Chelsea laid the foundations for their greatest European success with a 1-0 victory over Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona at Stamford Bridge in 2012.
Champions League semi-final, first leg: Chelsea 1 Barcelona 0
Didier Drogba gave Chelsea a precious lead to take to Barcelona for the second leg of their Champions League sem-final – a tie they would go on to win 3-2 on aggregate.
A 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp – famous for Fernando Torres’ late strike which provoked this reaction from Gary Neville – was preceded by a tight first leg that saw Barcelona dominate possession but Chelsea eventually hold firm.
Pep Guardiola’s men enjoyed 72 per cent of the possession and 24 attempts on goal, with Alexis Sanchez and Pedro both striking the woodwork, while Sergio Busquets wasted a glorious opportunity.
But Drogba’s strike in first-half added time made all the difference for Roberto Di Matteo’s men, who overcame a red card for John Terry in the second leg to reach the final, where they beat Bayern Munich on their own turf.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cole, Cahill, Terry, Ramires (Bosingwa 88), Lampard, Mikel, Meireles, Mata (Kalou 74), Drogba.
Barcelona: Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Adriano, Fabregas (Thiago 78), Xavi (Cuenca 86), Iniesta, Messi, Mascherano, Busquets, Sanchez (Pedr 66).
What they said
Roberto Di Matteo:
“It was almost perfect.
“Against Barcelona you have to do a lot of defending and be clinical when you get your chances. They are going to have a lot of possession.
“My players have shown the determination they have, with the courage to play against the top team in the world – they showed good quality. It was a collective performance by the whole team.
“We knew we would get chances and Didier [Drogba] was in the right spot at the right time. It is still 50-50 and we know the second leg will be difficult.
“There’s a lot of quality in this team – they have the experience, ambition and drive to show they are still up there with the best.
“This group of players amaze me every time they go out on the pitch. It has been a great European night for this football club.”
“One-nil is a very good result for them. They are the favourites.
“It’s football. It’s not a question about fair or unfair.
“Congratulations to Chelsea. We’d win every game if it all was about possession of the ball because our average is more than our opponents.
“But the most difficult thing in this game is putting the ball in the net, and that’s what we couldn’t do this evening.
“We have to focus on the next game now and try and create the same number of chances.
“It won’t be simple. They’ll have 10 men behind the ball, they’ll defend, they’re stronger than us, they run, they jump more than us.”
“For those who said that I was too old, they saw that I could run maybe one, two or three more years.”
“I think we were a bit lucky. You have to work for luck to come and to happen. We worked a lot. We worked hard.”