Barcelona 2 Chelsea 1 – Champions League, February 23rd 2005
Chelsea 4 Barcelona 2 – Champions League, March 8th 2005
Chelsea had played Barcelona twice before, but it was the 2005 Champions League meeting that saw the birth of one of the fiercest rivalries in European competition.
We took the lead away through an own goal by a player later to join the Blues, Juliano Belletti, and for much of the first half we were in control but that was to change after the break. Didier Drogba was sent off for two ridiculous yellow cards and the ten men were unable to hang on as Barcelona scored twice late on.
After the match Chelsea accused the Barcelona coach of approaching the referee at half time, presumably in an attempt to influence the official. Uefa accused Chelsea of lying about the details of the incident even though it later transpired Rijkaard did approach Frisk. Jose Mourinho was eventually given a stadium ban for the next round.
With this background, the scene was set for a volatile second leg. Thankfully, it was the quality of football that will remain in the memory. In a magical spell of attacking play, we went 3-0 up within 20 minutes; Eidur Gudjohnsen, Frank Lampard and Damien Duff all taking advantage of poor defending.
Then Barca hit back. Ronaldinho, then the best player in the world, scored twice; one a penalty, one a brilliant shot that had even the home fans gasping in admiration.
With 15 minutes remaining there had been no further goals which would mean our elimination on away goals. Then John Terry scored what proved the winner from a corner to settle an extraordinary tie.