BREMEN/SOFIA, Sep 27 (SW) - A late equalizer by Lionel Messi earned Barcelona a draw at Werder Bremen while Didier Drogba hit three against Levski Sofia in Chelsea's win in Champions League Group A.
Werder Bremen - Barcelona 1-1
Bremen started brightly with young striker Aaron Hunt - starting in place of Ivan Klasnic - got into the penalty area and forced Víctor Valdés into a close-range save.
Hunt then crossed in for Torsten Frings who fired just wide in the ninth minute and he constantly looked a threat racing up the wing for the Germans.
Barcelona did finally establish themselves later in the half, Ludovic Giuly forcing a two-handed punch save by Tim Wiese in the 34th minute after being played the ball by Ronaldinho.
Giuly touched a shot just wide immediately after the restart and the miss proved costly as Bremen went in front on 56 minutes when Hunt's ball into the area was misguided by Carles Puyol into his own net.
Samuel Eto'o went off on a stretcher on 63 minutes with a twisted knee to compound Barcelona's woes, but his replacement Lionel Messi forced a great save out of Wiese with 15 minutes to play.
That man Messi, though, proved his worth with a minute left to play as Deco picked out his run to the post and the Argentine starlet fired a bullet past Wiese for a dramatic equalizer.
Levski - Chelsea 1-3
Levski looked surprisingly strong in the opening phases, but twice they were let off by the woodwork as Didier Drogba struck the underside of the crossbar in the 15th minute, and goalkeeper Georgi Petkov pushed a shot onto the post from Michael Ballack five minutes later.
A free kick by Hristo Yovov in the 32nd minute caused Chelsea a bit of concern when no one in the area dealt with it, but Petr Cech was able to shepherd it out for a corner kick.
But Chelsea finally snatched the lead in the 39th minute as Petkov made a fine save from Jon Obi Mikel, but he couldn't handle it and Didier Drogba fired home into the roof of the goal.
With eight minutes played in the second half, Chelsea extended their lead to 2-0 as Drogba chested down the ball and shot at goal, the ball trickling over the line after Petkov got a hand to it.
He then completed his hat-trick on 68 minutes with a simple touch home from inside the six-yard box after Frank Lampard's shot fell into the area.
Levski, though, pressed hard late on as they sought out their first-ever Champions League goal, and they got nothing less than they deserved in the 89th minute as Marian Ognyanov hit an unstoppable shot past Cech to send the Vassil Levski stadium into an uproar.
|Coach: T. Schaaf|
for A. Hunt 90+1'
for M. Klose 90'
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