Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Galatasaray saw the return of a star and an important victory for Jose Mourinho’s players.
Didier Drogba, forever a legend at Chelsea FC, played his first match at Stamford Bridge since leaving the Blues after winning the 2012 Champions League Final.
Emotions ran high, and every fan in the stadium was singing Drogba’s name before kickoff. After a warm embrace with Mourinho it was all business for both sides.
Drogba may have been all the talk before the game started, but Samuel Eto’o stole the show in the fourth minute by breaking the deadlock. A quick goal from the former Barcelona and Inter Milan man eased a lot of the tension at Stamford Bridge for the Blues faithful. Eden Hazard played a huge part in the first goal by showing a flash of brilliance losing his defender and playing a beautiful pass to Oscar. Oscar then found Eto’o who took one touch and beat the keeper.
After a difficult 1-1 draw in the first match against Galatasaray, many doubted the Blues. Chelsea had grabbed a hold of the first game, but sputtered out and were on the back foot for the last thirty minutes.
Mourinho warned his players not to fall asleep in this match, and a lightning quick opener was followed by a second goal shortly before the half. Oscar was again involved in the goal, winning a corner kick three minutes before the half was over. John Terry sent in a dangerous header from the ensuing Frank Lampard corner, but the keeper parried it away.
Luckily for the Blues the ball fell to Terry’s partner in the center of defense, and Gary Cahill slammed in the rebound. The second goal put the match firmly in the hands of the home side.
The second half did not yield any more goals for the Blues, but a 2-0 result was enough to see the Blues win the tie 3-1. A win over the Turkish champions here sees the Blues in the last eight for the first time since 2012.
Chelsea may be the only English club to advance to the last eight as Manchester United and Manchester City both face two goals heading into their second leg matches on Wednesday.
Mourinho seems to finally be pleased with his team and ready to admit they are a special side. He has been wary to say that up to this point. Reaching the last eight of the Champions League is a great achievement, and the manager is very pleased with the accomplishment.
Chelsea are still a long way from reaching silverware in the Champions League or Premier League, but the victory against Galatasaray has proven that this Chelsea side is the real deal.