Champions League: Chelsea beat Barcelona

Didier Drogba scored for Chelsea to edge FC Barcelona 1-0 in the Champions League and grab a five-point lead in Group A on Wednesday.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Didier Drogba scored for Chelsea to edge FC Barcelona 1-0 in the Champions League and grab a five-point lead in Group A on Wednesday. Drogba scored with a low shot from just inside the area in the 47th minute as Chelsea largely outplayed the defending champions at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have a maximum nine points from three games, while Barcelona were tied with Werder Bremen on four points. "I think the team played very, very well,'' said Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. "Every individual played well and we played well as a team. I think that we deserved the three points." "But it's not a moment to be crazy. We got three points. I don't think it's a reason to be jumping about." Although Chelsea had the better chances and possession, it needed goalkeeper Hilario to save shots from Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez in the first half. Hilario was playing only because Petr Cech and backup Carlo Cudicini both had head injuries. Good save The Portuguese goalkeeper also safely held a 30-meter (yard) free kick from Ronaldinho under the crossbar. "Hilario showed security from the first minute,'' Mourinho said. "The team gave him confidence and he gave confidence to the team." Chelsea took control in the second half and went ahead. Left back Ashley Cole put the ball in from the left and Drogba turned past Carles Puyol before scoring his fourth Champions League goal of the season. "It was a tight, close game until Drogba changed all that,'' said Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard. "I think I was right to take some risks by going three at the back and try and get something out of the game. But Chelsea are a great side and tough when they go ahead, the coach said. Rijkaard said he remained confident Barcelona would make it to the last 16. Chelsea should have gone further ahead in the 55th minute when Drogba raced down the right and Frank Lampard passed the ball on to the unmarked Andriy Shevchenko, who shot over the bar with only the goalkeeper to beat. Valdes rescued Barcelona with a double save in the 68th minute - blocking a shot from Drogba and then diving at the feet of Essien to smother his followup shot. Messi almost equalized with six minutes to go but his header from a right-wing cross just went over the crossbar. Champions of England and Spain the past two seasons, the two powerhouse clubs have met in the competition three years in a row. Chelsea ousted Barcelona in the first knockout round two seasons ago and the outcome was reversed last term when the Spanish club won at Stamford Bridge on the way to capturing the title. (AP)