July 28, 2014
Chelsea eliminate holders Barça, achieve Champions' final
An heroic Chelsea survived the dismissal of captain John Terry to eliminate holders Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate and clinch a place in the Champions League final after an action-packed last-four clash on Tuesday in which Lionel Messi missed a penalty.
The dramatic semi-final second leg at the Nou Camp ended 2-2 and meant Chelsea, chasing a first European title, will play Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in the May 19 final with the Germans holding a 2-1 lead ahead of Wednesday's Bernabeu game.
A victory for Real would pit coach Jose Mourinho against former club Chelsea, who were in disarray just a few weeks ago.
Tuesday's match first swung Barça's way when they opened a two-goal lead through Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta and Terry was sent off for lifting a knee into the back of Alexis Sanchez off the ball.
The home side appeared in total control but Chelsea hit back unexpectedly when Frank Lampard sent Ramires clear in first-half added time and he lifted the ball brilliantly over the onrushing Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes into the empty net.
Barça, who dominated possession throughout as they had done in losing the first leg in London 1-0, squandered a chance to make it 3-1 early in the second half when the referee awarded a penalty for a debatable Didier Drogba foul on Cesc Fabregas.
World Player of the Year Messi, also denied by a post late on, crashed his spot kick against the crossbar with Petr Cech beaten and has now gone eight games without scoring against Chelsea - by far his worst record against any club in Europe.
Substitute Fernando Torres, who had an impressive record against Barça when at Atlético Madrid but has repeatedly misfired for the Premier League side, then netted for Chelsea in stoppage time after racing clear and rounding Valdes.
"Football is like that, the favourite, the best team does not always win," a jubilant Torres told Spanish TV.
"We knew that was the way we had to play against Barça and often it's not the prettiest spectacle but those are our weapons," added the former Liverpool forward.
"We have a great deal of respect for Barça, for us they are the best team in the world and that's an extra motivation."
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Dani Alves, Gerard Piqué, Javier Mascherano and Carles Puyol; Sergi Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta; Alexis Sánchez, Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas. Coach: Pep Guardiola.
Chelsea: Peter Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole; Raúl Meireles, Frank Lampard and Obi Mikel; Ramires and Juan Mata; Didier Drogba or Fernando Torres. Coach: Roberto Di Matteo.
Referee: Cüneyt Çakir (Turkey).
Stadium: Camp Nou.