Ba joins Blues' Euro heroes

Thursday 17th April 2014 21:53

Demba Ba slides towards the Chelsea fans after sending them into the Champions League semi-finals

Demba Ba slides towards the Chelsea fans after sending them into the Champions League semi-finals

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Chelsea FanZoner Dylan Clive hails Demba Ba's dramatic winner against PSG and compares it with other memorable European nights for the Blues.

They say it's more nerve racking to be a supporter than a player. The inability to influence matters make us powerless spectators, watching on in the hope that magic pants do their job and crossed toes can steal victory.

Intensified nerves result in exaggerated celebrations and so the ecstasy felt by a fan could be even more heightened than that experienced by the match-winner himself. In the last two games, that match-winner was Demba Ba.

You will have to ask the Senegalese forward if he knew about Chelsea's list of European heroes before he joined it. But join it he did. Ba's 87th minute decider against PSG secured a thrilling passage into the last four of the Champions League - a prospect that had seemed so bleak after the striker-less 3-1 defeat in Paris.

Memorable European nights from Stamford Bridge to the San Siro have provided the platform from which goal-scoring icons have emerged. Demba Ba is now one of them but where does his unorthodox finish rank?

Not above Peter Osgood would be the response of the grandparent generation. The King of Stamford Bridge famously scored the winner in the '71 European Cup Winners' Cup Final against Real Madrid. Not only did this hand Chelsea their first ever piece of European silverware but it also provided my Grandfather with a scar of success.

In an event that has gone down in family folklore, the ensuing household goal celebrations were so intense that my Gran opted to bite her husband's hand rather than scream and wake up the kids. The resultant mark became a symbol of what it meant to be a Chelsea fan and inspired me to continue the tradition of supporting the Blues.

Gianfranco Zola picked up where Osgood left off with the winning strike against Stuttgart in the Cup Winners' Cup Final of '98 but due to nerves and a fear that I would bring bad luck, I only partially saw the goal as I peered through a crack in the living room door.

It was Gus Poyet's turn in the Super Cup final that same year and though neither goal resulted in a trophy, special mention must also be given to Dennis Wise's late equaliser away to AC Milan and Wayne Bridge's fizzing shot at Highbury to topple the Arsenal 'Invincibles' in 2004.

Like Wise and Bridge before him, Branislav Ivanovic is an unlikely source of goals but the right-back not only netted the winner in last season's Europa Cup Final, he also bagged the extra-time goal that eliminated Napoli on the way to Champions League success.

However, that goal was soon topped by Fernando Torres at the Nou Camp. Complete with Gary Neville commentary, the rounding of Valdes and pass into an empty net was even more emotional for me than Drogba's final heroics.

No doubt the Ivorian's header and match-winning penalty are up there with some of the most important goals ever scored for the club but from a personal standpoint nothing can beat the childish celebrations I enjoyed with my Dad when Torres scored.

High-pitched squeals, a bundle on the sofa and hiding tears at the full-time whistle are what puts the injury-time finish top of my European goals list.

To rank Demba Ba's winner amongst other iconic goals from past European adventures is more subjective than one might think. For the football fanatic it matters less about how the ball crossed the line and more about the unique moments that surrounded it.

Whether it was a 30-yard screamer or a deflected cross is irrelevant. The distance the cat flew when you accidentally kicked it, grown men reduced to tears or a bite mark at full-time - that's what makes a goal special.

By Dylan Clive.

You can follow me on Twitter @DylClive and also don't forget to follow @FanZone on Twitter.

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