Barcelona, Chelsea UCL tie delicately poised - FCNaija
Champions League By: Ambrose Udeme | 21/02/2018
After nearly 16 months since Barcelona last faced English opposition, and with a lot of changes having occurred during that time, the Spanish giants since their emphatic 3-1 defeat at Manchester City in November 2016 returned to England and snatched a vital away goal at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday against Chelsea to leave this tie still delicately poised.Lionel Messi's first goal in nine Champions League games against Chelsea gave Barcelona a potentially vital away goal as they rode their luck to earn a draw in the first leg of their last-16 tie at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea fans could be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about when it comes to Lionel Messi because the Argentine had failed to score in any of his eight previous games against the London club - the most he's played against any team without scoring. In fact, the last meeting between the teams resulted in one of Messi's greatest personal disappointments as he missed a crucial penalty in the second leg of the 2012 semi-final at the Nou Camp, with the Blues going on to win the competition in Munich.Messi also had a poor record against Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who went six games without conceding against the Barca talisman during his final season with Atletico Madrid in 2013-14 - a campaign that ended with Atletico beating Messi's Barca to the title on the last day of the season and knocking them out of the Champions League.But surely records like that are only meant to be broken by players with the quality of Messi, who headed into Tuesday's game in fabulous form having already scored 27 goals in all competitions this season. Chelsea had managed to establish an unlikely stranglehold on the genius of Messi who had not scored against Chelsea in eight previous Champions League appearances - and for large portions of a high-quality game, it looked as though he would be frustrated once more until he provided the emphatic finish that gave his side a potentially crucial away goal.
Messi's strike has now provided the springboard with which Barcelona can get themselves into the quarter-finals but
The likes of Messi and Suarez are expected to make things happen in the 2nd leg against Conte's men, but Chelsea will draw confidence from their history at Camp Nou and fight them. But for this to happen, the Londoners will have to play a different type of game. If they sit back, they will lose, meaning Conte needs to take the risk he didn't take at Stamford Bridge. On what his side will need to do in the second leg, Conte after a game that Chelsea should have been more positive considering they were playing at home instead of trying to limit the damage which was negative