There was no Jose Mourinho in the dug-out at Stamford Bridge last night but by the end it hardly seemed to matter because the Chelsea's coach influence could be detected all over this remarkable match
There was no Jose Mourinho in the dug-out at Stamford Bridge last night but by the end it hardly seemed to matter because the Chelsea's coach influence could be detected all over this remarkable match. The principles he holds so dear were there in another swashbuckling Champions' League performance, in the goals his valiant side scored and in the decisions made in his absence by the Chelsea bench.
Especially, it seemed, those decisions. On one of those nights when Stamford Bridge staked another claim to host to one of European football's most uninhibited attacking teams it might seem ungrateful to tear the gaze away from the pitch but it was the activity on the touchline that also caught the eye. Mourinho's whereabouts remained a mystery during the match, but the note-passing on the bench hinted at an involvement that was much harder to measure.
The conspiracy theorists will point to the notes that were passed by the fitness coach Rui Faria, who wore a hat pulled low over his ears, to Mourinho's assistants Baltemar Brito and Steve Clarke which seemed to coincide with major decisions. And the intervention of the Uefa official Pieter Vink suggested that he too was suspicious, but from Brito came a flat denial of any wrongdoing. "There was no contact with Mourinho," he said. "The last time I saw him was two hours before kick-off and I have not seen him since."
If Uefa still have the stomach for another dispute with Mourinho after serving him with the two-match ban that will also prevent him from manning the touchline in Munich on Wednesday then that will be some charge to prove. The club's spokesman denied that Faria had an earpiece and even the frequent trips down the tunnel by the goalkeeper coach Silvinho Louro were dismissed as innocent errands.
By the end, Chelsea had scored four but their potential passage into a semi-final against either Juventus or Liverpool did not feel as comfortable as it should have been. Just as they had put on Mikael Forsell in injury time for his first appearance in 17 months, Michael Ballack appeared to fool the referee Rene Tremmink into awarding a penalty and the German international slotted home a vital second away goal.
Theories on Mourinho's whereabouts last night ranged from his home in Eaton Square to the health club that adjoins the stadium, but after four minutes you began to wonder whether Chelsea would miss him at all. Against Arsenal in the previous round, Bayern had rolled into Highbury for the return leg and subjugated their hosts but this time they were subject to the classic Chelsea ambush.
It took Chelsea just four minutes to carve open Bayern's defence with the kind of unapologetic direct football that they were to employ all night. John Terry's long punt was fed in to Joe Cole by Damien Duff but not before Didier Drogba had muscled out Robert Kovac in an aerial challenge. Cole's shot cannoned off the defender Lucio and past Oliver Kahn.
In the role of lone aggressor, the same that he had occupied against Barcelona in the previous round first leg at the Nou Camp, Drogba was at the very centre of all that was good about a rampaging Chelsea attack. Only once did they look threatened in the first half when Hasan Salihamidzic's cross to the far post was chested by Glen Johnson towards Ze Roberto, who struck the ball wide of Petr Cech's goal.
Bayern were scarcely worth their equaliser but it came none the less on 52 minutes. Ballack struck a free-kick against the Chelsea wall and when his shot rebounded, Ze Roberto threaded the rebound back through. At full stretch, Cech's long reach could only palm the ball away and the substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger finished.
The response from Mourinho's team could not have been better if he had been prowling the touchline himself and he must have given thanks once again for the sublime talent that Chelsea have in Frank Lampard. He scored his 13th of the season on the hour when Drogba's knock-down fell to him in the box and he struck the ball past Kahn from close range.
Lampard's next goal on 70 minutes came was made by Makelele, who picked him out advancing unmarked into the Bayern area he took one touch to gather in possession and another to poke the ball past Kahn. Any pretence at cohesion in Bayern's defence was lost and they conceded a nightmarish fourth when Lampard's corner from the left was allowed to drop in the area. Kahn did well to stop Eidur Gudjohnsen's first effort but he had no chance with Drogba's follow-up.
It was in injury time that Ricardo Carvalho was harshly judged to have pushed Ballack in the penalty area and the spot-kick gave Bayern hope.
In Munich next Wednesday, a semi-final place lies within Chelsea's grasp and, wherever he is, they have a manager who is not accustomed to throwing such advantages away.
Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Cech; Johnson (Huth, 65), Carvalho, Terry, Gallas; Makelele; Cole (Tiago, 81), Gudjohnsen, Lampard, Duff; Drobga (Forssell, 89). Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), Smertin, Geremi.
Bayern Munich (4-4-2): Kahn; Sagnol, Lucio, Kovac, Lizarazu; Hargreaves, Frings, Ballack, Ze Roberto (Scholl, 77); Guerrero, Salihamidzic (Schweinsteiger, h-t). Substitutes not used: Rensing (gk), Hashemian, Jeremies, Linke, Deisler.
Referee: R Temmink (Netherlands).Reuse content