Barcelona v Chelsea Second Leg
The first leg of the semi-final between Barcelona and Chelsea was all about one man: Didier Drogba. Not only did he score the goal that gives Chelsea a 1-0 lead on aggregate to take into the cauldron of the Camp Nou; but he put on a masterclass of time-wasting and distraction, and great footballing skill. So much so that he stole the limelight from the darling of World Football, Lionel Messi.
There were flashes from Barcelona at Stamford Bridge, but only flashes. It is true that they dominated possession, they always do, but time and time again the doughty defensive pair of Gary Cahill and John Terry thwarted attacks. The woodwork also lent a hand on occasion.
And if respite was required in a backs to the wall defensive display, at any moment Drogba was willing to take one for the team by resting on his face for a few minutes. It was a stirring performance, but now comes the hard bit.
Despite the 1-0 advantage Chelsea go to Catalonia the underdogs, though it is unclear just how much of an impact a bruising El Clasico with bitter rivals Real Madrid, on Saturday night, has taken out of Barcelona. A loss that effectively gave the La Liga title to Madrid.
More hope for Chelsea: they are unbeaten in their last six games against the once undisputed greatest team in the World. If they make it seven, they go through to a second Champions League final.
Chelsea have also scored first in all of their Champions League games this campaign and a repeat of that particular stat, and the vital away goal that would bring; would send them on the way to that final. It is a turn of events well and truly against the odds, but strange things happen on these massive nights of European football.
No matter what hopeful spin Chelsea may want to place on events before the match at the Camp Nou, it is will be an uphill struggle. Barcelona’s run of 54 straight games undefeated at the Camp Nou may be over, thanks to Ronaldo and co, but they are still fortress like at home.
While Chelsea may have rode their luck to a certain extent, a fine defensive display in the first leg, combined with vintage night of typical Didier Drogba combined to give them a slight advantage.
Roberto Di Matteo rested many key figures against Arsenal at the weekend and came out with a creditable draw despite several Arsenal shots hitting the woodwork. Perhaps another sign Chelsea are on a hot streak of good fortune. But sometimes that is exactly what you need to get to the Champions League final. Underdogs or not.
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