Chelsea beat Barca for final spot

Ramires (right)

Fernando Torres

First published in Sports News © by

Chelsea overcame John Terry's sending off to progress to the Champions League final at the expense of Barcelona in one of the most remarkable fixtures of recent times as the two sides recorded a 2-2 draw which handed the Premier League side a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Barca peppered the west Londoners' goal throughout the second leg and deservedly took the lead through Sergio Busquets, who tapped home from close range. Things got worse for the Blues less than two minutes later when Terry was sent off for inexplicably kneeing Alexis Sanchez from behind.

Barcelona surged further ahead through Andres Iniesta, although Ramires clawed a goal back in first-half stoppage-time with a deft chip. Lionel Messi saw a penalty smash the crossbar shortly after the restart and later hit the post, but Chelsea held out and Fernando Torres came off the bench to wrap up victory late on.

Disaster struck for Chelsea as early as the sixth minute, Gary Cahill was eventually forced off after slipping and pulling his hamstring with Jose Bosingwa coming on. While Gerard Pique lasted just 26 minutes of his recall after failing to recover from a sickening collision with the backside of Victor Valdes that appeared to leave him briefly unconscious.

The first sign of Chelsea's discipline wavering came when John Obi Mikel was booked for chopping down Sanchez in the 32nd minute. And when they went to sleep three minutes later, they were behind, their failure to close down allowing Isaac Cuenca to square for Busquets to tap into a virtually unguarded net.

The build-up to this tie was dominated by talk of refereeing meltdowns in previous clashes but Terry simply gave Cuneyt Cakir no choice but to dismiss him less than two minutes later. Sanchez over-reacted to the swipe and Terry initially refused to walk.

But Petr Cech made him listen to reason before picking the ball out of his own net again two minutes before half time, Chelsea carved apart as Messi teed up Iniesta to stroke the ball home.

Chelsea looked dead and buried but they struck in first-half stoppage-time. Frank Lampard was the creator as Ramires burst through and floated a glorious finish over Valdes.

The cascade of noise that had filled the Nou Camp turned to silence at half-time but they were soon cheering again after the restart when Drogba conceded a penalty. Cakir adjudged the striker had tripped Cesc Fabregas and pointed to the spot - which Messi smashed against the crossbar.

And then, in stoppage-time, a long clearance found substitute Torres with 50 yards of space in which to run and he made no mistake, rounding Valdes and slotting home.

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