LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Didier Drogba of Chelsea celebrates with teammate Juan Mata (R) after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final first leg match between Chelsea and Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on April 18, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Chelsea Vs. Barcelona: Didier Drogba Wins It For The Blues

Barcelona had much of the possession and most of the chances, but Didier Drogba was the only man to score as Chelsea won the first leg, 1-0

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Chelsea Vs. Barcelona Final Score, 2012 UEFA Champions League: Didier Drogba Fires Blues To Victory

Chelsea will be heading to Camp Nou with a lead in their UEFA Champions League tie after pulling off a fantastic 1-0 win over Barcelona on Wednesday night. The visitors created an incredible amount of chances and had an unbelievable 80 percent of the possession, but never found the back of the net. Didier Drogba scored the winning goal, capping off a brilliant counter in first half stoppage time.

The first half was all Barcelona until Drogba's goal at the very end of the period. Alexis Sanchez had the first big chance of the match in the 9th minute, when he chipped Petr Cech and hit the crossbar. A minute later, Gary Cahill shot just wide on a long throw for Chelsea. This would be one of just two real chances for Chelsea in the first half.

Barca had 75 percent of the possession in the first 45 minutes and plenty of chances, the best of which was a bad miss by Cesc Fabregas on a wide open net in the 17th minute. Fabregas and Lionel Messi would force saves out of Cech later in the half, but they could never get one past him. It appeared that the two teams were going to coast into the half tied at 0-0 as stoppage time began, but then a strange sequence of events took place.

At the beginning of stoppage time, Messi lost his footing and went down awkwardly, appearing to injure himself. He continued to play, and shortly afterwards, gave the ball away to Chelsea. Frank Lampard instantly turned defense into attack with a terrific long ball to Ramires, who got away from everyone with a blistering run. He played a perfect cross to Drogba at the far post, and he finished off the chance to give Chelsea a stunning 1-0 lead heading into the break.

It was raining at Stamford Bridge to start the match, but over the halftime period, the rain picked up significantly. That made the second half a much sloppier affair than the first, and for most of the half, it appeared to benefit Chelsea. Messi remained in the game and played well, but didn't appear as sharp as he did in the first half.

On a great surge forward from his left back position, Adriano created the first big chance of the second half. He cut inside and dribbled through four Chelsea defenders, then unleashed a hard drive at goal. It was hit with enough pace that Cech could only punch it away, but the shot was always right at him.

Gary Cahill had an absolutely massive minute for his club in the 55th minute, putting together his best sequence in what was a very good performance in place of the injured David Luiz. He first made a block on a shot by Messi, then after Barcelona recovered and got the ball to the feet of Alexis Sanchez in the box, made a brilliant late tackle to prevent him from getting a shot away.

Two minutes later, there was a massive let-off for Barca as Sanchez missed a big chance for the second time in the game, which likely led to his eventual removal for Pedro Rodriguez. Fabregas set up the chance with a great chip over the top of the defense to Sanchez, but his first chance let him down and he was never positioned well for his shot, which he put wide.

After that, all of Barcelona's best chances came on free kicks as Chelsea slowly settled into the game and began to keep their defensive shape better. It took them 30 minutes to look composed and get completely organized in the first half, but it took them just over 10 minutes to do the same thing in the second half.

Barcelona came extremely close to an equalizer in the 86th minute on one of the 12 free kicks that they were awarded during the match. Messi chipped in a great ball for Carles Puyol, who did well to make space for himself and direct a header towards the net, but Cech made an absolutely brilliant diving stop.

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Just like the last time Barcelona were at Stamford Bridge, they were given three minutes of stoppage time to find an equalizer. Unlike that game in 2009, Andres Iniesta did not put a magnificent shot into the roof of the net. Chelsea held on even as Barcelona put everyone forward with reckless abandon, hitting the post on one occasion in the third minute of stoppage time. Pedro hit the post with an effort from 15 yards that hit the post, and Sergio Busquets smoked his attempted over the crossbar on the rebound.

Miraculously, Chelsea take a vital 1-0 victory to the Camp Nou for the second leg. They deserve credit for how well they played, but it seemed like it was only by some kind of divine intervention that Barcelona failed to score.

You can find all of our previous pre-game updates and live game coverage in our Chelsea vs. Barcelona, UEFA Champions League Semifinals StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

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Chelsea Vs. Barcelona, 2012 UEFA Champions League: Halftime Score, Didier Drogba Has Blues Up

UPDATE: Chelsea 1-0 FC Barcelona, Final Score

For 45 minutes and a minute of stoppage time, Chelsea were dominated by Barcelona. The Blaugranas had chance after chance and more than 75 percent of possession. However, there seemed to be a plan in place, as Chelsea defended well for a lot of the half and looked to break on the counter over and over again. They were caught offside five times, but finally burned Barca on their last counter of the half. They lead by a score of 1-0 at halftime, thanks to Didier Drogba

Barcelona's first big chance of the afternoon came in the 9th minute, via Alexis Sanchez. Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta set up the chance with a great exchange that ended with a ball over the top of the defense by Iniesta. Sanchez latched onto it and attempted to chip Petr Cech, but hit the crossbar and the Chelsea defense cleared away.

A minute later, Gary Cahill had a chance for Chelsea on a long throw by Branislav Ivanovic, but put his effort just wide. This would be only one of two Chelsea chances in the half, as Barcelona controlled possession.

The Blaugranas' best chance game in the 17th minute, when they had multiple opportunities. Lionel Messi started the move with a dribbling move through traffic before laying off to Adriano, who set up Iniesta for a shot on target. Cech saved, but could only parry the ball into the patch of Cesc Fabregas. He should have been able to score, but put his shot embarrassingly wide.

Barcelona had a short spell where they took apart the Chelsea defense at every opportunity. Iniesta skinned Cahill at the endline in the 25th minute, but Cahill won the ball back with a hard shoulder challenge. Fabregas had a shot on target saved in the 27th minute, which was followed up by a Messi header on target just one minute later. At that point, Chelsea's defense seemed to wake up and started to look much more organized. John Terry also gave Puyol an ouchie.

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In the 43rd minute, Chelsea almost gave Barcelona a massive gift. John Obi Mikel inexplicably gave the ball away deep in midfield, giving their opponents a chance to build a quick counter. Messi played a fantastic through ball to Fabregas, who chipped Cech, but Cole ran back quickly and made a fantastic clearance off the line to preserve his side's clean sheet.

A 0-0 halftime score looked like a near certainty until Chelsea scored on a lightning quick counter attack with the last move of the half. Incredibly, the chance started when Messi gave the ball away. Lampard started the attack with a great ball to Ramires, who created space for himself with his blazing speed. He laid a perfect ball across the box to the far post for Drogba, who applied the simple finish.

It goes without saying that this goal was an absolute game changer. Barcelona were completely in control, Messi looked like the best player on the pitch and Drogba looked a bit off the pace for the entire half. In one 15-second sequence, all of that became irrelevant. Chelsea leads 1-0, and it's anyone's guess what adjustments the two managers make at halftime.

We'll have continuous pre-game updates and live game coverage in our Chelsea vs. Barcelona, UEFA Champions League Semifinals StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

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Chelsea Vs. Barcelona, 2012 UEFA Champions League: Lineups

The biggest news ahead of the UEFA Champions League semifinal between Barcelona and Chelsea is that Gerard Pique will not be starting. He's surprisingly been left on the Barcelona bench. Otherwise, Barca's lineup is as expected. Pep Guardiola was probably always going to go with a four-man back line, but if Pique is not starting because of fitness concerns, it more or less ties his hands. Chelsea have made one surprising selection, picking Raul Meireles in midfield. Here are the lineups

Chelsea Lineup (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech; Ashley Cole, John Terry, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic; John Obi Mikel, Raul Meireles; Juan Mata, Frank Lampard, Ramires; Didier Drogba

Barcelona Lineup (4-3-3): Victor Valdes; Adriano, Carles Puyol, Javier Mascherano, Dani Alves; Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas; Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez

If you're in the United States and looking for this game, it might not be where you expect. This game is not on FOX Soccer Channel because it has been moved to FX, a bigger channel available in more homes. You can still catch the game on FOX Deportes in Spanish. In Canada, the game is on Rogers Sportsnet regional networks, and you can find the game on ITV 1 in the UK.

We'll have continuous pre-game updates and live game coverage in our Chelsea vs. Barcelona, UEFA Champions League Semifinals StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

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Chelsea Vs. Barcelona, 2012 Champions League: Remembering Ovrebo And The "Iniestazo"

Ah, 2009. It feels like only yesterday that I watched a stunned Chelsea side gape as Andrés Iniesta's outside the box blast sailed past Petr Chech's outstretched arms. The tabloids in Spain--bastions of journalistic quality--dubbed the shot, and everything that had happened prior to it, the Iniestazo--golazo, but with the little Spaniard's name appended.

It seems like an apt description of the event, though I might change one thing. I'd probably call it the Ovrebazo, replacing Spain's World Cup hero (he has better things to be known for than this--you know, like scoring a World Cup winning goal), and give the honor to Norwegian referee Tim Henning Ovrebo, who conceded an interview to ESPN recently where he admitted that his mistakes "cost Chelsea in 2009."

Here's a little background for the unfamiliar: the 2009 semifinal between Barcelona and Chelsea was a tense tie. The Pep Guardiola Barcelona, in what was arguably their signature season, were looking at the brink of elimination, and were being outplayed by Guus Hiddink's Chelsea. After a chippy affair, Chelsea held a one goal aggregate advantage in Stamford Bridge; then, the Iniestazo, which put the Blaugrana through on away goals.

Earlier in the match, Ovrebo missed three perfectly clear penalties on Barcelona that would have given Chelsea an express path to the final. Each was more clear than the previous one. And he knows it: he still "gets death threats" from irate Chelsea fans.

Despite how memorable that match was, I think it's safe to say that neither side would enjoy a repeat performance. And for our sake--you know, the "unbiased" supporters--it would be better to never have to witness that again.

We'll have continuous pre-game updates and live game coverage in our Chelsea vs. Barcelona, UEFA Champions League Semifinals StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Chelsea FC blog We Ain't Got No History and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes.

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