Torres scores as Chelsea draw in first leg

Galatasaray 1 Chelsea 1

Chelsea failed to make the most of a dominant first-half display but still look in a commanding position to progress after an intriguing last-16 Champions League first leg in Turkey.

The Blues seized control from the off and could have been further ahead at the break, but only had a Fernando Torres strike to show for their efforts.

And Galatasaray, with Chelsea legend Didier Drogba leading the line, improved considerably and levelled through Aurelien Chedjou’s tap in.

The draw and an away goal – in a predictably hostile and noisy atmosphere – seems a more than reasonable result.

But the victory looked there for the taking against a defence who were bordering on shambolic for the opening 30 minutes.

The hosts left huge open spaces at the back and Chelsea should already have been ahead by the time Torres opened the scoring.

However, Willian’s chipped effort was headed clear by goalkeeper Fernando Musleran, who redeemed himself after racing out of his goal and hopelessly mis-kicking the ball straight to the Brazilian.

Within nine minutes Chelsea deservedly had the lead anyway.

A slick move on the right saw Andre Schurrle slip the ball to Cesar Azpilicueta, whose pull-back was knocked in by his fellow Spaniard Torres.

And Chelsea continued to threaten.

Frank Lampard blasted a free-kick well over, Ramires also shot over after good work by Schurrle and the Blues failed to make the most of numerous counter-attacks

The Turkish side barely threatened until the final 10 minutes of the first period when they began to enjoy some periods of possession in Chelsea’s half after a tactical change saw them try to plug the many defensive gaps.

They did have the ball in the net just before the break but there were two balls on the pitch when Burak Yilmaz smashed the ball in off the post and play was rightly halted.

Unsurprisingly, Galatasaray were much better after the interval but Chelsea remained extremely dangerous on the break.

Musleran made a quality one-handed stop low to his left to deny Torres a second goal and several promising situations came to nothing.

But after Selcuk Inan somehow hit the outside of the post from two yards following a Drogba header, Galatasaray drew level.

Petr Cech elected to stay on his line from Wesley Sneijder’s pacy corner and Chedjou eluded John Terry to turn the ball in from five yards.

Cech then had to make a fine save after Willian tried to dribble the ball away from his area and it was the hosts who looked the more likely winners in the closing stages.

But Chelsea held on without too many alarms and will be favourites to reach the quarter-finals when Galatasaray travel to Stamford Bridge for the second leg on Tuesday 18 March.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Lampard; Schurrle (Mikel 67), Willian, Hazard (Oscar 90); Torres (Eto’o 68).
Subs not used: Schwarzer, Cole, Kalas, Ba.

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