Messi finally breaks his duck vs. Chelsea to secure Barcelona draw


The atmosphere was "dead" during Chelsea's 1-1 draw against Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie and Stamford Bridge "was like a morgue", according to the former Blues assistant manager Ray Wilkins.

Barça's only threat in the first 45 minutes was an errant header by Paulinho, while Chelsea's Willian hit the post twice.

"I didn't think it was the near-perfect performance people are saying it was, you need to use everything in your power to put Barcelona under pressure".

Luis Suarez has revealed a subtle change made by Lionel Messi during Barcelona's match at Chelsea as the Catalan giants came from behind to take a draw back to the Nou Camp. "But at the same time, this game must give us a lot of confidence to trust that in the second leg the qualification is open".

Spanish press claim Gary Cahill did not play for Chelsea against Barcelona because of the news of Ryan Mason's retirement from football.

"We have showed that if we are ready to work very hard together defensively, but continue to have the right feeling when you win the ball when you have the chance to score, we can try to do something incredible at the Nou Camp".

With games massive tests against both Manchester clubs and Barcelona in the coming weeks, departing Chelsea won't be high on Conte's agenda.

Conte, who revealed he had been having trouble sleeping ahead of the match, will be having nightmares about the equaliser.

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We've got to reset ourselves and come back and play our way in", United States captain Brian Gionta said. They couldn't find a way to beat Russian Federation goalie Vassili Koshechkin, who made 29 saves.

The 21-year-old's aimless ball across his own area was seized upon by Iniesta and when he cut it back to Messi the Argentine duly delivered to send Barca's travelling fans wild. If they can take at least one of them, Chelsea can make it to the quarterfinals.

"No, absolutely no, no, no", he insisted.

"His performance was a great performance, an incredible performance", Conte said.

Yet even during the 2011/12 season, when Messi scored 73 goals for Barcelona, he failed to find the net in the two games he played against the Londoners.

Played in an unfamiliar false No9 the Belgian had a quiet night by his standards, marshalled well by the constant presence of Sergio Busquets, but he still managed 54 touches, 35 passes, four dribbles, three key passes, two shots and one assist.

The visitors predictably dominated possession, racking up 73 per cent while making 887 passes to Chelsea's 325.

"We were very close to the flawless game", he said. "If we do well, we can win the game there". "It's important to have the lead, but it's not definitive".