The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Chelsea held 1-1 by Galatasaray in Champions League after Torres strikes early in Istanbul

  • Print

ISTANBUL - Fernando Torres scored a valuable away goal for Chelsea in a 1-1 draw at Galatasaray in the Champions League on Wednesday, but the Premier League side left Istanbul frustrated at its failure to build on its superior start.

Torres scored the first goal by an English team in the knockout phase of the Champions League this season when he met Cezar Azpilicueta's cutback in the ninth minute of their first leg match in the last 16.

But Chelsea failed to make the most of its counterattacks and the Turkish champions equalized in the second half after gaining in confidence and cutting out their defensive mistakes.

Aurelien Chedjou put the ball past goalkeeper Petr Cech in the 64th after connecting with Wesley Sneijder's corner.

"I wouldn't want to say that's a great result, we all now know what a strong team they are," Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard told British broadcaster Sky Sports. "So (I'm a) little bit disappointed today really at halftime it wasn't more than one nil up. I think we played very well first half, we controlled it.

"They didn't have any chances and we have about four or five very good counterattacks, and we didn't make more of them."

Unlike Chelsea, Real Madrid is virtually certain of a place in the quarterfinals after Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo each scored a brace in a spectacular 6-1 victory at Schalke in the night's other game.

By contrast, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was already bracing for his side's second leg match in west London on March 18.

"They have very powerful strikers and we are going to have a difficult time at Stamford Bridge — that's for sure," Mourinho said.

The pre-match build-up centred on the Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba facing the team he won the Champions League with in 2012. But it was another former Premier League regular who played a key role as Chelsea took an early lead — for the wrong reasons.

Former Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue was dispossessed too easily inside the Chelsea half, allowing Mourinho's side to launch a counterattack down the left flank. Andre Schurrle fed the advancing defender Azpilicueta, who cut the ball back for the unmarked Torres to side-foot into an open net.

The hosts were leaving themselves too exposed, and unable to cause Chelsea many problems. The closest they came to levelling before the break was Izet Hajrovic sending a shot over the top.

The winger, though, was substituted in the 31st, with Yekta Kurtulus coming on as coach Roberto Mancini responded to the poor start.

"The game started and we did three of four mistakes," Mancini said. "Maybe in the first half we played too deep, with fear."

But Chelsea would pay for not making the most of its confident start, with Ramires volleying over.

Galatasaray's defence looked as fragile at the start of the second half. Felipe Melo's clearance went straight to Eden Hazard, who ran through the centre and released Torres. Although the striker broke through the defence, his shot was saved by goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

"We had too much respect for Chelsea ... we should have played more offensively without problems like in the second," Mancini said.

Galatasaray recovered from its shaky start and proved a much tougher opponent after the break.

"We had chances to kill the game," Mourinho said. "I'm not critical of my strikers because my strikers did a very good game, but overall when we go to counterattack situations we are missing the last pass, the last control, the last choice ... the second goal would have changed the story of the game."

It never came.

The woodwork did deny Galatasaray. Drogba headed down from Sneijder's delivery to Selcuk Inan, who hit the post.

But Mancini's side found the target barely a minute later. Sneijder swung in a corner from the left, Chedjou turned the ball in from close range after getting in front of Chelsea captain John Terry.

"We probably deserved to score another goal," Mancini said.

Indeed, Cech only spared Chelsea from travelling back to London needing to overturn a 2-1 deficit, by tipping over Alex Telles' swerving shot after William gave the ball away.

"We weren't passing it like we was in the first half," Lampard said. "A few things were disappointing. It's one of those results — you are kind of happy with it, but we have still got a lot of work to do."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.