Conte praises Chelsea attacking force of Willian, Hazard & Pedro


Antonio Conte's men will now need to score as Barcelona took an away-goal advantage with a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night. Despite his sub-par performance, Chelsea contained Barça well for most of the game, playing with a high intensity, pressing effectively and keeping a solid defensive shape.

Messi had not scored in eight previous encounters against Chelsea but he managed to break his goal duck.

The deep-lying Spanish midfielder was at his brilliant best over the course of the 90 minutes this evening, showcasing both his class and grit in dictating the pace of the game and breaking up muerous unsafe Chelsea attacks.

"I think we were very close to playing a flawless game", Conte said.

"It is a pity".

"Christensen for me was one of the best players tonight". They followed what we prepared.

"It's very hard to tell one or another player, but I think Christensen played a top game". Our plan was really good. "We are talking about a player who is only 21 years old".

"It was a clash of styles, two different teams", Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said.

"For this reason, we must play an intelligent game and I repeat we are not stupid".

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Chelsea's £58 million club record signing did not do much of note during his brief cameo, but he was on the pitch at least, even if his fleeting appearances are becoming a theme for Antonio Conte's team.

A rivalry that had been dormant for six years resumed with a gripping game of cat and mouse.

But it was third time lucky as he shimmied away from Sergio Busquets in the 62nd minute and curled a fantastic effort into the bottom corner.

Rudiger strode out of defence on a commanding run, Willian continued to pick out team-mates with flicks and tricks.

Barcelona typically enjoyed hefty levels of possession, suffocating Chelsea's supply line to their attackers, but shortly after the half-hour mark Willian thumped a 25-yard curling effort against Marc-Andre ter Stegen's post.

Conte resembled a manic orchestra conductor throughout the match, going through his full repertoire of gesticulations.

Moments later Willian collected the ball from Hazard, cut inside and crashed a powerful curler against the far post with Ter Stegen well beaten.

Andres Iniesta pounced on a stray ball just outside the penalty area and punished Chelsea - cutting the ball back for Messi to side-foot past Thibaut Courtois.