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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chelsea got a sweet revenge over Barcelona

In a perfect night for Didier Drogba, he scored a brilliant goal to topple European champions Barcelona and put Jose Mourinho's squad in total control at the top of Group A.

As we all saw, the Ivorian is in incredible form and smashed home his ninth of the season, on the turn from the edge of the box. It was sweet revenge for Chelsea against the team who ended their own Champions League dream last season.

In fact, Chelsea have now won their first three matches of their European campaign and are in a strong position to go through to the knockout stages as group-winners.

As for Barcelona, with four points from three games, have a fight on their hands to qualify, with Chelsea their next rivals in the Camp Nou in two weeks.

IT's really good to notice that Hilario, in for injured keepers Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini, kept a clean sheet on his debut and left the pitch clutching the match ball.

England captain John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho were immense in central defence but the keeper played his part with several saves, including a crucial late one from Deco. His first touch came two minutes and 20 seconds into the game when he dashed from his line to collect a loose ball. The home fans gave him a big warm cheer to let him know they were right behind him.

Then, Hilario saved Lionel Messi's angled drive in the 24th minute and turned a low shot from Xavi around the post on the half-hour.

Barcelona shaded first-half possession and, in their most fluent moments, cut through Chelsea but Ronaldinho had little impact on events. He chipped over in the 29th minute after escaping the excellent Boulahrouz and Hilario easily saved a tame free-kick from the Brazilian after the break. But that, and a couple of clever flicks, was about it from FIFA's World Player of the Year.

Gianluca Zambrotta stretched to stop Drogba's effort rolling into the net but was unable to get any distance on his clearance. It spilled back into the penalty area but bounced agonisingly half a yard behind Shevchenko.

German midfielder Michael Ballack squandered Chelsea's best chance of the first half when he rose unmarked to meet Frank Lampard's corner but planted his header over.

It was left to Drogba to open the scoring, less than two minutes after restart. The Ivorian got his ninth of the season and it was just as great as the stunner which beat Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, last month.

He controlled a pass from Cole, turned Carles Puyol and unleashed a fierce drive past Valdes. Drogba's strike opened the match up as Chelsea seized control and finished strongly. Shevchenko had a glorious opportunity to double the lead in the 55th minute but the Ukrainian can seem to do nothing right at the moment and shot over the gaping net.