Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Late-night dramatics at Stamford Bridge
by Paul Kennedy, May 7th, 2009 7AM

MOST READ


[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] How was it that Barcelona, the highest-scoring team in European soccer's modern history, could have gone scoreless for 179 minutes of its UEFA Champions League semifinal series with Chelsea and went without a shot on goal for 89 minutes in Wednesday's second leg?

Chelsea had the lead and all the chances until a desperation goal by Andres Iniesta sent 10-man Barca into the final against Manchester United.

Chelsea, whose defensive tactics in the first leg had been derided, took the lead on Michael Essien's early strike and was within a minute of returning to the final when Essien's errant clearance found its way to Argentine Lionel Messi, who spotted Iniesta at the top of the box. The midfielder did the rest, beating Chelsea goalie Petr Cech to the far post for the tying goal.

"We tried to win the game, we tried to create," said Barca coach Pep Guardiola. "We didn't create so much and it was hard against a Chelsea team we expected to press up more. But I have a lot of faith in my team. We keep going, we are consistent. We had 25 minutes with 11 against 10 men and still Chelsea stayed back. We continued to try to score and carried that goal threat until the final minute."

After Essien put Chelsea ahead, the Blues had a number of chances stopped by Barca goalie Victor Valdes and several appeals for penalty kicks waived off by Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo.

"Of course, players make many mistakes," said Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink. "Coaches make many mistakes and referees can make mistakes. OK, so it happens. It's all in the game. But when you see two, three or four situations waved away, then, yes, it is the worst I have seen."

The last-minute exit left Chelsea players devastated.

"It is quite a disappointment that we did not finish it," Hiddink said. "We can be critical of that. But it was the overall feeling of being robbed, of an injustice. That it why it was so hot and angry in the dressing room. I could fully understand the feeling of the players."

While Guardiola felt Chelsea might have had a case, he added that the home team should not have sat on its lead after Barca defender Eric Abidal was sent off in the second half.

"I can understand that Chelsea can be disappointed about the performance of the referee," Guardiola said. "I did not see the penalties they say there were but it is possible that there were. You have to give us credit, though. We tried to win the game, we tried to take the ball and create chances. We did not create so much but I expected Chelsea to create a little bit more pressure."

May 6 in London
Chelsea 1 Barcelona 1. Goals: Essien 9; Iniesta 90+3.
Chelsea -- Cech, Bosingwa, Alex, Terry, A.Cole, Essien, Ballack, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba (Belletti 72), Malouda.
Barcelona -- Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Toure, Abidal, Xavi, Busquets (Krkic 85), Keita, Messi, Eto'o (Silvinho 90+7), Iniesta (Gudjohnsen 90+6).
Referee: Tom Henning Ovrebo (Norway).
Red card: Barcelona -- Eric Abidal 65.
Att.: 37,857.
(Aggregate: 1-1; Barcelona wins on away goal.)

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
U.S. under-20 national team wins semifinal thriller    
[DALLAS CUP] Rubio Rubin scored his second goal of the game on a rebound of his ...
What They're Saying    
"Miami's greatness is about the interaction of a vibrant culture and the water. We will earn ...
Strikers will test measure of progress at Carolina    
[NASL: Week 2] The Fort Lauderdale Strikers, seventh and fifth in the NASL's two half-seasons, will ...
Chelsea takes on its U-8s    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] Chelsea's John Terry, David Luiz, Frank Lampard et al took on ...
Collins John slapped with three-game suspension    
[USL PRO: Week 5] The USL PRO career of Collins John, the Liberian-born Dutch international who ...
What They're Saying    
"There is no problem. Tensions are a bit high; I have no problem with that. They ...
Chivas USA's McNamara faces knee surgery    
[MLS INJURY REPORT] Rookie Thomas McNamara, who had started every game for Chivas USA until being ...
Road to Rio begins for Tab Ramos' group    
[USA UNDER-21 MEN] The road to Rio begins for the U.S. men's Olympic team begins with ...
New-look Thorns aim for two in a row on road    
[NWSL: Week 2] The defending champion Portland Thorns FC remain on the road for the second ...
Lack of playing time worrying for bubble players    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] With only four weeks at most for most players before the end of their ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives