Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona: 5 Talking Points
A closer look at the major talking points from the Champions League round of 16 tie between Chelsea and Barcelona at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea and Barcelona played out a cagey 1-1 draw in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie at Stamford Bridge. Barcelona dominated possession on the night but they failed to muster any significant attempt on the Chelsea goal in a compelling first half from Chelsea's perspective after the hosts came close to taking the lead not once but twice.
Willian was denied by the woodwork on a couple of occasions in the first half and Eden Hazard blasted one over the bar after the ball fell kindly to him just outside the penalty area. Despite asserting their dominance on keeping the ball, the Catalans failed to register a single shot on target in the first half.
Chelsea were finally rewarded for all their bravery just after the hour mark when Willian sent an unstoppable strike from outside the penalty area to break the deadlock. However, their celebrations were cut short after a poor pass from Andreas Christensen helped Andres Iniesta set-up Lionel Messi for an untimely equalizer, the Argentine's first ever goal against the London outfit.
Without further delay, let's take a closer look at the five key talking points from the game.
#1 Messi finally breaks the Chelsea jinx
All the talk in the build-up leading to this game was about how Lionel Messi will be provided with a rare opportunity to finally try and break his duck against Chelsea. The Argentine had failed to score for over 730 minutes of playing time against the Blues, who are considered as Messi's kryptonite for quite some time now.
However, he was presented with a straight-forward opportunity to make things right in the 75th minute when Iniesta got on the end of a poor pass from Christensen and teed up Messi for Barcelona's equalizer on the night.
When Iniesta managed to cut the ball back to Messi, the probability of the ball ending up in the back of the net seemed inevitable and the Argentine took his chance with much aplomb. It took him 30 shots to finally score against Chelsea, astonishing to say the least.