CHELSEA may be frustrated not to leave Turkey victorious but Fernando Torres’ away goal in Galatasaray’s cauldron of noise gives Jose Mourinho’s men a good chance to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
Scorers: Galatasaray - Chedjou (64); Chelsea - Torres (9)
The Blues looked on course for victory when Torres netted in a dominant first-half display, only for Roberto Mancini’s side to produce a much-improved performance after the break and earn a 1-1 draw as poor defending allowed Aurelien Chedjou to strike home.
This was a match of many sub-plots, with former Chelsea favourite Didier Drogba facing his old club for the first time and ex-Man City boss Mancini coming up against Mourinho, the man who succeeded him at Inter Milan.
Mourinho named an attack-minded line-up and was rewarded after just nine minutes when fine play down the left ended with Fernando Torres sweeping home Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross.
Burak Yilmaz thought he had equalised as half-time approached, only for his strike from a quickly-taken throw-in to be disallowed as there were two balls on the pitch.
The other was under John Terry’s arm and the Chelsea captain was booked for his part in the bizarre incident, which saw him booed off the pitch at half-time by the irate home support.
Selcuk Inan hit a Chelsea post after the break and, minutes later, Terry let Chedjou out of his sights and he fired the hosts level to see the tie level when the teams resume battle in three weeks.
Chelsea had begun the match ferociously and were seemingly unmoved by intimidating surroundings. If anything, it was the hosts looking shaken and Fernando Muslera almost handed the visitors a fourth-minute lead with a wayward clearance, only for the Galatasaray goalkeeper to react to block Willian’s strike.
The hosts’ defensive vulnerability was fully exposed when Andre Schurrle slipped Azpilicueta in behind former Arsenal man Emmanuel Eboue and the Spaniard pulled back for countryman Torres, who opened up his body to slot home.
Drogba, involved at both ends in the early exchanges, wasted a chance to level as a poor touch allowed Petr Cech to intercept, with Izet Hajrovic then lashing wildly over.
Most of the play, however, was at the other end, with Willian wriggling free to send a 25-yard shot at Muslera, who then saw a long-range Frank Lampard free-kick sail over his bar.
The hosts mustered their first shot on target in the 30th minute, but Cech was more than a match for Hajrovic’s low shot.
That signalled an improved spell for the hosts, with Cech tipping a Alex Telles drive around the post before the bizarre incident wher the Galatasaray “goal” was disallowed.
Only Muslera’s fine reactions prevented Torres turning home after a fine Eden Hazard pass six minutes after the restart. However, Galatasaray were now on top and Gary Cahill was fortunate not to deflect a Yilmaz strike just into his own goal, before Schurrle, Ramires and Cech were all booked in quick succession.
Galatasaray were by now in the ascendancy and Inan, another booked in that flurry of cards, hit the post from close range in the 63rd minute after Drogba nodded a header across goal.
It was a warning shot across the bows and one the Blues failed to heed.
Wesley Sneijder sent over a corner two minutes later and, with Branislav Ivanovic wrestling Drogba at the backpost, Chedjou lost marker Terry to volley home unmarked as the stadium erupted. Mourinho made a quick double substitution in a bid to sure things up, although Mancini’s side were still on top and Cech did well to turn a Telles effort over the bar.
Drogba was replaced to a loud ovation by Umut Bulut as the match entered the final 10 minutes, but poor finishing ensured there would be no more goals and see the sides level for the second leg in three weeks.
Galatasaray: Muslera, Alex, Balta (Kaya 46), Chedjou, Eboue, Sneijder, Inan, Melo, Hajrovic (Kurtulus 31), Drogba (Bulut 79), Yilmaz. Subs not used: Ceylan, Gulselam, Colak, Sarioglu.
Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Ivanovic, Hazard (Oscar 90), Lampard, Ramires, Willian, Schurrle (Mikel 66), Torres (Eto’o 68). Subs not used: Schwarzer, Cole, Ba, Kalas.