Lampard lights the way as Chelsea step out of Mourinho's shadow

Bayern Munich 3 - Chelsea 2
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The Independent Football

It was in the back of a humble Munich taxi that Jose Mourinho left the Olympiastadion before kick-off last night and what took place in his absence was one of the most accomplished Chelsea performances of his reign. Their leader might have been exiled from the touchline, and defeat came in the game's dying seconds, but what will endure of last night was the resolve that earned Chelsea a place in the Champions' League semi-finals.

It was in the back of a humble Munich taxi that Jose Mourinho left the Olympiastadion before kick-off last night and what took place in his absence was one of the most accomplished Chelsea performances of his reign. Their leader might have been exiled from the touchline, and defeat came in the game's dying seconds, but what will endure of last night was the resolve that earned Chelsea a place in the Champions' League semi-finals.

Chelsea's passage through the last two rounds of this competition has been a strange tale, interrupted by the savage political feud that burns between their coach and Uefa and the occasional transfer scandal. But last night, for the space of this match at least, it was possible to wonder at the simple achievement of a team that has learned quickly how to take on, and defeat, the grandees of European football.

Eventually they were only beaten by two goals that arrived either side of the 90-minute mark, but that alone does not do justice to the scope of their achievement. They were defeated by a German team that, to their credit, refused to give up on the tie, yet as the old masters from Bayern's past mulled over their elimination, Franz Beckenbauer said that Chelsea "were not better but much cleverer". Coming from a wily old German World Cup winner there can scarcely be a greater compliment.

Chelsea had begun the evening with a statement intended to pre-empt newspaper stories that said the chief executive Peter Kenyon had been spotted in a restaurant with Rio Ferdinand. Then Mourinho added his last few flourishes to the build-up before leaving the real business to his team. He arrived on the front seat of the team bus with an air of affected nonchalance: his feet up and his eyes shut.

If his entrance had been unusual then his exit was spectacular. As most of the stadium's photographers trained their lenses on the VIP seats, Mourinho suddenly appeared on the giant screen in the stadium. This time, however, he was back outside and stepping into a beige Munich municipal taxi for the short ride back to the team hotel. A Chelsea spokesman later said that Mourinho's "privacy" had been invaded at the stadium by cameramen.

On the pitch, Bayern made good on their promise to take the role of aggressors and Robert Huth made an inauspicious start to life as a right-back when he was well beaten by Ze Roberto down the wing. He cut the ball back to Michael Ballack in the area and only a flailing leg from Petr Cech kept the shot out.

Down the opposite wing came Bastian Schweinsteiger who began by causing equal trouble for William Gallas. There are not many bonafide nutmegs in the Champions' League but the young German inflicted the old-fashioned humiliation on the French full-back on 18 minutes and then beat Frank Lampard before unleashing a cross that curled menacingly across goal.

But before the half-hour, Chelsea took a daring lead. The goals Lampard has scored this season, and the games he has dominated, mean that his triumphs are no fluke. But when he struck his 15th of the season the Brazilian Lucio would have been entitled to ask whether the football gods had a grudge against him. Just like Joe Cole's first last week, the ball went in via a deflection off the defender.

There were two scares for Chelsea before half-time, not least when Ze Roberto offered further evidence that Huth is not a natural full-back by beating him down the flank and cutting back another inviting ball. But it was Ballack who wasted the best chance of all when John Terry misjudged a header and presented the midfielder with a simple chance from close range. He could not keep his shot under the bar.

Chelsea resilience and determination to maintain their shape was rewarded when, just before the hour, Damien Duff was presented with a glorious chance to kill the tie. Lampard's innocent free-kick was allowed to trickle through to the Irishman and, holding off Willy Sagnol's challenge he shot from close range. Somehow Kahn turned the ball away.

The Bayern goal arrived on 65 minutes and, by then, they were in control. Sagnol crossed from the right and Ballack, who had established himself as the match's most influential man, crashed a header against the post. Cech was beaten and the ball ricocheted back along his line where it was turned in by Pizarro who looked to have been in an offside position when Ballack made contact.

And so Bayern poured forward. Within four minutes of their goal, Huth had deflected a Bixente Lizarazu cross that struck Cech's bar. From the corner, Ballack once again proved dominant in the air and, although Cech managed to get a glove on the ball it still required Eidur Gidjohnsen to kick the ball off the line.

From nothing Chelsea appeared to seal the tie with 11 minutes remaining. Joe Cole made the crucial breakthrough, crossing from the left for Didier Drogba to flick his header past Kahn. Somehow, Bayern managed to rouse themselves from the depths of a display that saw most of their supporters exit before their winning goals went in.

The first came from the substitute Paolo Guerrero who turned in Schweinsteiger's cross from the right at the near post. Then in injury time, Mehmet Scholl, another substitute, scored with the last kick of the game. It was the first time that Mourinho's Chelsea have conceded three goals but even he might be minded to forgive them for that.

Bayern Munich (4-1-3-2): Kahn; Sagnol, Lucio, Kovac, Lizarazu (Salihamidzic, 78); Demichelis (Scholl, 52); Schweinsteiger, Ballack, Ze Roberto; Makaay (Guerrero, 73), Pizarro. Substitutes not used: Rensing (gk), Frings, Jeremies, Deisler.

Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Cech; Huth, Carvalho, Terry, Gallas; Makelele; Cole (Morais, 90), Lampard, Gudjohnsen (Geremi, 88) Duff (Tiago, 71); Drogba. Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), Johnson, Smertin, Forssell.

Referee: M Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain).

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