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UEFA Champions League
February 26, 2014
• Türk Telekom Arena, Istanbul
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
• Attendance: 49194
A. Chedjou 65'
Fernando Torres 9'
That's it from me, it's been a pleasure. Bye for now.
A hard earned draw for Chelsea, who will be disappointed that they did not make the most of a dominant first half display where Gala were on the ropes. Chedjou cancelled out Torres' opener, but the Blues have the slight advantage for the second leg at Stamford Bridge.
90' + 4'
That's it! Chelsea see it out!
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
Hazard is replaced by Oscar in the visiting side's final substitution of the match. It's a 100th Chelsea appearance for the Brazilian, albeit the briefest of cameos.
90' + 1'
Into the first of three added minutes. Can Chelsea hold on or will Galatasaray steal a late advantage for the second leg?
There's a wall of blue every time that Galatasaray try to launch a final offensive in the Chelsea half. But their attacking threat appears to have died with the departure of Drogba.
Mikel, who shanked a shooting chance moments ago, is clearly in some discomfort here as he goes down under Melo's challenge. Hard to tell whether it's a genuine moment of anguish or a ploy to milk the clock and land Melo in further hot water.
Sneijder collects the ball in the attacking third and, spotting his name in the headlights against his former club, tries to curl in the game winner towards the top corner of the goal. It sails into the stands though, and Cech is never remotely troubled.
Seven minutes plus stoppage time left in the Turkish capital. There's not a whole lot in terms of goalmouth action going on down on the pitch, which will play right into Chelsea's hands.
Selcuk takes aim from all of 30 yards, but he's never going to trouble Cech from there. The ball goes out for a goal kick, and Chelsea will take attempts like that all day if it means closing out this result.
It is the end of Didier Drogba's night, as the Ivorian departs for Bulut. Perhaps Mancini saw that the big striker was tiring, and opted for some fresh legs up front. It doesn't change Galatasaray's approach for the last stretch here though - they want a winner!
It's happened again. Chelsea are taking the sting out of the game, and showing no shame in running the clock out here, despite the venom in the stands. Mancini is urging his players to close down the man on the ball. Very much what we have, we hold, as far as Mourinho is concerned.
Eboue breaks free down the right and clips a dangerous ball in that no one in red and orange is able to attack. Gala recover it quickly, and Telles takes aim from 20 yards, testing Cech with a stinging effort! Much better from the home side!
Chelsea do a good job of winning the ball back and holding onto it for the last two minutes. The home fans do not like this one bit and are raining down whistles and boos from the stands, but that's not fazing the Blues, who continue to stroke the ball around. Where is the Galatasaray pressure though?
Now then, this makes for an interesting final 20 minutes. Mancini's men have been in complete control for the last 10 minutes at least, and Mourinho has switched his side to park the bus for the final stretch. It's turning into one way traffic in the direction of Cech's goal.
And the substitutions are not done yet from Mourinho, as Torres departs for Eto'o in a straight swap up front for the visitors. The Chelsea manager's hope is that the Cameroonian can provide some fresh legs to aid the defensive effort from the front while offering some movement should they look to break.
John Obi Mikel
Mourinho will be disappointed by the poor defending from that set piece, but still, 1-1 is hardly the worst result to take from an away leg. He decides to solidify things defensively by replacing Schurrle with John Obi Mikel. Chelsea switching to a 4-3-3 now with Torres flanked by Willian and Hazard, while Mikel joins Lampard and Ramires in the middle.
For the second time in two minutes, Terry fails to pick up his man. He let Drogba get the flick on moments earlier, and does not jump high enough to cut out a Gala corner, and Chedjou needs no second invitation to stab home from point blank range!
NO MATTER! GALA HAVE THEIR EQUALISER!!!!!
GOLDEN, GILT EDGED CHANCE FOR GALATASARAY! Sneijder plays in his first good ball of the evening, and it's a beauty towards the head of Drogba. He flicks it to the far post where Selcuk, unmarked, was barreling in for the finish, but cannot make contact with the ball!
Who's up for some more yellow card fun? Petr Cech, once appearance shy of a century of Champions League games for Chelsea, picks up the latest booking of the game for time wasting on a goalkick. The home fans are not happy, but do you expect anything different from Mourinho away from home?
Yellow CardPetr Cech
Eboue has always had a reputation as a bit of a clown on and off the pitch. And he makes no bones about a ridiculously frantic attempt to win the ball off Schurrle, which sends Mourinho into a frenzy on the sidelines.
It's raining yellow cards at the Turk Telekom Arena at the moment, as Ramires is the latest player to draw the ire of the referee. He hacks down Melo, and is immediately booked.
Schurrle is quickly followed into the referee's notebook by Inan, who is penalized for a clumsy foul on Frank Lampard. The referee is a busy man now as the game gets a little testy...
Yellow CardSelçuk İnan
Yellow CardAndre Schürrle
Schurrle has been booked for tripping up Melo late, after the Brazilian had darted past him. Drawing that foul and yellow card from the German has been about the only positive thing that Melo has done all evening. He's given the ball away countless times.
It's actually been a decent shift up front from Drogba and Yilmaz, despite their lack of clear cut opportunities. The former has won a few headers and held up the ball strongly as ever, while the latter has made a few dangerous moves down the left, setting up one good chance for Hajrovic in the first half. They are utterly starved for service though.
Schurrle is unlucky to be called offside when running onto a raking ball from Lampard, who released it from inside the Chelsea half. Chedjou was completely unaware of the run of the German, and was bailed out by the linesman's flag as Schurrle appeared to be level. Gaps continue to appear...
Kaya has only been on the pitch for five minutes, but is completely caught out by a Chelsea counter. Melo coughs up the rock to Hazard, and the Belgian splits the centre backs with a slicing ball. Torres runs onto it, and forces Muslera to tip his finish wide!
Galatasaray have largely monopolized the ball since the resumption of proceedings, and it looks like Mancini has encouraged his team to push for an equaliser early. Chelsea are holding a great defensive shape when not in possession though, and are dealing with the opposition quite comfortably.
One change to report at the break by the way, as Balta has been replaced by Kaya, who will tuck into the centre of defence. Balta really struggled during the opening half, and Mancini has already used two subs for tactical reasons before we've even played 50 minutes.
Here we go again!
Though Gala began to threaten towards the end of the half, they will still be the more relived side to head into the interval. A much needed opportunity for Mancini to reset and regroup his squad, as their defence has been suspect in the opening period. Chelsea deservedly lead through Torres, and it's been another away masterclass from Mourinho so far. The second half is just around the corner, so stay tuned.
45' + 2'
That's it for the first half!
45' + 1'
It's suddenly looking more and more open out on the pitch, as two minutes of added time are signaled to end the half.
Another EXCELLENT opening for Azpilicueta to make inroads down the left flank, as Eboue is all at sea again. He has the step on the last defender, but he always has eyes for the cutback instead of driving towards Muslera. That allows Chedjou to get back and nip the ball off his toes.
It was a neat finish from Yilmaz, but it won't count as the referee calls play back right away. To be fair, Cech had his hands up and made no attempt to save the shot. But Chelsea need to watch Gala on these throw ins, that's the second time that they have been caught out by a quick throw! Terry has also been booked for his actions during that situation.
Yellow CardJohn Terry
GALA SCORE...BUT IT WON'T COUNT! It's a controversial moment for both sides! There were two balls on the pitch, and Gala were angling to take a quick throw in. Terry spots their plan, and grabs the second ball and throws it in the direction of the referee, just as Yilmaz peeled away from him, latched onto the throw in and slotted home!
A promising break for Chelsea is rather stymied by some uncharacteristically conservative play from Hazard. He had Eboue backpedaling, and could have driven right at the Ivorian, but instead opted for a square pass, which allowed Gala to get numbers back to snuff out the break.
Sneijder squares the ball to Telles on the left hand side, and he needs no second invitation to whip a devilish ball in towards the far post. It's too far away from Drogba, but not from Cech, who had to be safe and push it around the post.
Balta decides to back off Torres, and is left struggling when the striker turns on the afterburners and beats him towards the byeline. However, the Spaniard's next touch on the ball is poor, as Muslera had moved to close him down and could have been beaten with the right move. Instead, the chance evaporates.
Some Drogba drama which will be all too familiar to regular watchers of the Premier League. He's jostling with Ivanovic for space inside the box on a Galatasaray corner, and 'loses his balance' under slight contact from the Serbian defender.
Looks like Mancini has finally woken up, and is set to make a very early substitution here. It's just not working for his side in either half of the pitch, and Yekta has been introduced. Hajrovic, the Champions League debutant who just came close to testing Cech with a ranged drive moments ago, is the man to depart.
The Gala high defensive line has persisted, and it's weaknesses are rather being emphasized by a series of sloppy giveaways from the home side's front six. Chelsea are winning the ball back too easily, and are granted plenty of real estate to set their runners on the way.
Once again, Chelsea are afforded space on the flanks thanks to Gala's fullback's willingness to push forward. This time it's Telles who is caught out of position, and Schurrle has acres to run into, before pinging a cross into the box that Ramires attacks with the side of his boot, but cannot find the target .
CLEAN AND VITAL tackle by Lampard, who was not fooled by a one-two between Drogba and Sneijder. He keeps track of the latter, and slides in to poke the ball away from the Dutchman just before he burst into the box. Great defending from the veteran midfielder.
Chelsea are still a man down at the moment, although Ramires is on the verge of re-entering the game from the sidelines. Gala are not showing anything in attack though, as attempts to play through the centre are going nowhere against a blue wall in front of Cech's goal.
Thankfully it looks to be only a nosebleed, and Ramires is up on his own accord and walking off the field, accompanied by a physio holding a tissue to his nose to stop the blood flow. The game can resume now.
It's not looking good here for Ramires, who is down on the deck and immediately surrounded by the physios. He took a blow to the face, but let's hope it's nothing more than a nosebleed or a bruise. The game has been halted for him to get patched up.
After some delay and a hailstorm of whistles from the home fans, Lampard tries to knuckle ball it into the top corner, but gets his bearings all wrong and sends it comfortably clear of Muslera's crossbar, to an ironic cheer from the crowd.
Torres goes on a solo break down the middle, and is belatedly surrounded by three Gala defenders. He's going nowhere fast, but Chedjou doesn't exactly know that, and hacks him down just outside the area. Good free kick opportunity for Lampard...
Chelsea fall asleep on a throw in, as Sneijder exploits the lapse cleverly with a quick throw that sets Yilmaz on his bike down the left. He's got options running into the box, and chooses Hajrovic at the top of the D, but the midfielder shows no composure, blasting the ball well into orbit.
Willian is given the option of shooting from the top of the box thanks to some lax marking from the Gala defence, and he accepts the invitation, but scuffs his attempt a little, not troubling Muslera. The home side need to get a grip on this defence, there should not be that much space in a Champions League knockout tie.
That was the first goal that Gala have conceded here since the turn of the year, but they attempt to hit back as Melo plays in Drogba, who is caught offside by the linesman. The home side are still holding that high defensive line though, and it's affording Torres and the three amigos behind him a bevy of attacking space.
I mentioned earlier that Eboue and Telles might look to play more defensively given the threat of Chelsea running in behind, but the pair of fullbacks have instead been playing very high up the pitch. It's been a dangerous high line in general by the Gala back four, and they've paid the price there. Chelsea smell blood.
Eboue is completely out of position, and no one is there to cover him. Azpilicueta sprints in down the vacated flank, and squares to Torres inside the box, where the Spaniard made no mistake, prodding home past Muslera and some despairing lunges from the defence!
TORRES SCORES!!! CHELSEA LEAD!
Muslera hams up a backpass in almost calamitous fashion, as under pressure from Torres, he rushes off his line and clears it right to Willian. The Brazilian, playing in the centre tonight, tries to lift it over Muslera's head from range, but gets his angles slightly wrong and it goes out for a goal kick.
For a second, it looked like Yilmaz had broken through, as a peeling run takes him away from Cahill and in perfect position to receive Sneijder's through pass. There's no one in the centre though, and it wouldn't have mattered as Yilmaz makes a hash of the attempted cross, scuffing the ball and falling over in an untidy heap.
Some ungainly slips on the Turk Telekom turf has been the highlight of the opening exchanges. It will be very interesting to see the play of Gala's fullbacks tonight. Eboue and Telles are vital in providing width for them, but with Schurrle and Hazard no slouches and always angling to make runs in behind, perhaps Mancini has instructed them to curb their attacking instincts somewhat.
And we're off!
The players are out, and the anthem has resounded around the stadium. Galatasaray's fans are making an almighty racket as they always do inside the Turk Telekom Arena, which looks every bit as intimidating as the old Ali Sami Yen. Kickoff is just around the corner...
These sides have only met twice before in their history. Chelsea's 5-0 win over Gala in Turkey some 15 years ago stands as one of the best European results of the pre-Abramovich era, but Roberto Mancini's current incarnation of the Istambul giants have only lost once in their past 19 games. But with a terrible away record of only four wins in 17 this season, Mancini will want his side to get a solid advantage tonight to take to England for the second leg.
In the past week or so, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Swansea City and Manchester United have all failed to score in Europe. Can Chelsea get the Premier League off the mark in the latter stages of continental competition?
Back to that man Drogba. The striker appeared in 226 league games for the Blues, scoring a century of goals. He came through in countless semi-finals and finals to aid Chelsea's tropy haul during his spell from 2004-2012. And no one will forget his final appearance for the English side - scoring a late equaliser in the CL final against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, and burying the deciding penalty in the resulting shootout in a cinematic last kick in a Chelsea kit.
It's still an attacking lineup from the visitors though, as the trio of Willian, Andre Schurrle and Eden Hazard will provide tons of pace and movement in behind Torres. Ramires starts in the middle and is partnered with Frank Lampard, whose experience in these situations is preferred to the strength of John Obi Mikel. January signing Nemanja Matic is of course cup tied, having appeared for former club Benfica earlier in the competition.
Much of the pre-match buildup surrounded the potential battle of two of African football's most accomplished sons, Drogba and Samuel Eto'o, doing battle. However, Mourinho has sprung something of a surprise by relegating the Cameroon hitman to the bench and naming Fernando Torres as his man to lead the line.
It's something of a murderer's row of familiar faces from yesteryear in the Gala XI. Emmanuel Eboue will remember plenty of Chelsea from his time with Arsenal, and the Ivorian full back starts in his familiar position on the right side of the defence. Former Juventus midfielder Felipe Melo, who never quite made it in Turin and was red carded during Brazil's 2010 World Cup quarter final against the Netherlands, will also man the centre of the park.
No surprise to see Didier Drogba leading the line for the home side, in an eagerly anticipated reunion against the club and manager with which he enjoyed so much success. Another of Jose Mourinho's favourite sons, Wesley Sneijder, lines up just behind the Ivorian while Burak Yilmaz, ostensibly listed on the wing, will be expected to drift centrally and link with the powerful Drogba.
GALATASARAY SUBS: Ufuk Ceylan, Semih, Sabri, Ceyhun, Yekta, Emre, Umut.
CHELSEA SUBS: Schwarzer, Cole, Kalas, Oscar, Mikel, Ba, Eto'o.
GALATASARSAY (4-5-1): Muslera; Eboue, Chedjou, Hakan Balta, Alex Telles; Selçuk, Melo, Burak, Sneijder, Hajrovic; Drogba.
CHELSEA(4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Lampard; Willian, Schurrle, Hazard; Torres.
Let's delve into our teams, shall we?
Hello and welcome to the Champions League knockout stages, where Galatasaray host Chelsea in the first leg of their round of 16 tie. I'm Keeghann Sinanan, your designated scribe for all the action.
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