Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

Barca draws 1-1 with Chelsea to reach final

ANDRES Iniesta's injury-time equalizer put 10-man Barcelona into the Champions League final after a 1-1 draw with a Chelsea side that felt it had been robbed of victory by the referee yesterday.

Chelsea led through Michael Essien's ninth-minute 20-meter drive and had a handful of penalty appeals turned down at Stamford Bridge against a Barcelona team which had defender Eric Abidal sent off in the 66th minute.

But Iniesta's goal, after a 0-0 draw in Spain last week, meant Barcelona went through on away goals and will meet defending champion Manchester United in Rome on May 27.

In a stormy end to the second semifinal, Chelsea players surrounded Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo, convinced he should have awarded them at least two penalties - one on a foul he gave outside the area instead of inside and another for a handball by Samuel Eto'o when he blocked a shot with his arm. Didier Drogba, who had also gone down twice inside the area, marched up to the official to complain and had to be pulled away by coach Guus Hiddink.

"Our players are both disappointed and angry," said Hiddink. "We felt disappointment that we didn't finish our chances and I can understand their feelings of being robbed and an injustice.

"Everyone can make a mistake, that's all in the game," he said of the referee. "But if you have seen three or four situations waved away I have to think a lot about whether I've seen worse."

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said he understood the Chelsea players' reactions to some of the referee's decisions.

"I can understand the Chelsea players' disappointment about the performance of the referee," he said. "I didn't see the penalties. It's possible but I didn't see.

"I can also understand their feelings. Until the last minute they had the world but, in the last minute, Iniesta got the (equalizing) goal."

He congratulated his players for not giving up even though they were down to 10 men for the last 24 minutes.

"We showed a lot of bravery and created a threat until right up to the end," said Guardiola, whose team was close to capturing the Spanish title after winning 6-2 at Real Madrid on Saturday.

"It's great to be playing against such a top side as Manchester United (in the final)."

Chelsea played quality football and appeared on the way to a second Champions League final in a row against United after last season's loss in a penalty shootout in Moscow.

But then came Barcelona's late score.

The game was deep into injury time when Iniesta collected a ball from Lionel Messi and drove the equalizer past Petr Cech to start celebrations on the Barcelona bench. Guardiola raced down the touchline towards the club's fans to celebrate and it was several minutes before the game resumed.

Barcelona will now send its star-filled lineup to face United in a final many neutral followers had been longing for. Barcelona will be chasing its third title after winning in 1992 and 2006. United, which won in 1968, '99 and last season, is after its fourth.

Barcelona should have Thierry Henry back in the lineup after he was ruled out of this game. The French star left the field with a knee injury despite scoring twice in the impressive 6-2 victory at Real Madrid. Although Henry trained at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, he didn't even make the bench for the game.

The home side went ahead in the ninth minute with a stunning strike by Essien.

Cole fed Frank Lampard, whose pass came off a Barcelona defender and came loose well outside the area. Essien ran in and hit the ball with his left foot, the powerful 20-meter drive flashing past goalkeeper Victor Valdes and going off the underside of the bar.

Chelsea kept up the pressure and appealed for a penalty when Florent Malouda was brought down by Daniel Alves a meter inside the area, but the referee ruled it had happened on the edge.

Alves was shown a yellow card for a series of fouls - his second of the competition, which rules him out of the final in Rome.

Anelka ran toward goal and tumbled to the turf just outside the area, and the referee sent the French fullback off for a professional foul even though he didn't appear to make contact with his countryman.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend