Drogba strikes to give Chelsea first-leg victory over Barca

Chelsea 1 Barcelona 0

Didier Drogba’s goal on the stroke of half-time means Chelsea will take a slender lead into next week’s Champions League semi-final second leg at the Nou Camp.

Favourites Barcelona, who hit the woodwork twice, predictably had most of the possession. But they were unable to find an away goal, leaving the Blues with a fighting chance of progressing.

The all-important breakthrough at Stamford Bridge came when Ramires collected a great pass from Frank Lampard and scampered down the left before finding Drogba, who fired past keeper Victor Valdes.

It was a classic sucker-punch by Roberto Di Matteo’s side as they had been on the back foot for much of the half.

They almost went behind in the 10th minute, when Andreas Iniesta released Alexis Sanchez, whose chip bounced off the bar.

And they survived another scare when Lionel Messi dispossessed John Mikel Obi and found Cesc Fabregas, whose effort was cleared off the line by Ashley Cole.

Barca continued to probe in the second half but Chelsea stood firm – although they had to endure a nervous last few minutes.

Keeper Petr Cech did superbly to save Carles Puyol’s late header, and the Catalan giants were denied by the woodwork again in stoppage time.

With Chelsea clinging on desperately, Pedro shot against the post and Sergio Busguets, who should have scored from the rebound, inexplicably blasted over.

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