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Iniesta breaks Chelsea hearts, sends Barcelona through

May 6, 2009

Barcelona snatched a place in the Champions League final, and left Chelsea players furious, when a last-gasp goal from Andres Iniesta earned them a 1-1 draw in their semi-final second leg and victory on away goals.

Barcelona will play holders Manchester United in the Rome final on May 27 after a stunning reversal of fortunes in the semi-final second leg.

But are Chelsea right to complain that bad refereeing cost them victory?

The Londoners might have had four penalties — one for a foul on Malouda that looked inside the box, one for a tug on Drogba’s shirt, a third for Pique’s handball and finally another handball from Eto’o, charging down a fierce shot from Michael Ballack.

We’re left with the final most neutrals would probably have wished for … but Barcelona needed every ounce of their self-belief, and no little luck, to take their place in it.

Can they stop this irresistible looking United team?

PHOTO: Chelsea’s Frank Lampard (L) reacts as John Terry looks on after Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta scored the decisive late goal during their Champions League second leg semi-final soccer match at Stamford Bridge in London May 6, 2009. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Comments

Having just watched Didier Drogba shouting at the TV cameras that the refereeing was a ******* disgrace, I thought it was maybe about time he should look at his own performances and that diving at the slightest touch might not just be a ******* disgrace as well. A referee does his best to get it right, he does his best to force him to get it wrong. I am crying a river Mr Drogba. For the good of FOOTBALL fans across the world thank goodness Barca went through

Posted by mark | Report as abusive
 

Chelsea are the biggest bunch of whiners and floppers in all of football. They reaped what they’ve sown. What’s sad is the media tout this “RESPECT” campaign all year and then act like petulant children aka John Terry when their home side comes up short.

Chelsea scored a fluke goal themselves. Don’t give them any more credit than they deserve. The ball ricocheted 20 yards off a Barca player and Essien wrong-foots it home. Essien is a great player, don’t’ get me wrong, but he, or anyone else, might score 5 out of 100 in that situation.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive
 

I don’t think Barca fans can complain about refereeing decisions not going their way. They were just gifted free tickets to play the final at Rome.

And yes I completely agree with Didier Drogba.

 

Are we surprised with the penalty decisions being turned down. Blatter and Platini make it very clear their hate of English premier league sucess,so a second successive final with two English clubs would have killed them.

Posted by Vaughan Collins | Report as abusive
 

I really can’t tell right now about the brains behind the officials of the match. It was clear that Chelsea was robbed of the match after being denied penalties and so on, instead the referee added himself to the barca side to become 11 players. Am begining to think that the officials does not want the two finalist be drawn from the UK.

Posted by ANDREW ENAMAYE.(Nig) | Report as abusive
 

the match was fixed uefa and mr.platini had planned that barca should go through by fair or foul means chelsea deserved to go through but its mr. platini who just cant stand english teams dominate…. the ref was ordered not to give decisions in favour of chelsea and yes drogba was right the ref was a ******* disgrace

Posted by avinash | Report as abusive
 

Chelsea fans must feel very hard done by but to describe this as a conspiracy working against a second successive all-English final is making a bit of a leap of imagination.
Watching the game, it struck me that all the penalty appeals were borderline — none of them absolutely nailed on. When you have so many, you feel one of the appeals *must* go your way, but taken on their individual merits, and without the benefit of video evidence, were any of them so clear cut?
Barcelona fans may also feel that the sending-off of Abidal was plain wrong.
To repeat, Barcelona can count themselves very lucky, but a conspiracy? Come on…

Posted by kevin fylan | Report as abusive
 

In response Kevin, yes the Pique handball was as clear cut as you’ll see. His hand clearly moved to the ball in the instinctive manner it does when a player is about to go around you. As a United fan, I’m glad it’s Barca in the final, looking forward to a classic.
Shame that the Chels players couldn’t have exhibited a collective stiff upper lip after the final whistle (England captain JT26 included) and that the train home to Epsom last night must have been a very quiet one for the fans.

 

“Watching the game, it struck me that all the penalty appeals were borderline — none of them absolutely nailed on”

Kevin Fylan what are you talking about – Gerard Pique has alreay admitted it was handball. It was COMPLETELY nailed on.

Posted by KG | Report as abusive
 

Kevin Fylan is right. All the penalty calls were borderline. Pique’s handball was the closest: even that was a 50/50 call.

Barcelona also had Abidal sent off for no reason. Barca can also point to a penalty appeal when Bosingwa pulled back Henry in Camp Nou. They may also argue that Ballack should have been sent off at Camp Nou…

At the end of the day, Chelsea had chances to end the game before Iniesta’s strike, but they failed to take their chances (can’t blame the referee or Platini for that). Drogba had two one-on-one chances with keeper Valdes at Stamford Bridge and one at Camp Nou. He failed to score.

Drogba and Anelka could have scored but they preferred to dive and Drogba spent his entire night feigning injury…

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive
 

The ref probably did give the benefit of doubt to Pique on that occasion (probably because he felt that the sending off was a bit too harsh).
But shouldn’t Barcelona be given credit for their persistent or their attacking play?
At the end of the day, “leading does not mean you have won” is something all Chelsea players need to remember.

Posted by KT | Report as abusive
 

Drogba was not right, he acted like a spoilt child and he is the one who is a disgrace. Behaviour like that cannot be conodoned under any circumstances and should be punished accordingly. Stupid chelsea thinking they could keep barca goaless for 180 mins. Naive

Posted by graham | Report as abusive
 

the refree is totally a disgrace to uefa and fifa as a whole, it is quite obvious that the man has a pre-determined mind on who he prefers in the match. how on earth can he overlooked handballs on two occations insde the box? i think the man should be barred from officiating in any fifa or uefa organised matches.

Posted by ola olayinka | Report as abusive
 

So sending of a Barca player with a dubious red card is part of a conspiracy to let them win? Interesting. The Pique handball was the only definite penalty, but to be perfectly honest, I’m glad it wasn’t called, because that would be a terrible deciding goal. I can live with it. The Eto’o handball at the very end was way way way too close to his shoulder to be called at that late a stage of the game. Would you really feel you earned the win if you were Chelsea? I’m glad for the final matchup, but not by any means necessary. If Chelsea had won it square, then I’d have to accept the final. I wouldn’t want Barca to go no matter what just to produce ManU-Barca. I want the team who earned it to win, and that happened last night. The two best teams in the world are playing for the Champions League, can you argue with that?

Posted by mizark | Report as abusive
 

The way Barca played in the final 15 minutes, you never would have know they were a man down. And the Eto’o “shoulderball” was not an offense. Barca had some measure of good luck, but at the end, tenacity and determination carried the day.

That said, I feel sorry for Chelsea, but that’s the nature of the game.

It promises to be an incredible display of quality football on May 27.

Posted by JCinCT | Report as abusive
 

The better team went through to the final of champions league. It was really shamefull the way chelsea players behaved during the match and after the final whistle. Just because chelsea played so negatively in the first semi-final and got away with it they belive that this match was theirs. Wake up, matches are won by champions. Not by whiners who blame the refree for loosing the match. Maybe just maybe now they will build a team which actually plays football and does not go shooting their mouths off.

Posted by Amardeep | Report as abusive
 

the referee’s performance was a disgrace. the last 15 minutes of the match was the worst 15 minutes of refereeing i have ever seen. oh well. as a man u fan, i could not care less. but for anyone to deny the referee’s ineptitude is laughable.

Posted by michael | Report as abusive
 

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