Chelsea 2 Barcelona 2 – Champions League Semi-final (April 24, 2012)
The number two spot on our list of the 10 most-exciting Chelsea matches goes to the epitome of an against-the-odds triumph. It was a contest that saw the Blues dig in, man the trenches and batten down the hatches like never before. It was an epic 2–2 draw against Barcelona to clinch a place in the biggest club showpiece of all.
Six days before at Stamford Bridge, the first leg of the Champions League semi-final ended in an unlikely home win. Didier Drogba’s goal gave us a 1–0 lead to defend, but it had taken an impressive rearguard action to secure the precious clean sheet. Barcelona hit the woodwork twice, had another cleared off the line and enjoyed 72 percent possession.
Within 12 minutes at the Nou Camp, the Londoners’ task was made harder when central defender Gary Cahill was forced off through injury. Then, things deteriorated for the visitors in nine action-packed minutes.
First, the Catalans went ahead on the night, level on aggregate, when Sergio Busquets finally breached the Chelsea defense, converting an Isaac Cuenca cross in the 35th minute. Two minutes later, we lost our other starting central defender, captain John Terry, when he was dismissed for violent conduct. Seven minutes after that, Lionel Messi’s pass found Andrés Iniesta who made it 2–0. With the home side ahead and with a man advantage, the Blues’ continental dream looked to have died.
Miraculously, seconds after the restart, Ramires latched onto a Frank Lampard ball and chipped goalkeeper Victor Valdes to put the Londoners back in front on away goals at the half-time whistle.
However, it appeared to be a short-lived reprieve when four minutes into the second period, Drogba tripped future teammate Cesc Fabregas in the box. Messi stepped up to take the penalty-kick, but his shot hit the bar.
The team defended magnificently as, time and time again, they repelled the Barca attacks. Then in injury time, with the home side committing everyone forward in search of the goal that would win the tie, Fernando Torres latched onto a clearance, rounded an exposed Valdes and fired home to send Chelsea into our second Champions League final. It was certainly a thrilling game that deserves its place at nearly the top of the list.
There’s only one match that could top this one. Check out the big reveal: our #1 most-exciting Chelsea FC match.