- Barcelona were on the front constantly looking to force the issue in attack
- Chelsea were prepared to sit back and wait until they could land a big hit
- Antonio Conte’s players also appeared so up for the battle against Barcelona
- Andreas Christensen’s mistake was, however, all Barcelona needed on Tuesday
Before this match Antonio Conte said Chelsea needed to play a perfect game to have a chance in this tie.
He knew they couldn’t afford to gift an easy chance a team like Barcelona but that is exactly what they did.
One goal undid all their hard work and turned an excellent night into a bitterly disappointing one.
Andreas Christensen’s mistake led to Barcelona’s equaliser in the Champions League
Lionel Messi scored to level the scoreline at 1-1 in the first leg of the last-16 fixture
Inexperience cost Andreas Christensen. He played a blind pass across goal and it was duly punished — though Cesar Azpilicueta could have rescued his team-mate had he stayed on his feet, instead of diving in.
Playing across your own goal is widely considered the cardinal sin for a defender but, to be fair to Christensen, the modern centre back is encouraged to play out from the back and had his pass found a team-mate we would have thought nothing of it.
The issue was that he was careless, too casual in a game where full concentration for 90 minutes was required. Aside from this passage of play, Chelsea very nearly did play the perfect game.
Willian celebrates after his goal in the second half put Chelsea into the lead against Barcelona
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte showed his raw emotion as Chelsea went ahead on Tuesday
Antonio Conte’s counter-attacking set-up was perfectly suited to dealing with Barcelona’s dominance. But what made this performance was how up-for-it his players were.
Conte has not always looked interested this season — he barely left his seat during the defeat at Watford — but he was so fired up on Tuesday night and his players responded, working very hard to make Barca look ordinary.