Messi breaks hoodoo to leave tie in the balance

Wigan's Will Grigg celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's opening goal during the English FA Cup fifth round soccer match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City at The DW Stadium Wigan England Monday Feb. 19 2018. (AP Ph

The Brazilian's fine goal was not enough for victory in a compelling last-16, first leg at Stamford Bridge, after Lionel Messi pounced on a defensive mistake by Chelsea to earn a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night which has left the tie evenly poised. Messi finally scored against Chelsea for the first time in a decade. Marcos Alonso drew a routine save out of Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a free-kick from 25 yards out on 31 minutes, before Willian smacked an effort against the right post from 21 yards out two minutes later. "They followed what we prepared", Conte said. We played well. We had a plan to defend well, Perhaps we could have done more with the ball when we had it.

"I think we were close to playing the flawless performance", said Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.

But 13 minutes later Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen hit a sloppy pass which allowed Andres Iniesta to link up with Lionel Messi, who steered his shot past Thibaut Courtois.

"I think in the second leg we have to play a game against Barcelona and we know his team is very strong and fantastic".

"You've got a chance at home - that's when you win against Barcelona, you don't often win at the Nou Camp".

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Messi's goal means Chelsea must score in the return leg at the Camp Nou on March 14 to have any chance of progressing further in Europe's elite competition.

That second leg will come 11 days after Chelsea travel to the Etihad Stadium to play Manchester City, which will be the best practice possible for Barcelona away.

"Aside from this passage of play, Chelsea very almost did play the flawless game".

The Blues will now head to Camp Nou knowing that they have to score, but also aware of the need to keep things tight at the back against an opponent which possesses a considerable attacking threat. "If we do well, we can win the game there". "We had the game under control when they scored their goal".

"We were a bit unlucky but I think we must be proud of our performance because we played really well to play against Barcelona, it's not easy and now we have to think about the other games".

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