[Player Ratings] Galatasaray 1-1 Chelsea: Torres Strike Not Enough As Blues Held
Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw at Galatasaray on Wednesday night in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie. Here are Joe Carroll’s player ratings
The prospect of an English club making it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League was dealt another blow last night as Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw at Galatasaray.
Fernando Torres gave Chelsea a deserved lead inside nine minutes, tapping in after a Cesar Azpilicueta cut back but the hosts came back strongly and had a goal disallowed in the first half. Torres then squandered a good chance to make it 2-0 before Aurelien Chedjou headed in from a corner to level the scores.
Pre-game attentions were fixed on Didier Drogba -a Chelsea hero during Jose Mourinho’s first spell in charge- coming up against his former side for the first time.
But Chelsea looked to put all sentiments aside as they started brightly. Willian should have scored as early as the fourth minute when Galatasaray keeper Fernando Muslera came way out of his area only to miss-kick right into the Brazilian’s path. The stopper made up for his error though, managing to get his head to Willian’s lobbed effort on goal which forced it wide.
But Chelsea kept coming and Azpilicueta got beyond the host’s defence after being played in by Andre Schurrle. His cut back was met by Torres who side-footed in despite the attentions of two defenders.
Frank Lampard, Willian and Ramires all had long-range efforts before the home side began to respond. Drogba went close but a poor touch allowed Petr Cech to save before the Turks had the ball in the net. Burak Yilmaz somehow squeezed the ball in from a tight angle, only for the referee to chalk it off for two balls being in play. John Terry had held onto the ball after it went out for a throw-in, releasing it into play just as another was introduced from the throw-in.
Torres was fed through on goal shortly after the break but Muslera was equal to it and then began a period of dominance for the hosts. Selcuk Inan hit the post from barely a yard out after Drogba’s knock down but Galatasaray were level in the 63rd minute when slack marking allowed Chedjou to head home.
Chelsea will have home advantage in the second leg and while there is still much to play for, the Blues will be wary that any goal Galatasaray score at Stamford Bridge will count for double on the away goals rule.
With Arsenal and Manchester City looking to overturn 2-0 deficits away from home, and Manchester United starting from 2-0 down at home to Olympiakos, the Champions League is facing a quarter-final stage without a single English team.
Here are my player ratings:
Cech- 6- made a vital stop from Drogba in the first half but struggled with the late bombardment.
Azpilicueta- 7- excellent wing-back play for Chelsea’s goal. Got beyond the Galatasaray defence and had the composure to spot and pick out Torres who had a simple tap in.
Terry- 5- a performance so unlike the captain. Seemed rattled by some of Galatasaray’s players and possibly the hostile crowd. Booked for his part in the disallowed goal and didn’t do enough to stop Chedjou scoring from the corner.
Cahill- 6- the more composed of the centre-backs. Nearly diverted a Yilmaz strike into his own net.
Ivanovic- 6- started well but struggled when Galatasaray applied the pressure.
Lampard- 7- a good game from the veteran. Went very close with a long-range effort in the first half and worked hard.
Ramires- 6- worked tirelessly but was not the influential midfielder we saw come on and change the game at the weekend versus Everton. Booked.
Schurrle- 6- played his part in the goal by releasing Azpilicueta with a measure pass. Worked hard before being subbed in the second half.
Willian- 5- appeared to be playing in a central position behind Torres but was not as effective as usual. Probably should have done better to score in the fourth minute.
Hazard- 6- looked a threat when he was on the ball that those moments weren’t often enough. Slipped Torres in with a needle-thin pass in the second half but the Spaniard was denied.
Torres- 7- took his goal well and looked far more comfortable playing against European opposition than he did against Everton at the weekend. Much better.
Mikel- 6- replaced Schurrle to shore up Chelsea’s midfield and helped see out the point.
Eto’o- 6- came on for Torres in the 68th minute.
Oscar- replaced Hazard in injury-time. Not enough time to make an impact.
Do you see the draw as an opportunity missed or a chance to start things at the Bridge on a level pegging?… Are you disappointed Chelsea couldn’t add to their tally in Turkey?…Mourinho criticised his strike-force earlier this week- do you agree the Blues are missing real fire-power in attack?…Is Torres the man to grab the goals in Europe?…Will the Blues win at the Bridge in the second leg?…please leave your comments below…