Wasteful Barcelona falters at Chelsea

Chelsea didn't create many chances but Didier Drogba made the most of a rare opportunity in first-half stoppage time to hand his team a 1-0 win over Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

The Spanish side put together some good play in the build up but failed to take advantage of a handful of chances, allowing Drogba to net the lone goal and give Chelsea a 1-0 lead heading into the second leg at the Camp Nou next Tuesday.

The first chance came inside of 10 minutes as a well-weighted ball over the top from Andres Iniesta played Alexis Sanchez in behind the Chelsea defense, only for his lobbed effort over goalkeeper Petr Cech to come back off the crossbar.

Iniesta forced Cech to make a diving stop in the 17th minute that left Cesc Fabregas with an open look at goal from eight yards on the rebound. But the former Arsenal man badly scuffed his shot and it never made it on goal.

Fabregas had another chance shortly before the break when Lionel Messi played him into the area on the left. Fabregas clipped his shot past the onrushing Cech but Chelsea defender Ashley Cole recovered in time to clear the ball off the line.

One of the only scoring chances that Chelsea created in the first half led to the only goal as Ramires got down the left wing to bring down a long ball from Frank Lampard. The Brazilian got into the box and rolled the ball through the face of goal to Drogba, who turned it past goalkeeper Victor Valdes with a first-time shot.

Chelsea was content to sit back and defend over the final 45 minutes but was nearly punished in the 57th when Sanchez somehow missed the net from eight yards with only Cech to beat after a good ball from Fabregas.

Cech came up big in the 89th minute when he tipped Carles Puyol's header past the post at full stretch, while the day was summed up for Barca in stoppage time when a deflected pass fell to Pedro inside the area and he drove a low shot off the post.