UEFA Champions League: Chelsea F.C. held to 1-1 draw by Galatasaray in first leg
Chelsea have the upper hand in their Champions League last-16 tie with Galatasaray after coming away from a testing environment in Istanbul with a 1-1 first-leg draw on Wednesday.
The visitors led at half-time thanks to an early goal from Fernando Torres, but Galatasaray improved in the second half and restored parity after the hour mark when Cameroon defender Aurelien Chedjou found the net.
A draw was a fair reflection of the way the game went, but Chelsea will now hope to finish the job in the return at Stamford Bridge on March 18.
“This is Turkish football, it’s very emotional. Galatasaray are a big club with big players and it was not easy,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho told UK Sky television.
“The first half we had chances to kill the game, (but) it’s better to be 1-1 than 0-0.”
Meanwhile, his opposite number Roberto Mancini admitted his team’s second half display also gives them a chance.
“We played very well and I’m confident after the second half,” he said.
“After this game we have a 40 percent chance to go through.”
Mourinho opted to select Torres in attack ahead of Samuel Eto’o in one of three changes to the team that beat Everton at the weekend, with Ramires and Andre Schuerrle also coming in.
It proved to be an excellent decision as it was Torres who finished off a clinical breakaway to put the Blues in front with just nine minutes played, giving Chelsea the lead they deserved as their hosts paid for a poor start.
Former Arsenal man Emmanuel Eboue lost possession high up the field, and Chelsea pounced down the left flank, Schuerrle releasing Cesar Azpilicueta, who advanced into the box and drew goalkeeper Fernando Muslera before squaring for his fellow Spaniard to apply an easy finish.
It was a sixth goal in his last five Champions League starts for Torres, and it briefly silenced the boisterous Turkish fans inside the impressive Turk Telecom Arena.
Chelsea could possibly have put the tie to bed in the minutes that followed, with Galatasaray utterly disorganised and poor in possession.
Willian had an effort comfortably stopped by the Uruguayan Muslera before Schuerrle’s low ball from the right – with the home defence at sixes and sevens – was met first time by Ramires at the edge of the box, but his shot flew high over the bar.