Chelsea relishing 'unfinished business' with Barcelona after reaching Champions League semi-finals
Nervy win over 10-man Benfica sets up chance of revenge – but Mourinho adds to intrigue
Thursday 05 April 2012
Frank Lampard said last night Chelsea want to settle their “unfinished business” with their old foes Barcelona, whom they will meet in this month's Champions League semi-finals after beating Benfica 2-1 last night.
The victory set up a rematch of 2009's controversial tie at the same stage with Barcelona, in which Chelsea felt cheated by some of the decisions from Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo. Last night the Real Madrid coach, Jose Mourinho, whose side face Bayern Munich in the other semi-final, added to the intrigue when he hinted that referees are afraid not to give Barcelona favourable treatment.
There was further drama last night when it emerged that John Terry has aggravated two suspected fractured ribs and will go for a scan today on the injury. The Chelsea captain came off after 59 minutes and is one of the individuals Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo can scarcely do without in a heavy forthcoming fixture list.
Lampard's penalty gave Chelsea a first-half lead last night, and Benfica's Maxi Pereira was sent off soon after. Javi Garcia pulled one back with a header but Raul Meireles guaranteed Chelsea's progress with a stoppage-time goal.
"Everyone's got unfinished business with them," Lampard said of Barcelona last night. "They're the greatest team in the world. They have been and still are."
"That game is still in our minds but this is a different year and we have to try to beat them but we can believe we can do it."
Lampard was referring to the 2009 semi-final, when Andres Iniesta's stoppage-time strike sent Barcelona through on away goals, but Chelsea left infuriated after being denied four strong penalty appeals by Ovrebo.
Meanwhile, Mourinho hinted last night that dark forces would prevent a meeting in the final between his current and former clubs. He has long suggested that Barcelona receive preferential decisions.
"Let me be honest," the Portuguese said, "I don't think the final will be a Real Madrid-Chelsea final. I prefer to say only this: I don't think it will be Real v Chelsea. It could be Bayern or Barcelona, I just don't think it will be Real Madrid v Chelsea and we know why."
The Benfica coach, Jorge Jesus, is not confident about Chelsea's chances in the semis. "Over the two games we proved we were much the better team," he said. "What hurts me is that we've knocked out better teams than this Chelsea. I may be wrong but I believe Chelsea have no chance against Barcelona."
Di Matteo said that he was "excited" about the prospect of facing the European champions. "We will find a strategy that will suit our players and our team to face Barcelona," he added. "We've faced them a lot of times over the years and a lot of our players have some history against Barcelona. Certainly they felt a bit hard done by when we played them the last time, three years ago."
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Sami Khedira to Arsenal? Arsene Wenger reveals Gunners are still in the market for defensive midfielder
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Risky business to think Balotelli can replace Suarez
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football
Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians