Fenerbahçe continued to be the surprise package of this Champions League season by coming back from a goal down to beat Chelsea 2-1 on Wednesday. The atmosphere at the Sükrü Saraçoglu Stadium was electric as always though the home fans were stunned early on when Chelsea were gifted the lead.
It appeared that Fenerbahçe manager Zico had instructed his full-backs to push forward as much as possible. However, this left Florent Malouda and Joe Cole too much space on the flanks in the early stages and this played a big part in Chelsea’s early dominance of the match.
An attempted cutback by Florent Malouda was turned into his own goal by Deivid. Minutes later, Michael Essien, starting at right-back for Chelsea, powered forward and skimmed a shot off the crossbar. The chances kept coming for Chelsea but Volkan Demirel, who was both goat and hero in the last round, made some key saves to keep the score close.
The match turned when Zico decided to shift things and bring on another striker to help Kezman up front. The Turkish side levelled when London-born Colin Kazim-Richards (known as Kaz?m Kaz?m in Turkey) smashed home Mehmet Aurelio’s pass over the top of the Chelsea defence. The former Sheffield United forward, who also had stints at Bury and Brighton, came on for U?ur Boral and gave his side an injection of pace and supplied some much-needed energy up front. Zico would later replace Kezman with Semih ?entürk to keep fresh legs running at the Chelsea defenders. ?entürk has been worked into the first team more often since Tuncay ?anl? was allowed to leave and sign with Middlesbrough.
Fenerbahçe pressed on and found the winner in the 81st minute from Deivid who made amends for his earlier lapse. From about 30 yards out, he unleashed a perfect striker into the top corner that Carlo Cudicini could have done little about. The crowd unleashed a thunderous roar and one has to wonder if Fenerbahçe can muster the same energy and passion away from home next week. If they can, Chelsea will be knocked out.
In the other quarter-final from Wednesday, Arsenal and Liverpool played to a 1-1 draw in a game that offered moments of drama but was often a one-sided match. The early stages of the match, the 200th meeting between the old rivals who first met in 1893, were filled with stops and starts, plenty of poor passes and very little flow.
Arsenal slowly began to press and Robin van Persie had a great chance to put Arsenal ahead after 20 minutes when he found himself in space and onside after eluding Sami Hyypia to collect a long over-the-top pass from Mathieu Flamini. Arsenal took a deserved lead three minutes later through Adebayor. Van Persie worked a short corner with Fabregas and crossed for Adebayor, who rose to head home, while Sami Hyypia stood and watched the play unfold, leaving Reina helpless as the ball hit the back of the net.
As has been the case so many times in the past, Liverpool were inspired by Steven Gerrard and leveled the match with their first chance of the game. Gerrrard picked up a loose ball on the edge of the Arsenal area and dribbled past both Emmanuel Eboué and Kolo Touré before crossing low for Dirk Kuyt to bundle the ball in.