By Greg Robertson
Hello and welcome to Stamford bridge where we have a mouth-watering match in prospect. English Premier League side Chelsea host arguably the bet team in the world, Barcelona, in the first leg semifinal clash of the Champions League 2012.
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LIVE COMMENTARY… FINAL Chelsea 1 – 0 Barcelona
It's all over Chelsea win 1-0 and take that into the second leg at Camp Nou.
92 mins: Home fans whistling for the final whistle. Looks like Chelsea might have this on... Barcelona scrambling to throw an attack together.... Pedro OFF THE POST... then BUSQUETS PUTS IT OVER FROM CLOSE RANGE! How many have Barcelona missed? Video up.
86 mins: Drogba carded for a challenge on Messi... Xavi is off and Cuenca on for Barcelona. Ohhhh Cech turns a Puyol flick header away. Messi picked out Puyol and it was a great header and an even better save. Video up soon. + 3 minutes of added time
84 mins: Kalou is through and valdes ruishes at him with the urgency that is required for the situation but Kalou is penalised for pushing a player off the ball. Plenty of Barcelona nails being bitten i the stands.
80 mins: Xavi this time with a shot that hits players. How many times has that happened today? Credit where it is due to the Chelsea defence who have really been outstanding today. For all their possession, Barcelona has hardly threatened Cech in the second half.
Fabregas off and Thiago is on for Barcelona.
76 mins: Messi again brought down... again. This one is 35 yards out... three man wall right out in front, Alves hits the wall. Is this not to be Barcelona's day?
70 mins: Pedro booked for bringing down Young... that's the first thing he's done since coming on. Di Matteo about to make his first switch of the game... Kalou getting final instructions... Juan Mata is coming off.
69 mins: This is like Messi taking on the entire Chelsea side. Ramires bring him down and gets the first yellow card of the night. Another free kick very similar in position to the one a few minutes ago. Has Messi had the sighter? No, it's Xavi who blasts it well over the wall and quite a few rows back.
65 mins: Messi dribbles away - again - and has Chelsea scrambling. Chelsea defenders keep coming at him one after the other and eventually he gets a shot away but it's deflected wide. Alexis Sanchez is coming off for Barca and Pedro is on.
63 mins: Danger, danger for Chelsea as Messi flicks the ball up onto Mikel's arm just outside the penalty box. Free kick has been given... four men in the wall, two Barca players on that edge... Messi over the ball... hits it low and hard and into the wall.
61 mins: An hour gone at Stamford Bridge and you get the feeling as though a touch of urgency is creeping into Barcelona's play - they are still controlling the midfield but Chelsea are getting more ball on the break. Messi dribbles away again and is swooped on by three Chelsea players.
56 mins: How did Alexis Sanchez miss that?!?! What a pass from Fabregas who scoops it over the Chelsea defence and Sanchez rushes his strike on goal... how did he miss???? Video up.
55 mins: Important block from Cahill as he flings himself into the path of the ball and stops the Messi shot. Recovers again minutes later as Sanchez breathes down his neck.
53 mins: Corner Chelsea and Gary Cahill on the stretch couldn't quite reach it. The lack of height for Barcelona at set pieces exposed right then.
50 mins: Adriano hits one crisply but Cech had a sighter all the way. Good effort though. Video up.
48 mins: Normal transmission has resumed with Barcelona having all the ball. Pass, pass, pass, Messi dribble, pass, foot in, pass, pass, turn... pass... pass.... err, pass... must be 30 by now... Messi accelerates away and nudges it with the outside of his left to Iniesta but his shot is deflected off Ivanovic for a corner. Lampard clears the corner.
46 mins: second half has kicked off. Chelsea has taken the lead in all 11 Champions League games this season, including two that they lost. Messi dribbling, shooting - into players.
HALFTIME 1-0 to Chelsea
47 mins: Drogba has scored! Video up. Well Ramires broke away and squared it back to Drogba in the box and even though he mis-kicked it it was hard not to miss from there. Valdes had no chance to save that.
46 mins: Messi has gone down and everyone holds their breathe.... he's up, hobbling. Nothing in the challenge just Messi turning and slipping and hurting the ankle a bit!
42 mins: Play has just gone through a little stale period as both teams think about getting to the halftime without conceding. The rain is starting to come down and it's chilly... oh Cole off the line for Chelsea!!! Messi with a brilliant run, he runs and ruins, then slips Fabregas in who plays a delicate chip over the advancing Cech and it's Cole there to welly it away from the net. Saved a goal there. Video up. +2 mins of added time
40 mins: Meireles with a long-range effort that hits one of many Barcelona bodies in the penalty box.
38 mins: OUCH! Drogba climbs high for a header and lands on his back. He's in some serious pain... oh well, they do have £50-odd million worth of striker on the bench... no, I'll rephrase that, a striker that cost £50 million... worth is an entirely different thing right now given the lack of goal-scoring form he's in.
34 mins: Ohhh magical from Barcelona, one-touch passing, and Alves would have had a great chance on goal if not for Cole tracking back. Video up.
30 mins: Well half an hour in and Chelsea will have to be happy that they have restricted the damage and it's 0-all. All the chances have been with Barcelona and it's really been mostly one-way traffic. Chelsea will be trying to get to halftime, have an inspirational orange and get some good oil on how to break down this Barcelona team. I get the feeling all they'll get is a Roberto Di Matteo scratching his head.
28 mins: A great ball in for Barcelona and Messi is up like a salmon, heading down and forcing another good Cech save down low to his left. Video up.
26 mins: Cech called into action again as Barcelona absolutely begins to carve Chelsea to pieces - plenty of space to be had down the left for Barcelona and they are starting to exploit it. Video up.
25 mins: Iniesta does brilliantly down the left, beats Gary Cahill all ends up (about three times) and was lucky not to get something out of it when brought down.
23 mins: Nearly 80% possession to Barcelona. Messi attacks them right through the middle and tries to slip Iniesta in but he didn't see it coming.
19 mins: Mata on the edge for Chelsea flies one well over the top. Then Barcelona fire a long ball over the top and forces Cech to leave his line. It's a definite tactic to try and catch out the Chelsea defence.
17 mins: Alves dances down the right, squares it to Messi who thinks about it and then lets crack straight into the blue wall. Ohhh Barcelona has missed another chance... Messi carves it out and forces a Cech save and it falls to Fabregas who mis-kicks when the goal was beckoning. Video up.
15 mins: Lionel Messi not a factor - just yet. In six appearances against the side he hasn't scored...
13 mins: Meireles has to be careful he's been late on the challenge twice now and he's lucky he's in the ref's good books rather than notebook.
10 mins: A cross comes in and it falls at John Terry's feet - it gets trapped though and he can't turn on the ball about 8 yards out. Video up.
9 mins: warning bells are clanging here for Chelsea but they manage to survive - thanks the the crossbar! Alexis Sanchez free one-on-one and clips it over Cech and HITS THE CROSSBAR. Video up.
8 mins: Free kick, 35 yards out on the angle, Xavi sends it in bending it towards the goal but it's a gift for Cech.
6 mins: Drogba lacking some pace chasing a through ball, gets to it but his touch again is not the best. Puyol cleans up at the back for the visitor's.
4 mins: Some searching balls been tossed in by Barcelona as they try and find an early weakness in the home side's defence. So mid-week Chelsea officials were saying they know how to beat Barcelona - they didn't share. We'll see.
2 mins: Barcelona is just keeping the ball and the first errant pass of the night is picked of by Frank Lampard but there was an infringement. No doubt that Chelsea will push forward rather than sit back and defend... Mata to support Drogba. Huge booming kick from Cech nearly finds Drogba free right up front but his first touch was that of a trampoline. A good one then and he was right on Valdes in the Barca goal.
We've kicked off!
Guardiola and Di matteo - these two met each other as players some 12 years ago.... they meet as managers for the first time.
So Messi has 63 goals in all competitions.... not bad I suppose (sic). Players lining up and the house is full.
Well we have our live pictures from Stamford Bridge - this one should be an absolute cracker.
Barcelona: Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Messi, Alexis. Subs: Pinto, Bartra, Thiago, Pique, Pedro, Keita, Cuenca.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Lampard, Mikel, Meireles, Ramires, Mata, Drogba. Subs: Turnbull, Bosingwa, Essien, Malouda, Kalou, Torres, Sturridge.
And it's been confirmed, just as we thought - Drogba is starting ahead of Torres.
Kick off is a little bit away so in the meantime watch Barcelona and Chelsea in quarter final action.
Chelsea: 1-Petr Cech; 2-Branislav Ivanovic, 26-John Terry, 24-Gary Cahill, 10-Juan Mata, 5-Michael Essien, 7-Ramires, 8-Frank Lampard, 21-Salomon Kalou; 11-Didier Drogba.
Barcelona: 1-Victor Valdes; 2-Dani Alves, 3-Gerard Pique, 14-Javier Mascherano, 5-Carlos Puyol; 15-Seydou Keita, 6-Xavi Hernandez, 16-Sergio Busquets; 9-Alexis Sanchez, 10-Lionel Messi, 8-Andres Iniesta
Chelsea must play two perfect games in their Champions League semi-final against holders Barcelona to have any chance of reaching the final, their caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo said.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of the first leg at Stamford Bridge, Di Matteo, who has revived Chelsea's fortunes after taking over from Andre Villas-Boas, said playing Barca represented the biggest challenge a manager could face.
Chelsea take on Pep Guardiola's European champions after winning nine, drawing two and losing one of their last 12 matches since Di Matteo took charge and he said they were in a buoyant mood after beating Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 in the FA Cup semi-finals.
"I think it's fair to say we need two perfect games from our point of view against this team. I think also the fact that the last six weeks we've been performing very well that gives us the belief that we can produce two perfect games against this team," he said.
"They don't like to play against us. The results in the past have shown that because of the way we play it's a little bit more difficult for them to play against. I think we respect each other both but we both know that there's going to be two teams tomorrow night who are playing against each other and we've shown on many occasions that we are a team that give them a lot of problems."
"The spirit in the group is very high, it's very good."
Chelsea, languishing sixth in the Premier League standings, have not lost to Barcelona the last five times the teams have played.
Since the Spanish side won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in a round of 16 match in 2006, four matches between them have ended in draws and Chelsea have won once.
The last time they met, though, in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final in 2009 was effectively a defeat for Chelsea when Andres Iniesta's equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time to earn Barcelona a 1-1 draw and seal their place in the final on away goals.
Like Barca, Chelsea have been in the semis six times in the last nine seasons, but unlike their opponents who have gone on to win the Champions League three times in that period, Chelsea have reached only one final and lost it to Manchester United on penalties in Moscow in 2008.
England midfielder Frank Lampard says Chelsea must not be afraid of Barcelona.
"I think the last thing we wan t to do is take too much fear into this game," he said.
"You can talk yourself into fear by talking up Barcelona all the time, and we have to believe in ourselves, we have to respect the opposition but we have to go and play our game and if we do that I personally believe we have a very good chance of winning the game . We have to be at our best because we are taking on the best."
To do that Chelsea must stop Lionel Messi from adding to the 68 goals he has scored in 59 matches this season, although in six games Messi has yet to score against Chelsea.
He might, however, be able to exploit the hole in the Chelsea defence left by the injured David Luiz.
For Barcelona, the defending champions' last Champions League meeting with Chelsea came back in 2009.
A stoppage time goal from Andres Iniesta at Stamford Bridge saw Barcelona advance from the semi-final tie on away goals, breaking the 'Blues" hearts in the process.
Revenge could offer Chelsea added motivation - as if the chance to reach a second Champions League final and stay on course to win the competition for the first time isn't enough - but Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola believes that recent history will have no bearing on this latest tie.
The coming week is pivotal to 'Barca's' season.
Sandwiched between the two legs of the Champions League semi-final is Saturday's (April 21st) 'El Clasico' meeting with arch rivals Real Madrid, who currently lead Barcelona by four points at the top of the Spanish Primera Liga.
The Barcelona squad will be tested to the limit in the three games, but Guardiola will worry about Jose Mourinho and Real once Wednesday's game is over.
Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas is returning to the English capital following his move away from Arsenal at the end of last season.
The Spanish international says that Barcelona's fixtures in the coming weeks justify his move back to the Nou Camp, where he played the majority of his youth career.
Barcelona have faced Chelsea in four Champions League knockout ties and came out on top in three of those meetings as fans watched live, streaming forward to net a swag of goals.
But one man who has some what surprisingly failed to score in any of his appearances against Chelsea is Barca talisman Lionel Messi. The latest tie will be the fifth consecutive Champions League semi-final appearance for Barcelona.
The Catalan giants are aiming to become the first team since AC Milan in 1990 to be crowned European champions for a second year in succession.