The UWCC Stays on English Soil As Barcelona Draw Blanks Against Chelsea

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer IApril 29, 2009

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Lionel Messi of Barcelona walks off after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final First Leg match between Barcelona and Chelsea at the Nou Camp Stadium on April 28, 2009 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship (UWCC) saw another defence today as champions Chelsea took on Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final.

The first leg was to be held at the Nou Camp, giving Barcelona the home advantage. They had been in scintillating form in La Liga all season, and had started to replicate that in the Champions League as well, cruising past Bayern Munich in the quarter-final.

Chelsea weren't in bad form going into this match either. Guus Hiddink's short stint in charge of the Blues has seemingly rejuvenated them, and made them look capable of beating almost anybody.

Barcelona, however, had a team that looked set to go down as one of the greatest club sides in recent times, and an attacking line worthy of any great team.

Neither Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o, or Thierry Henry could break the deadlock tonight, however, as Chelsea held out for an impressive 0-0 draw.

Barcelona controlled the ball for large parts of the first half, with Chelsea looking content to simply sit back and soak up the pressure. It is a risky game to play against Barcelona, especially with Andreas Iniesta and Xavi capable of feeding that three-pronged attack should the defence lose focus for just a second.

It seemed to work, however, as Barcelona had very few chances in the first 45 minutes. Thierry Henry's fierce strike from the edge of the box stung Petr Cech's palms, but the much beleaguered 'keeper was equal to it, as he was all of Barcelona's attacking threats on the night.

Despite Barcelona's dominance, it was Chelsea who had the best chance of the half, just before the break. Rafael Marquez's attempted back-pass fell a long way short, but Didier Drogba's effort was well saved by Victor Valdes.

Drogba then tried to chip the ball over Valdes, but the Barcelona 'keeper reacted superbly and clawed the ball away.

The second half didn't live up to the pre-match hype either. Messi looked dangerous when he got the ball, but his performance wasn't at the level he is now used to playing at. His attempted volley from a corner summed up his night; great skill and technique, but no end product.

Daniel Alves employed Cech once again with a powerful shot from the right hand side of the penalty area, but the Chelsea 'keeper dealt with it again.

Just as it looked like Chelsea were going to claim a great point, however, Alves got the ball on the right. He swung in a vicious cross, which found the head of Bojan Krkic three yards out.

Unbelievably, he missed, and Chelsea fans all over the world let out a huge sigh of relief.

That relief was short lived, however, as Alex Hleb found himself through on goal even deeper into stoppage time. Cech was quick out to smother the ball, but it ran loose. Hleb was the first to get there, but he lost all of his composure and blasted the ball into the side netting.

The result means that the UWCC title will stay in England, despite this being probably the best chance in its history of moving abroad.

51.7 percent of the 29 voters in the poll said that Barcelona wouldn't be able to beat Chelsea, so well done to those of you who got it right!

Chelsea's run

Liverpool 1-3 Chelsea (Chelsea become new champions)

Chelsea 4-3 Bolton Wanderers

Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool

Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal

Chelsea 0-0 Everton

West Ham 0-1 Chelsea

Barcelona 0-0 Chelsea

(Click here to see the complete history of Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship)

Chelsea's next title defence comes on Saturday as they face former record-breaking champions Fulham in a West London derby. Can Fulham become the best club in the world again?!

Check out my Bleacher Report anniversary piece on the PFA Team of the Year!


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