Chelsea and FC Barcelona shared the spoils in their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg tie at Stamford Bridge. The Spanish side went into the contest as overwhelming favourites, but the English hosts did justice to their fans as they put up a spirited performance and arguably deserved the victory on the night.
After hitting the post twice, Brazilian winger finally got his name on the scoresheet as his shot from distance beat goalkeeper Marc Andre ter-Stegen and the ball found its way into the back of the net.
It seemed that Chelsea were holding on to a massive win against the La Liga leaders, but Lionel Messi decided to spoil their party and score the first goal of his career against them to level the tie, and more importantly provide a crucial away goal to his side.
After the match, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was undoubtedly disappointed at conceding a goal and discussed Andreas Christensen’s error that led to Andres Iniesta squaring the ball in to the stride of Messi.
He said: “I think that it was very close, we made only one mistake. As you know very well, when you make a mistake against Barcelona—the best players like Messi, [Luis] Suarez and [Andres] Iniesta—you pay [for it].
“It’s a pity because I’m very proud of the players for the game and they followed what we prepared and planned. I also think tonight we were a bit unlucky—maybe we deserved a bit more.”
Despite singling out the mistake without mentioning Christensen’s name, Conte later went on to state that the Dane was one of Chelsea’s best players on the night and played a key role in keeping it tight at the back for them. He completed all but two of his 29 attempted passes against Barcelona and had the best completion rate among any of his teammates.
Now the onus is on Conte to go to the Camp Nou and come back with a result. He and everybody else knows that his Chelsea side are more than capable of ruffling a few feathers of Barcelona, and are still in contention to progress to the quarterfinals.