Didier Drogba had a solid performance against his former club when Galatasaray earned a 1-1 draw against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League round of 16.
The 35-year-old veteran was one of the best scorers in Chelsea history throughout his eight-year career with the English Premier League club. Obviously, there was plenty of emotion in his reunion:
However, he did not seem to have a lot of faith in his own club heading into the first leg of the knockout stage, telling Ben Smith of BBC Sport:
Are Chelsea better than Galatasaray? Yes, they are 10 times better.
If I play it is to win. It will be tough but Juve were better than us, so anything can happen. If there's a 1% chance of us winning. I'll believe it.
Despite this respect given to his opponent, his side performed extremely well in the home matchup. Galatasaray held possession for 58 percent of the match and made sure that most of the contest was spent in Chelsea's zone.
As a result, the home squad were able to limit opportunities after Fernando Torres' early goal, and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Drogba specifically had a decent showing and almost scored against his former club, but hit the post, as noted by Fox Soccer Trax:
OFF THE POST! Drogba first and then Selcuk Inan! How do they not score there? It's astonishing. Sneijder with a great bit of service. 0-1— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) February 26, 2014
Unfortunately, that was the extent of his involvement in the match as he was relatively quiet from that point forward. Squawka Football notes that he could not get headers like he was used to thanks to the Chelsea defense:
Didier Drogba has won just 2/6 headed duels tonight. He's been marshaled well by John Terry and Gary Cahill. pic.twitter.com/YV9woBw7rf— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 26, 2014
By the time he was subbed out, Chelsea's official Twitter account was proud of the effort:
Final sub for Galatasaray: Didier Drogba is replaced by Umut Bulut. The Ivorian has been kept pretty quiet tonight. #CFCLive— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) February 26, 2014
Still, Drogba had a big role in the match despite not being involved in scoring plays. He was consistent with his passes and he often took the defensive attention off other players. This allowed his teammates better opportunities around the net.
This effort helped him earn a rating of 6.95 in the match, according to WhoScored.com.
Of course, the bigger issue is how the veteran and his club will fare against Chelsea in the return match on March 18. In order to advance to the quarterfinals, Galatasaray will have to score at least once and probably twice at Stamford Bridge.
Drogba is his side's best hope in this match, but he will need to be more involved and find a way to actually put the ball in the back of the net. If he is limited once again, the chances of advancing in Champions League become extremely slim.
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