Remember that April night in 2009, when a rejuvenated Chelsea team, under the stewardship of Guus Hiddink, had FC Barcelona on the ropes in the second leg of the Champions league semi-final? Then, Tom Henning Ovrebo took over and dashed Chelsea’s dream for a chance to face Manchester United, in the final, for the second year running. Who can forget Didier Drogba’s manic look as he screamed, “It’s a f****n disgrace” into the pitch side camera? Or Michael Ballack chasing Ovrebo the full length of the field to dispute a rejected penalty?
|You bald headed boozer|
In an ideal world, tonight’s game at Stamford Bridge would be the perfect time for the Blues to exact their revenge, right? Unfortunately for Blues fans, we don’t live in an ideal world; we live in a world where people like Ashley Young have perfected the art of ‘winning’ penalties, where Wigan outplays Chelsea and gets beaten courtesy of two ridiculously offside goals. In short, if you think Chelsea can knock out FCB, you might as well believe in Saint Nicholas and the tooth fairy. I’ll save you the trouble of reading tomorrow’s post match report on Goal.com by giving you a summary of what will happen tonight;
Match Report: Chelsea 1 vs Barcelona 3 Venue: Stamford Bridge 18th March 2012.
Top of the match: Lionel Messi Andres
Flop of the match: 3 way tie between Frank Lampard, Fernando Torres and Roman Abramovich
Barcelona gave Chelsea a lesson in passing football that won’t soon be forgotten in the parts. With Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta running the show in the midfield, Chelsea never got anywhere near the ball and run around like headless chickens, chasing shadows all night. Overall possession stats indicated that Barca had 70% of the ball. The 30% possession that Chelsea had can be put down to goal kicks, throw ins and misguided attempts at time wasting, at the corner flag, that started as early as 20th minute.
Ironically, Chelsea drew first blood in the 10th with the mandatory Juan Mata goal, although replays showed the shot stopped just short of the penalty spot. Due to the mass of bodies laying the penalty area, the ref assumed the ball had crossed the line and Mata wasn’t going to hang around to haggle over the details. He wheeled away in celebration, joined by the beacons of honesty that are John Terry, Ashley Cole and Drogba.
That goal just served to infuriate Barcelona. Within a few minutes, they took control of match with sensational equalizer. After a wonderful fluid passing move, Messi picked up the ball on the left wing and danced past the entire Chelsea defence and Petr Cech, before slotting past Terry, who was stationed at the goal line, waiting to do his usual heroics.
At this point Chelsea figured 1-1 would be a good result to take to the Nou Camp and went into defensive mode. RDM replaced Juan Mata with Michael Essien to shore things and then the aforementioned time wasting begun. This didn’t prove very successful, as Messi broke his umpteenth record of the season with a second before halftime. Alexis Sanchez killed off the game, and the tie with a superbly taken third, minutes after halftime. Barcelona played a nice game of ‘piggy in the middle’ the rest of the way.
On a positive note, Ramires proved that he could win the Boston marathon by consistently being the ‘piggy’ in the middle of a moving triangle comprising Xavi, Iniesta and Messi. Stats show he covered a Champions League record 16.2 km over the course of the game.
Ramires’ midfield partner Frank Lampard refused to participate in the running claiming after the game that “senior players aren’t supposed to perform such menial tasks.” Lampard also added that he will have a meeting with owner Roman Abramovich and coach John Terry, to discuss the summer ‘managerial’ situation because RDM is just not working out.
· Frank Lampard set a UCL record for most square passes in a single game
· Fernando Torres almost scored, after Victor Valdes made a hash of clearing his lines. He hesitated long enough to slip as he was taking the shot. He gave his boot studs a sour look.
· Roman Abramovich visited the Chelsea locker room at half time, in an apparent bid to impart his vast knowledge of football management to the team. He was accompanied by one of his yes-men, sorry, advisors, Michael Emanalo who regaled the players with old tales from his days coaching a girls’ soccer team in the USA.
· Juan Mata reportedly threw up in disgust after the above events.