Chelsea have dumped the reigning holders of the Champions League with a 3-2 elimination of Barcelona after a dramatic second leg at the Camp Nou.
The odds were stacked against the English side before kick off this evening against Europe’s finest. Chelsea were 5/2 outsiders to qualify and those odds shot up after falling 2-0 down in the first half.
Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta scored either side of John Terry’s red card after his inexplicable off the ball knee to the back of Alexis Sanchez. His starting centre back partner Gary Cahill had earlier limped off injured.
Having started with a back four of (from left to right) Ashley Cole, John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea lined up for the start of the second half with Ashley Cole, Jose Bosingwa, Branislav Ivanovic and Ramires. Aided with just about every other outfield player parking the bus in front of Petr Cech’s goal. Didier Drogba, and later Fernando Torres even played their part in and around the penalty area.
Ramires’ stunning goal on the stroke of half time out of nowhere gave Chelsea the aggregate lead (on away goals) at the break, despite going in as 5/1 outsiders to qualify with 10 men.
Yes, Barcelona dominated possession but they failed to greatly test Cech. The Czech goalkeeper did get finger tips to a late Messi shot turned onto the post, and was also helped by the Argentine’s penalty striking the bar early the second half.
There was no plan B for the Catalunyans. There was lack of width or will to get to byline which would have helped pull the 10-man English side out of the middle of the pitch.
Chelsea’s own attack was a direct style of play. Petr Cech hoofing the ball up to Didier Drogba, who caused notable problems early, which lead to Victor Valdes injuring Gerard Pique early on.
The icing on the cake was when Fernando Torres scored in stoppage time to ensure Chelsea became the eighth Premier League representative in the Champions League final in the past eight seasons. Valdes himself made a horrible attempt to deny his fellow countryman scoring the one-on-one.
Expect an outburst from the Spanish papers and media this morning, branding Chelsea of anti-football once again. At the end of the day, winning by any means is what football is all about. Why else would Busquets and his team mates dive to get players sent off? A taste of your own medicine for the Catalan side, and Chelsea force fed it right down their throat.