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29.04.2009 13:36

A great match without goals

Jordi Clos

The first leg of the Champions League semi-final lived up to expectations. Both Barça and Chelsea tried their best to play the match on their own terms but in the end it was the Premier League side that got the goalless draw they wanted.

Faithful to their attacking style of football, Barça had to contend with a highly defensive line-up of four defenders and five midfielders. The result was an overwhelming 67% of possession for Barça, with 515 completed passes as against 182 for Chelsea.

22 shots to 3

QM3D0171.jpgBarça had 22 shots on Cech’s goal. An individual effort from Eto’o (min 69), a header from Bojan (min 90) and a left foot shot from Hleb (min 92) came closest to beating the Chelsea keeper. Chelsea had just three shots throughout the match, the most dangerous from Drogba just before the break which was frustrated by an excellent double save from Valdés.

Fouls and cards

Barça players committed just seven fouls during the match, some thirteen fewer than the visitors. However, both teams received two yellow cards, a fact that didn’t go down too well with manager Pep Guardiola and his players.

Unfavourable precedents

_M3_3710.JPGFinally, Chelsea got what they came for and took a 0-0 draw away from the Camp Nou, the first time Barça has failed to score at home for over a year. The last time was also in the Champions League last season against Manchester United, who played a similarly defensive game to force a 0-0 draw.

There have been two goalless draws for Barça in the first leg of a European competition. The other occasion was against Liverpool in the UEFA Cup in the 2000-2001 season. On both occasions, Barça were subsequently beaten 1-0 at Old Trafford and Anfield respectively and denied a place in the final.
A great match without goals
Ovation for Belletti
It was an unforgettable night for Juliano Belletti. The name of the hero of Paris was chanted by the Barça fans as he warmed up to come on in the second half for Chelsea. He substituted Lampard in the 70th minute and received a warm ovation from the Camp Nou. A rare event for a visiting player in the high tension of a Champions League Semi-final.

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