Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chelsea advances to Champions League Final

Soccer America recaps Chelsea's victory over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League semifinal yesterday.

Playing with 10 men, Chelsea came back from 2-0 down to tie Barcelona and improbably move into the final of the UEFA Champions League. Brazilian Ramires' goal in stoppage time of the first half turned the game around for the Blues. After Lionel Messi twice hit the woodwork -- the first time from the penalty spot -- Fernando Torres scored on a breakaway to dash Barca's hopes.

TRIVIA. Barcelona enjoyed a 17-7 edge in shots but only 5-3 in shots on goal. Its advantage in corner kicks (10-1) and ball possession (72 percent-28 percent) was much greater.
BARCELONA REACTION. "I told my players to attack and not to stop, because that is what we have to do. And then Chelsea's first goal came. But we are true to ourselves, we have always been this way. I will learn from this. I do not know what to feel. I look at my players and I do not know what to tell them that they did wrong because I cannot find anything wrong with what we did." -- Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.
CHELSEA REACTION. "It’s an incredible achievement by this group of players. A lot of people had written us [off] but we showed again what kind of character these players have. We didn’t expect to play with 10 men, but we knew it was going to be tough and it was even more difficult than we expected. Barcelona have some fantastic players but we showed what we’re made of. The second half wasn’t much about tactics – it was about the pressure, the pride, the desire to go to the final. We were 45 minutes away from the final and that’s what the second half was about." -- Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo

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