Nigeria’s Victor Moses, patrolling the right flank for Chelsea, helped nullify the threat of Barcelona in Chelsea’s last 16 first leg Champions League encounter which ended 1-1 last night.
The Spanish giants were expected to over-run Chelsea, but dogged defending and swift counter-attacks, with the best chances falling for the Stamford Bridge side, meant that Barcelona came away relieved that Lionel Messi’s 75th minute equaliser gave them a slight advantage to take to the second leg in three weeks’ time.
Barcelona’s game is built around Messi with full-backs Jordi Alba, on the left, and Sergi Roberto, on the right, providing the width that gives other creative talent such as Andreas Iniesta the space to weave their magic. But Moses, nominally a wing-back and usually marauding down the right flank, put in a solid and disciplined defensive display to keep Alba quiet for most of the night, blunting the threat from the Catalans.
The Nigerian international’s performance earned him praise from Mundo Deportivo, the Barcelona-based sports daily, which described him as “a force of nature” for the way he covered the right flank. Moses’ dominance of the right side started when Chelsea coach Antonio Conte converted him from a winger to a wing-back last season – which ended with the West London side lifting the Premier League title. Moses has since put in world class performances reminiscent of Brazilian “wing commanders” such as Dani Alves and Cafu and is now one of the first names on the Chelsea team list when fit.
He tweeted after the game:
— Victor Moses (@VictorMoses) February 21, 2018
No matter what happens at the second leg in Barcelona, Moses also has the World Cup in Russia to look forward to with Nigeria. “Super Eagles” coach Gernot Rohr must be pleased that his star player is thriving in pressure cooker situations against high calibre opposition such as Barcelona, whose talisman Messi will be facing Moses again with Argentina on 26 June. Moses’ experience in both legs against Barcelona will be beneficial for Nigeria.