Sports

Messi Breaks Chelsea Duck To Earn Stamford Bridge Draw

Messi Breaks Chelsea Duck To Earn Stamford Bridge Draw

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte rued the costly error which nullified his otherwise perfectly-crafted plan as Barcelona hit back to net a potentially priceless away goal in Tuesday's Champions League last-16 clash. "I am very pleased with his performance".

The Brazilian star was the driving force for Chelsea throughout the game, hitting either post with two first-half strikes. I think we played a really good game and I must be pleased because my players made a great effort. I think only one mistake.

"We gave too much space to Willian to shoot", Valverde said. But as you know very well, against this type of player - like Messi, like [Andres] Iniesta, like [Luis] Suarez - if you make a mistake you pay.

"You must go there to attack and create, we have to feel we can hurt them".

Chelsea deserved their lead and even threatened a second goal before young defender Andreas Christensen betrayed his relative inexperience with a moment of madness.

Midfielder Cesc Fabregas had earlier claimed that Chelsea should now attack Barcelona after taking the lead against the runaway leaders of La Liga, even though Conte was adamant that his team had already nearly executed the ideal tactical plan.

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The return leg takes place on Wednesday, March 14, and Conte added: "It's a pity because tonight at the end of the game we are disappointed with the final result. We can compete, but have to play an excellent game".

"The final result and qualification is open, it will be very hard but our performance gives confidence to try and do something incredible".

"We gave them a big chance at Camp Nou where they are strong, but we are positive". We go home thinking we completed a good work, we competed very well [and] we should be proud of that but at the same time we go home sad.

Barcelona zipped the ball around in eye-pleasing style but apart from Paulinho's wasteful header they struggled to lure Chelsea into mistakes. We followed the gameplan.

But with his only real chance of the game, the Barcelona forward beat goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from close range on 75 minutes after being teed up by Andres Iniesta. We must be prepared to suffer together.


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