El Clasico might have taken place at Camp Nou on Saturday, but a true classic unfolded there Tuesday.
Despite being reduced to 10 men in the first half and facing a deficit, Chelsea stunned Barcelona to advance to the UEFA Champions League final after a 2-2 draw (3-2 win on aggregate). Fernando Torres scored on a late breakaway to clinch the unlikely result, which included Lionel Messi missing a penalty that would have given Barcelona the aggregate lead early in the second half, and John Terry being sent off with a straight red in the first half for violent conduct.
Barcelona looked to be going through to the final in the first half when Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta scored to put the home side up 2-0, 2-1 on aggregate. However, Ramires scored with a deft chip just before halftime to give Chelsea back the advantage on away goals. Much of the game played out as most expected, with Barcelona holding much of the possession and Chelsea defending deep. The home side had 83 percent of the possession by game's end, but the defending champions could not break down Chelsea's organization in the back.
Chelsea advance to their second Champions League final in four years where they will face either Bayern Munich or Real Madrid. The German side holds a slight 2-1 edge after the opening leg.
Here is a look back at a wild night in Barcelona:
The first 30 minutes were somewhat predictable as Barcelona camped outside Chelsea's box and created several quality chances, the best of which came when Messi hit the side netting in the third minute. Petr Cech stoned Messi 15 minutes later when the Argentinian was in on goal. Chelsea lost centerback Gary Cahill to an injury while Gerard Pique was taken out of the game with a head injury after a wicked collision with Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
The game sparked into life after 35 minutes when Barcelona finally had their breakthrough. Cuenca was allowed through down Chelsea's left flank and fired the ball into the box where Busquets was waiting to turn it in from close range. Barely two minutes later, Terry was shown a red card for kneeing Alexis Sanchez in the back well off the ball.
The game appeared in Barcelona's control in the 44th minute, when Iniesta received a pass from Messi and slotted his shot past Cech. However, Chelsea retook the aggregate lead soon after when Ramires ran onto a great ball from Frank Lampard and chipped Valdes in first-half stoppage time.
Barcelona should have retaken the lead just after halftime when Drogba was whistled for a foul on Cesc Fabregas inside the box, but Messi, who has never scored against Chelsea, clanged the penalty kick off the crossbar in the 49th minute. Barcelona then resumed their encampment outside the Chelsea penalty area but had trouble breaking through the congestion. Even Drogba was back in defense, at times playing fullback.
Sergio Busquets had Barcelona's first real opportunity after Messi's penalty kick when he skied his close-range shot in the 77th minute. Barcelona abandoned all semblance of a defense in the final 10 minutes and were almost rewarded, but Cech touched Messi's shot onto the post in the 83rd minute.
Eventually, even an exhausted and short-handed Chelsea were able to take advantage of Barcelona's all-out attack, as in injury time, the much-maligned Torres latched on to a deep clearance and sprinted more than half the field, rounded Valdes, and coolly sent Chelsea into the final.
What did you think of today's game? Were Chelsea worthy winners? Should Barcelona have scored? Does Chelsea have a chance in the final?
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