Chelsea took a small step forward on the road to Lisbon with a deserved draw in Istanbul. Mourinho, not for the first time this season, was left to rue missed chances and the inability to put teams to the sword. However the master tactician will not be too disappointed as Chelsea are surely clear favourites to advance to the last eight.
This was never going to be an easy night in what is surely Europe’s most intimidating stadium. The vociferous home support was at times deafening and the players struggled to hear each other. However the silence was most deafening in the eighth minute when the travelling Londoners had the audacity to score first. This was typical Mourinho. Chelsea pressed high up the pitch and broke with electrifying pace. The excellent Schurrle robbed ex Arsenal fullback Eboue and fed the pacey Azpilcueta who squared for Torres to score from six yards. A great start could have been even better had Willian converted a difficult chance after the home keeper miskicked.
Chelsea looked comfortable for the remainder of the first half but should have created more in the final third. Mourinho was clearly upset that his charges were making the wrong decisions time and time again. That said this was a classic first half away performance.
Mancini, the home manager, had seen enough and made a few tactical changes with Wesley Sneijder coming inside more. The home crowd were urging their team forward but Chelsea were resolute with Terry and Cahill controlling the familiar looking Galatasaray centre forward.
The game ebbed and flowed as both teams looked to take the advantage. The home side got a deserved equaliser in the 64th minute when slack defending from JT allowed Aurelien Chedjou to bundle home from close range. Chelsea began to tire, worn down by a hectic fixture list and the incessant noise in the Turk Telekom Arena.
The home side created a few chances with Cech superbly turning one thunderbolt over his crossbar. However Chelsea held firm and are well placed to make the last eight, probably as England’s only representatives.
Chelsea need to prepare a banner for the home leg : ‘welcome to heaven Didier Drogba’.