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Barca held goalless at home by battling Chelsea

April 29, 2009 07:09 IST

Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw by a battling Chelsea side in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final at the Nou Camp on Tuesday.

Barca dominated possession, with Xavi and Andres Iniesta pulling the strings in midfield, but found it hard to break through the massed Chelsea defences until near the end when they squandered several chances to snatch a winner.

It was the first match is which the Primera Liga leaders had failed to score at home in any competition this season as Chelsea kept a tight rein on dangerman Lionel Messi.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola will have a problem picking his central defence for the second leg at Stamford Bridge next week with Rafael Marquez out for the season after a second half injury and Carles Pujol suspended following a booking.

Thierry Henry had Barca's two best openings of the first half. The French international stung Petr Cech's hands with a low drive after 34 minutes and then got the ball tangled in his feet after he had rounded the Chelsea goalkeeper.

The visitors almost took the lead against the run of play when a miscued back pass by Marquez let in Didier Drogba, but a fine double save by Victor Valdes denied the Ivory Coast striker.

BOJAN MISS

Michael Ballack headed Drogba's free kick over the bar just after the break and Samuel Eto'o raced clear midway through the second period only for Petr Cech to save with his legs with Henry unmarked to the striker's left.

Barca poured forward in search of a goal. Substitute Bojan Krkic headed a stoppage-time chance over the bar from close range and Cech produced another good save to thwart Aleksandr Hleb who had come on in place of Henry.

Chelsea skipper John Terry, asked if Chelsea had "worked Barcelona out", told ITV Sports: "I wouldn't say that, they still dominated possession, but the performance and result was fantastic for us.

"We go back to the Bridge with a fully fit squad and our fans behind us and ready to go again," he added.

"You come here and you expect to get one or two chances. Didier (Drogba) was unlucky with two chances actually, we didn't create too many, but we didn't concede and that is very good coming here."

Guardiola left captain Puyol out of his starting lineup but was forced to bring him on just after the break when Marquez went down clutching his left knee. Puyol was later booked.

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