Miracle escape as 10-man Chelsea beat European champions

Barcelona 2 Chelsea 2 (Chelsea win 3-2 on aggregate)

Chelsea produced one of the greatest escapes in the history of European football tonight as they survived the sending off of John Terry to win an astonishing Champions League semi-final with Barcelona.

On a night of unparalleled drama at the Nou Camp, Terry looked to have pressed the self-destruct button on the Blues' hopes of glory on the continent when he saw red for kneeing Alexis Sanchez from behind.

But the 10 men were simply magnificent for the rest of the second leg, fighting back from goals from Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta with a stunning chip from Ramires before half-time.

And after surviving a Barca siege from start to finish that saw Lionel Messi miss a penalty, Fernando Torres came off the bench to score a stoppage-time breakaway goal as Chelsea avenged their 2009 defeat in the most dramatic manner possible.

Reaching their second final came at a huge cost, with Terry's red card and yellows for Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles ruling them out of the final.

But they will worry about that in the morning after celebrating arguably the greatest result in the club's history and one which may finally convince Roman Abramovich to make Roberto Di Matteo's appointment as manager permanent.

Disaster struck for Chelsea as early as the sixth minute, Gary Cahill eventually forced off after slipping and pulling his hamstring, with Jose Bosingwa coming on and Ivanovic forced to move to centre-back.

It was soon 1-1 on the injury front, Gerard Pique lasting just 26 minutes of his recall after failing to recover from a sickening collision with the backside of Victor Valdes that appeared to leave him briefly unconscious.

That failed to alter the pattern of a game which was a carbon copy of the first leg as Chelsea parked the bus once more.

Messi rippled the side-netting inside three minutes and, after both sides' injury woes, he should have opening the scoring in the 20th minute, firing a one-two with Cesc Fabregas against Petr Cech's leg.

Fabregas also volleyed into the sidenetting and Cech tipped over Javier Mascherano's drive but there was hope for Chelsea before Pique's departure when Didier Drogba shrugged him off but could himself only find the side-netting from the tightest of angles.

The first sign of Chelsea's discipline wavering came when John Obi Mikel was booked for chopping down Alexis Sanchez in the 32nd minute.

And when they went to sleep three minutes later, they were behind, their failure to close down allowing Isaac Cuenca to square for Busquets to tap into a virtually unguarded net.

The build-up to this tie was dominated by talk of refereeing meltdowns in previous clashes but Terry simply gave Cuneyt Cakir no choice but to dismiss him less than two minutes later.

Sanchez over-reacted to the swipe, bringing back memories of David Beckham's 1998 World Cup sending-off, and Terry initially refused to walk.

But Cech made him listen to reason before picking the ball out of his own net again two minutes before half time, Chelsea carved apart as Messi teed up Iniesta to stroke the ball home.

Chelsea looked dead and buried but, as at Stamford Bridge, they struck a dagger blow with their first shot on target in first-half stoppage-time.

Frank Lampard was again the creator as Ramires burst through and floated a glorious finish over Valdes - moments after picking up a booking that would rule him out of the final.

The cascade of noise that had filled the Nou Camp turned to silence at half-time but they were soon cheering again after the restart when Drogba conceded a penalty.

Cakir adjudged the striker had tripped Fabregas and pointed to the spot, with Ivanovic cautioned for his protest.

It looked certain Messi would end his Chelsea hoodoo but, incredibly, he smashed his effort against the crossbar.

Lampard was fortunate to escape punishment for a flare-up with Fabregas, Sanchez nodded substitute Daniel Alves' cross wide, and Cech was booked for timewasting having already been warned before saving well again from Cuenca.

Ivanovic almost capitalised after Drogba helped Chelsea win a rare corner but he was warned himself after going down theatrically, while Lampard was lucky to only see yellow for cutting down Fabregas after Messi was booked for tugging him back.

The visitors were hanging on and were given two lifelines in 60 seconds in the final 10 minutes when Sanchez had a goal ruled out for offside and Messi hit the post from 20 yards.

With time running out, Meireles was ruled out of the final after being booked for fouling Mascherano, who Cech saved from again in the final minute.

And then, in stoppage-time, a long clearance found substitute Torres with 50 yards of space in which to run.

Unlike most of his Chelsea career, he made no mistake, rounding Valdes and slotting home to jubilant scenes.

Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Sport
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk