Chelsea beat Barca to go through to Champions League final
A ten man Chelsea managed to holdout against “the best team in the world” to secure their place in the Champions League Final. Barcelona opened the scoring through Sergio Busquets before John Terry was sent off for kneeing Alexis Sanchez. Barcelona doubled their lead through Andres Iniesta but Rameries pulled a goal back for the Blues a minute before half time. Chelsea held on through the second half and Fernando Torres struck the winner late in the second half.
No one had expected Chelsea to emerge victorious after last weeks first leg last week at Stamford Bridge, where the London side won 1-0. And even considering that result, Barcelona were still the favourites tonight and few thought they Chelsea would progress at the Nou Camp.
At the start of the match it looked as if the predictions were correct. Barcelona once again dominated possession and looked to be all over Chelsea. Messi had an early chance saved by Petr Cech and John Terry blocked the rebound that fell to Fabregas. Chelsea looked shaky.
The Barca pressure put a strain on Champions League newcomer Gary Cahill who pulled a leg muscle defending early in the first half and had to be substituted for Jose Bosingwa. The Catalan giants also had injury problems when Gerard Pique clashed with his own goalkeeper and had to be subbed off.
It was the Spanish side that drew first blood when Chelsea failed to clear a corner effectively. Isaac Cuenca found Busquets who put Barcelona ahead. The Nou Camp erupted into life. Moments later John Terry was sent off for kneeing Alexis Sanchez in the leg and things started to look bad for Chelsea. It was a soft offense for a straight red card but the Chelsea captain will miss the final.
Things got even worse for The Blues a few moments later when Messi fed in Iniesta. The Spanard scored easily and the visiting side looked to be out of the competition; Chelsea now had to score and only had ten men to do it. However the Blues rallied and late in the first half Frank Lampard broke from the Chelsea half. He set up Ramirers and the Brazilian coolly chipped the ball over Victor Valdes. It was Chelsea’s first show on target.
The second half started the same as the first had with Barcelona dominating possession and easily brining the ball into Chelsea’s box. This effective manoeuvring of the ball inside the penalty area paid off for Barca when Drogba rashly tackled Fabregas. There was no indecision from the referee who immediately pointed to the spot. Lionel Messi positioned the ball and was looking for his 64th goal of the season. However the Argentinian’s shot hit the bar while the Chelsea fans cheered. Messi, in many people's eyes, the best player in the world, looked shocked that he had failed to score a spot kick. It was an incredible lifeline for Chelsea, who were still ahead via their away goal.
The rest of the second half saw Barcelona press even harder. They had many shots saved by Petr Cech, Dani Alves has a goal disallowed for offside and Messi hit the woodwork again but Chelsea’s held on. The Blue’s defending was absolutely superb and Barcelona started to look frustrated.
It was completely against the run of play when Chelsea sealed their victory. In stoppage time, as Barcelona pushed everyone forward, Chelsea punted possession away from their box. The ball fell to unmarked substitute Fernando Torres, who was one-on-one with Valdes. The Spanish forward easily took the ball around the keeper and slotted the ball into the net securing Chelsea’s place in the final in Munich.
It was a whirlwind match and possibly the most exciting of the Champions League campaign this season. However Chelsea will face a tough challenge when they face either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in the final and will be without the suspended Terry, Meireles, Ivanovic and Ramires.