Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CHELSEA Vs FC BARCELONA - The Official Site of Chelsea Football Club
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League Tables
POS    TEAM NAME         P        W         D       L      F        A       W      D     L      F       A      GD       PTS
1Man Utd351422501912323613+5483
2Manchester City35161051109453617+6080
12Swansea City35764221444101731-643
13Norwich City3566526275492133-1343
14Stoke City34754211644101132-1642
15Aston Villa3546819243951726-1436
17Wigan Athletic35377152553101935-2634

               MATCH REPORT
Barcelona  2             v                2 Chelsea
Scorer: Busquets (35)
Scorer: Iniesta (43)
Scorer: Ramires (45)
Scorer: Torres (90)
Attendance: 95,845FT (21:37)


Summary There cannot have been many nights more dramatic nor heroic in the history of Chelsea Football Club.
Having gone 2-0 behind on the night and one man down in the first half, we scored in stoppage time at the end of each half to book a date in Munich for our second Champions League Final.
John Terry was the man sent off. Ramires was the first Chelsea scorer with a brilliant goal before Lionel Messi missed the chance to put his side 3-1 ahead when he wasted a penalty.

With the pressure on, substitute Fernando Torres scored a late, late goal on the counter-attack from his own half. The only disappointment on a joyous night is that Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles were all booked and so will join the skipper in missing the Final.

Team news Didier Drogba was passed fit so Roberto Di Matteo named the same side as the first leg.

Barcelona did change however, bringing in Gerard Pique and going to three at the back. Both full-backs at the Bridge were on the bench with Issac Cuenca coming in and playing wide on the right with Cesc Fabregas on the left. The formation was the same as deployed in Camp Nou in the previous round against AC Milan.

First half Chelsea kicked off and had the ball inside the Barça penalty area within 18 seconds, but Cole's pass was too strong for Ramires and Valdes collected.
The visitors were awarded the first free-kick too, for a foul on Mata on halfway.
But then Barcelona attacked and Messi had his first chance with two minutes played. He put it into the side-netting from inside the area.
The pressure stayed on for almost the whole of the rest of the half and there was a problem for the Blues on six minutes when the ball was played behind Cahill to Sanchez. In recovering, the big Chelsea defender slipped and almost did the splits. He needed treatment but after a spell off the pitch, initially continued.
Iniesta lobbed a ball into the six-yard box that Cole booted clear before finally, on 11 minutes, Cahill had to limp off dejectedly to be replaced by Bosingwa. Ivanovic went into central defence.
Barcelona v Chelsea
It wasn't only Chelsea players in the wars. On 17 minutes Drogba chased a Cech kick that bounced high up field and in clearing it, Valdes collided with Pique. Both needed treatment and the Barcelona central defender looked in some distress, but given recovery time he was back in action.
On 19 minutes it was Cech's time to turn hero. A trademark exchange of passes by the home team cut through the Chelsea defence, Fabregas backheeling into the path of Messi, but with the Camp Nou crowd drawing breath to celebrate, our keeper's leg extended and made the save.
There was a rare Chelsea attempt from Drogba at the midway point of the half but on the swivel and from distance, he shot well over.
Barcelona v Chelsea
He was much closer to the target two minutes later after muscling past Pique but lacking support, he took on Valdes from a very narrow angle and could only ripple the sidenetting.
That was the end of Pique's game. The previous Chelsea attack had convinced Pep Guardiola the player was still suffering from his bang on the head and he brought on Dani Alves. They didn't change their shape with the diminutive substitute deployed as one of the back three.
Referee Cüneyt Çakir had given Chelsea no cause for complaint with his decisions so far but he did make Mikel his first booking, the midfielder catching Sanchez with an outstretched leg inside the Barça half.
Three minutes later the home team took the lead. The move was similar to many during the half but for once Chelsea found ourselves outnumbered as the ball was played wide to the left after Drogba had headed away a corner. Cuenca was out there and he squared to Busquets who side-footed in from six-yard out.
Barcelona v Chelsea
Any chance for consolidation after that set-back for Roberto Di Matteo's men was blown out the water just two minutes later with the straight red card for Terry. The officials decided that the skipper had kneed Sanchez in the back on the edge of the area in an off-the-ball incident. Now Bosingwa would have to play more centrally and Ramires's defensive responsibilites increased.

A tough task had just become immensely harder and Barcelona rubbed home the advantage with three minutes left on the clock before the interval. Meireles conceded possession and Messi was able to slip the ball forward to Iniesta who had run away behind Ramires. The finish was low to Cech's left and for the first time in the tie Chelsea were behind on aggregate.
Ramires was booked too for arguing about no offside flag and would miss the Final as well as Terry should the team find a way back from this.
They certainly made a good start in that quest. With just a minute of stoppage time left to play we won the ball and Ramires drove forward into the Barça half. Lampard collected a pass and slotted the perfect ball through to Ramires. There was no way the Barça defence was going to catch the Brazilian whose chip over Valdes was as exquisite as it was essential to restore belief before the break.
Barcelona v Chelsea
With the score 2-2 on aggregate, it was Chelsea heading to the Final as it stood.
Second halfBarcelona made an alteration to the way they lined up with Alves now wide on the right and Cuenca switching wings. Iniesta had a shot deflected wide after Messi chested down.
Then just three minutes into the half the Blues looked certain to go behind in the tie when Drogba tripped Fabregas inside the area but Messi fired the penalty on to the crossbar. The Argentinian's search for his first goal against Chelsea went on.
Barcelona v Chelsea
If that was good news, Ivanovic's booking in the aftermath of the penalty award wasn't. He joined Terry and Ramires in earning a suspension.
Iniesta was the first Barça player booked for a trip on Drogba, shortly before the Ivorian tried to catch Valdes by surprise with a shot from the halfway line. The only thing caught was the ball by the keeper.
Di Matteo decided on new legs just before the hour, replacing Mata with Kalou, and a minute later Cech was booked for taking too long over a goal-kick. He at least was not facing a ban.
It was all Barcelona pressure and Cech saved from Cuenca after Mikel had lost the ball. On 63 minutes Chelsea broke out of our shackles and Drogba won a corner. Played in by Lampard, Ivanovic got to it first but frustratingly, couldn't send it on target.
The cards kept coming, Messi for a foul on Lampard and Lampard for upending Fabregas. And still Chelsea hung on to our away-goals lead as shot after shot and pass after pass were blocked.
There was no one in the way when the ball fell invitingly for Busquets on 77 minutes but he shot over wastefully.
Two minutes later Torres came on for Drogba who had worked tirelessly up front with his team-mates mostly a long way behind. He had also played his part as ever in clearing opposition corners.
Barcelona did have the ball in the net on 80 minutes through Sanchez but Alves who supplied the cross was offside. Then Messi shot on-target and it was turned onto the post by the finger tips of Cech.
We were inside the final 10 minutes and now every Barça mistake was drawing a frustrated reaction from the crowd. When Chelsea won the ball, we by and large cleared it into the open spaces up the field, although Torres missed one chance to counter attack by taking a heavy touch.
With 88 minutes of the game played Meireles picked up his fifth booking of the campaign for a trip so he too was now suspended.
Cech pushed a Mascherano shot round the post and we were into stoppage time. It was time for the most dramatic of endings.
Barcelona were so committed forward that when the ball was cleared up field by Ivanovic, Torres was in his half with no-one between him and Valdes. He took the ball on and went past the keeper before slotting in, as he had done so many times in the past against this opposition - and it was good night Barcelona!
Barcelona v Chelsea
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill (Bosingwa 12), Terry (c), Cole; Lampard, Mikel, Meireles; Mata (Kalou 57), Drogba (Torres 79), Ramires.
Unused subs Turnbull, Essien, Malouda, Sturridge.
Scorers Ramires 45+1, Torres 90+1.
Terry 36.
Booked Mikel 31, Ramires 44, Ivanovic 47, Cech 58, Lampard 71, Meireles 88.

Barcelona (3-1-4-2): Valdes; Mascherano, Pique (Alves 25), Puyol (c); Busquets; Cuenca (Tello 67), Xavi, Fabregas (Kieta 73), Iniesta; Sanchez, Messi,
Unused subs Pinto, Adriano, Thiago, Pedro.
Scorers Busquets 34, Iniesta 43.
Booked Iniesta 49, Messi 70.
Referee Cüneyt Çakir from Turkey.
Crowd 95,845.

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