Antonio Conte will continue 'marriage' with Chelsea on one condition

Antonio Conte

Conte hails 'mature' Christensen despite Barca mistake

If at first you don't succeed the saying goes and it proved fitting for Willian and Lionel Messi as both scored in an absorbing 1-1 draw between Chelsea and Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Tuesday.

Ernesto Valverde's side were allowed to score an equaliser after an error from Andreas Christensen gave Andres Iniesta an opportunity to assist Lionel Messi.

Chelsea constantly tried to surround Messi with three or four blue shirts to limit the Argentine's threat, but he dug out a cross to the far post where an unmarked Paulinho headed Barca's best chance of the first-half wide.

He fine-tuned his radar after the interval, however, rifling home into Ter Stegen's bottom-left corner to give Chelsea the lead.

But Messi struck to level the score and net his first ever goal against the Blues to ensure Chelsea must notch in the return leg. He had four shots, two of which were on target - the other two hitting the post, 25 passes with four key passes, six dribbles, 47 touches, 2 aerial duels won and was dispossessed three times. Chelsea's midfield negated their Barcelona counterparts with the Catalans having no genuine winger to utilize the free space.

"And not 1-0 but, like happens in Spain, 4-0, 5-0, 6-0".

On Chelsea's display, the former Manchester United midfielder said: "I was disappointed with their performance last night, Chelsea weren't adventurous enough". "One mistake and we know very well when you make a mistake against Barcelona then players like Messi, [Luis] Suarez, and [Andres] Iniesta will make you pay". David Alaba played in Thomas Muller and the forward made no mistake from close range.

"Towards the end we lacked a bit of clarity and there was a lot of overcrowding around their area, with a lot of players, and it was costing us".

It prevented Barcelona from slipping to only its second loss in all competitions since August, and secured a valuable away goal to take back to the Camp Nou on March 14.

"They had the ball and we expected to counter-attack, and we could win this game". "We had a lack of quality in the final third".

All is not lost for Chelsea in the second leg, despite the crushing blow of conceding Messi's equalising strike.

"They have really good players so Barcelona is always Barcelona".

'I feel that in his own eyes the game just slows down for him, ' Ferdinand said.

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