Chelsea and Barcelona would meet at the Camp Nou for the first time since 2006 for the first leg of the semi-finals of the Champions League, with the match resulting in the Blues taking a 0-0 back to the Bridge for next week’s second leg. Barcelona would dominate and dictate play for much of the match, but may rue failing to score at home if Chelsea get a result next Wednesday night.
The Barcelona attack got off to a flying start, with Rafael Marquez getting a chance in the 2nd minute. From a free kick, Samuel Eto’o headed a ball across goal for Marquez, who’s shot was deflected wide.
Otherwise, most of Barcelona’s shot attempts were from distance, with Andres Iniesta having a go from distance in the 24th minute and Xavi just missing the target from distance in the 28th minute.
Chelsea had their own opportunities, with Florent Malouda pulling the ball back to Frank Lampard, in the 2nd minute, only for Lampard to place his shot wide.
The best scoring chance came from Chelsea in the 39th minute when Marquez’ errant backpass was pounced on by Didier Drogba. Drogba saw his initial shot saved by Victor Valdes, and saw his attempt at a rebound saved as well.
Chelsea would almost gift a chance to Barcelona in the 43rd minute, when Branislav Ivanovic would slip, allowing Thierry Henry space to run on the left. Henry would get into the box, but would fail to get a shot away before he was crowded out by the Chelsea defense.
Nothing would change for either team in the second half, with Barcelona dominating possession and Chelsea defending their attacks.
Chelsea would get the first scoring chance in the 48th minute with Drogba’s free kick finding the head of Michael Ballack. Ballack’s header would fly over the bar presenting Chelsea with their only real chance of the second half.
Barcelona would get many chances to score, with three great chances created out of their attack. It was Eto’o who would get the first chance in the 70th minute, find himself with just Petr Cech to beat. Cech would be equal to the task, sliding at the feet of Eto’o and preventing the Cameroonian from scoring.
Alex Hleb would enter the match as a substitute in 87th minute, and six minutes later would find himself in the same situation as Eto’o. Once again, Cech would be equal to the task, saving the shot, and Hleb would fire wide.
Barcelona’s best chance would come in the 90th minute through substitute Bojan. Bojan was presented with a free header from 5 yards out from Dani Alves’ cross, only to head the ball over the bar, underlining their lack of finishing in a match that they dominated.
Barcelona may be facing problems heading back to the Bridge on Wednesday, as Marquez would leave in the 50th minute with an apparent knee injury and his availability for next Wednesday is in question. Carlos Puyol was also booked for a challenge on Ballack in the second half and will be suspended for the second leg as well, leaving Pep Guardiola with only one recognized central defender for next week’s match.