London, Feb 21: It took him eight matches and more than 12 hours of football, but Lionel Messi finally scored against Chelsea, a late goal to give Barcelona a 1-1 draw in the first leg of a Champions League knockout stage tie.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner couldn't have picked a better occasion to end his scoring drought against the reigning English Premier League champions, reports Efe.
Chelsea, who have been struggling of late in domestic play, on Tuesday seemed ready to stake the contest on strong defence and though Eden Hazard and Antonio Rüdiger came close for the Blues in the early going, the hosts stuck to their cautious approach.
The visitors dominated possession 80 percent to 20 percent for extended stretches of the first half, but seemed at a loss about what to make of their advantage.
Barça's only threat in the first 45 minutes was an errant header by Paulinho, while Chelsea's Willian hit the post twice.
Willian finally got his reward in the 61st minute, scoring off a corner to put the home side ahead 1-0.
The Barcelona offensive machine shifted into high gear and Messi, with an assist from Andres Iniesta, scored in the 75th to level the contest and give his side a valuable away-goal looking ahead to the second leg at Camp Nou.