It was the night Chelsea, having knocked hard on the door in several previous seasons, finally made it through to the Champions League final.
It was the night Liverpool, who had become something of a nemesis in our quest to win Europe’s biggest prize despite our good record against them in other competitions, could not overcome a highly motivated Blues backed by a fervent Stamford Bridge support.It was the night, Frank Lampard has revealed this week, that our current boss and former star midfielder strengthened the already mighty bond that existed between him and Chelsea Football Club.In April 2008 we were playing Premier League rivals Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals for the third time in four seasons. Unlike the other two years, on this occasion the second leg was at home and we went into it in a strong position having drawn 1-1 at Anfield.It was advantage Chelsea when Didier Drogba scored but after Fernando Torres, then of Liverpool, had levelled the tie on aggregate, the crux of the game came when Lampard took an extra-time penalty. Famously, it was a high-pressure moment to negotiate despite him having only just returned to playing following the passing of his mother Pat.Lampard scored and Chelsea went on to win 4-3 on aggregate.
As he looks forward to his first Champions League game as a manager and back to that night, he agrees it was the most emotional night of his career.‘Without a doubt,’ Lampard says. ‘I did not need an extra bond with the club but what happened on that night for me with my team-mates and the fans, during such a huge game for the club, it is something that kicked everything on for me in terms of how I feel about this club, so that maybe is the magic of the Champions League.‘I will be proud to do it,’ he says of the prospect of managing in the competition for the first time later today, ‘because I had multiple incredible nights in the Champions League, and some bad ones, and it is the ultimate in club football for me.‘There is something about nights at Stamford Bridge, something about the Champions League music. There are memories I have and we have here as Chelsea people and I want to experience it on this [the managerial] side of the fence.‘So I will be proud to take the team out, very aware that what matters is results, what matters is starting the group well against tough opposition but yes, I am excited.’
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