made a mess of an easy shot - a rebound of a blocked shot from Iniesta. The former Gunner almost scored the opening goal minutes before half time, with a placed shot off a Messi through ball. However, Ashley Cole was just about able to clear the line with a brilliant diving clearance.
In spite of some ferocious attacks by Barca, it was Chelsea who took the lead, in the dying minutes of the first half, when Drogba managed to find the nets off a brilliant pass by Brazilian midfielder Ramires, who was given the ball by Frank Lampard owing to a mistake by Messi.
The second half started with Barcelona still dominating possession and desperately looking for an equaliser. Alexis missed another good opportunity, when he put a ball two yards wide of the post after receiving a lovely chip from Fabregas.
With three minutes left, Barcelona nearly managed to level the scores, when Carles Puyol cleverly flicked the ball with his head off a Messi chip. However, Cech managed to keep the ball out with a superb full length dive.
Barcelona's final chance came in injury time, when Sergio Busquets fired a shot over the crossbar after finding the ball in a very good position from Pedro's earlier effort, which had hit the post.