Drogba heads Chelsea's equalizer in draw with Valencia

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/f/football.jpg' class='caption'> Valencia held the English champions to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.

Updated: April 06, 2007 16:23 IST
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Valencia held the English champions to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals, giving the Spanish team an away goal ahead of next Tuesday's return leg.

"In Mestalla, maybe everybody is thinking they are one step ahead and maybe everyone is enjoying this result, but if I was in their place, I would be very cautious," Mourinho said.

"The team that plays at home normally has an advantage. But if we have a good referee there, not influenced by the enthusiastic atmosphere of Mestalla, why cannot we get a result there? It's 1-1, it's not 0-3."

Valencia took the lead on Wednesday when David Silva curled in a shot from 25 meters (yards) in the 30th minute.

Drogba equalized for Chelsea

But Didier Drogba equalized for Chelsea in the 53rd minute after a looping pass from defender Ashley Cole bounced once in the area. It was Drogba's 30th goal for Chelsea this season.

"We've got objective one achieved, which was to take the game into the second leg, so the tie will be decided at the Mestalla," Valencia coach Enrique Sanchez Flores said. "We will just imagine that we had not scored in the away leg."

After Silva's goal, Drogba sent a free kick straight to Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares. Chelsea's best first-half chance was in the 11th minute when Andriy Shevchenko crossed to Salomon Kalou, who hit the crossbar.

Chelsea's appeal for penalty

Shevchenko's run toward goal had been blocked by a challenge from Valencia defender Roberto Ayala and Chelsea appealed in vain for a penalty.

Valencia also had first-half chances through David Villa - leading the attack in the absence of the injured Fernando Morientes - and former Chelsea defender Asier Del Horno, who forced Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech to a diving save with a long-range volley.

It was Del Horno's first Champions League game in 13 months after he recovered from a lengthy calf injury - the last time he played in the competition was for Chelsea in February 2006.

"We got a result we would have settled for before the game," Valencia captain David Albelda said. "We slightly wasted the good work of the first half but they played a more direct game after halftime."

Chelsea's push for win

Chelsea started the second half with more urgency and after the equalizer, pushed for a winner, but while it had the most possession, attacks petered out, were blocked or were offsides.

"We came back - just what we needed," Chelsea captain John Terry said. "I'm sure we can get a few goals away. We just need to keep a clean sheet."

Chelsea winger Joe Cole, who is recovering from a broken foot, was brought on in the 74th minute for the first time since Nov. 26.

Valencia substitute Miguel Angel Angulo had a shot over the bar in the 81st and minutes later, shots from Shevchenko and Frank Lampard were blocked.

Valencia midfielder Vincente Rodriguez tore his hamstring shortly before he was taken off in the 58th minute. Sanchez Flores said Rodriguez would be out for a month.

Valencia eliminated Inter Milan on away goals in the previous round and is bidding to reach the semifinals for the first time since it lost back-to-back finals in 2000 and 2001.

Chelsea is bidding for its third semifinal appearance. It has never reached the final, having been ousted in the last four in 2004 and 2005. Chelsea has already won the League Cup and is also in contention for the FA Cup and the Premier League.

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