Chelsea 4 Barcelona 2 – Champions League (March 8, 2005)
As we examine the 10 most-exciting Chelsea matches, this is the fifth successive game featuring the Blues rattling up four goals. And it’s the fourth home contest in the European Champions League in which we scored a quartet. Let’s look at our #4 match – another unforgettable night under the lights at Stamford Bridge.
This full-blooded second leg was a roller-coaster ride for the faithful on a chilly spring evening, following a controversial first installment that had heated up both on and off the pitch.
In the first leg of the round of 16 at Camp Nou, the Londoners had taken an away lead through Damien Duff’s deflected cross. But the match turned with Didier Drogba’s red card 10 minutes into the second half.
The Ivorian was harshly dismissed for a challenge on goalkeeper Victor Valdes. Despite furious protests from the Chelsea bench, and with the visitors down to 10 men, Maxi Lopez and Samuel Eto turned the tie around to give the Spaniards a 2–1 win to take to London.
In this second leg at home, however, the Blues roared to a 3–0 lead within 19 minutes of the start. It was a stunning burst of precision, power and pace as the home side steamrollered Barcelona from the kick-off.
Eidur Gudjohnsen opened the account after only seven minutes to give the Londoners a lightning start. Nine minutes later, Frank Lampard reacted first to turn in Joe Cole’s saved effort, and when Duff raced onto Cole’s pass for the third, the tie seemed dead and buried.
But another 19 minutes into the match, and Barcelona were back in front on aggregate. In the 27th minute, Ronaldinho converted a penalty after Paolo Ferreira handled. Then, only 11 minutes later, they went ahead on away goals; the Brazilian conjuring a fantastic strike out of nothing from 20 yards to bamboozle goalkeeper Petr Cech and make it 3–2 on the night.
After the break, the visitors continued to attack, and Cech produced a series of dazzling saves to keep the Blues alive. His heroics were rewarded with 15 minutes to go, when Captain Fantastic John Terry’s soaring header from a Duff corner flew into the net and clinched a place in the quarter-finals after another 90 minutes of continental drama at the Bridge.