German side Werder Bremen’s 2-0 victory over Levski Sofia mean they draw level with the Spaniards in Group A after three matches.
Drogba’s goal though ensured the dream debut of third choice goalkeeper Hilario who was forced to take the field after injuries to keepers Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini.
“Everybody believes we are not a team but we are and we proved we are more than just here for the money. We are a band of brothers,” the Ivorian said.
A Hilario moment
Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard remained optimistic that his side would progress.
“When we lose people outside the club become a wee bit hysterical.” he said.
“It was pretty close tonight and I am confident we can go through. Whether we are first or second does not matter to me. People need reminding we also lost matches last season.”
Drogba was not the only Ivory Coast striker to be his club’s hero as Arouna Kone showed he didn’t just stand out for his dyed blond hair by scoring the second for PSV Eindhoven as the Dutch side came back from 1-0 down to beat Galatasaray 2-1.
PSV, semi-finalists two seasons ago, lie second to Liverpool, who gained a hard-earned 1-0 win away at French side Bordeaux thanks to a Peter Crouch header.
Do blondes have more fun?
It was the five time winner’s first away win of the season and coach Rafa Benitez was happy for his squad to receive the boost as their domestic campaign stutters.
“Winning away was important for us, especially in the Champions League. But the clean sheet was also a big thing for the team because it will give the players lots of confidence,” said the Spaniard.
In Group D, two first half goals from David Villa gave Valencia a 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk and maintained the Spanish side’s perfect record.
“We were thinking that it would be difficult to open the scoring but that once we got the first goal we could control the game. And that’s the way it turned out,” said Valencia coach Quique Sanchez Flores.
“Our opponents gave it their best effort but we were superior,” Sanchez Flores declared.
While the Spaniards hold onto top spot in the group main rivals Roma kept in touch as they eked out a 1-0 away win at Olympiakos.
Simone Perrotta got the only goal of the game 14 minutes from time as he slid in at the near-post to connect with a Aleandro Rosi cross for his first Champions League goal.
Fellow Italian’s Inter Milan finally got off the mark by beating Spartak Moscow 2-1 at home thanks to a double by Julio Cruz.
However the one they have to catch is Bayern Munich as the German giants edged Sporting Lisbon 1-0 in Portugal thanks to a piledriver by Bastien Schweinsteiger, who then blotted his copybook by being sent-off.
Bayern defender Daniel van Buyten said afterwards: “We really kept battling in the second half although we were down to 10 men. All the players fought hard and showed good team spirit and we managed to keep possession of the ball and have scoring chances of our own.”