MADRID, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) — Valencia and Chelsea drew 1-1 in Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium on Wednesday in the Champions League group match.
Frank Lampard opened the scoring for Chelsea, who controlled much of the game, but Valencia drew level four minutes from time thanks to a Roberto Soldado penalty.
The main attraction of the game was the return of former Valencia forward Juan Mata, just two months after he left the Spanish club to play for Chelsea.
Perhaps inspired by their companion’s desire to do well in front of his former supporters, Chelsea took the game to Valencia, pressing high up the field and looking to force errors from the home side.
The first mistake came when David Albelda misplaced a pass allowing Fernando Torres a run though on goal only for the Chelsea striker to be brought down by Adil Rami, who was perhaps fortunate to avoid conceding a penalty and seeing the consequent red card, when the referee decided there was no foul, despite Rami making no contact with the ball.
Shortly afterward Valencia keeper Dani Alves made a good save from a Frank Lampard free kick as Chelsea continued to press.
As the first half progressed Valencia came more into the match with Roberto Soldado, who was being watched by Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, looking lively, and Pablo Hernandez sending a shot just wide of the goal defender by Petr Cech.
Dani Alves became Valencia’s hero at the start of the second half with three magnificent saves in three minutes to keep his side in the game, with Torres the frustrated player.
Alves was helpless just before the hour when Lampard scored from outside of the penalty area as the Valencia defense was again caught flat.
Valencia reacted with substitutes Pablo Piatti, Jonas Goncalvez and Sofianne Feghouli all coming into the game and Piatti and Feghouli caused problems for the Chelsea defense, before Jonas produced a fine save from Cech after a cheeky backheel from Sergio Canales.
Valencia drew level four minutes from time after Soldado scored a penalty which came as the result of a needless handball committed by Chelsea substitute Saloman Kalou following a corner.
Soldado stepped up and coolly sent Cech the wrong way from the penalty spot.
There was still time for Alves to make a further save from Nicolas Anelka, but the enduring memory was Mata receiving the applause from his former fans on the pitch at the end of the game.