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Chelsea beat Barcelona in six-goal thriller
Mike Collett | March 09, 2005 03:30 IST
Last Updated: March 09, 2005 10:08 IST
Champions League pre-quarter-finals
Captain John Terry powered Chelsea into the Champions League quarter-finals with the decisive goal in a remarkable 4-2 victory over Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
The centre back's late header capped a classic match that ended with Chelsea stealing through to the last eight 5-4 on aggregate after Barcelona had recovered from being 3-0 down to lead on the away goals rule with just 14 minutes to play.
It kept Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on course for a second successive European Cup triumph after he won the trophy with Porto last season.
Eidur Gudjohnsen, Frank Lampard and Damien Duff all scored in the first 19 minutes as the English Premier League leaders wiped out their 2-1 first leg deficit in superb style.
Barcelona hit back with a Ronaldinho penalty and the Brazilian world player of the year improvised a brilliant second goal to give the visitors the edge until Terry settled an extraordinary tie, despite Barcelona claims for a foul.
There were also ugly scenes at the final whistle as the Barcelona players left the field and their Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o later claimed he had been racially abused by a Chelsea steward.
Mourinho, whose Chelsea team won the League Cup 10 days ago, danced on the pitch in delight with his squad after a scintillating triumph over a Barcelona team that, like his, is eight points clear at the top of their domestic league.
"I am happy to have beaten what the press called the best team in the world," said Mourinho, who had been involved in a war of words with UEFA and Barcelona after the first leg over the match officials.
"The way the players believed in the first half and they way they believed after Barcelona were going through in the second half...the game was unbelievably emotional."
Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard told Canal Plus: "Chelsea were on the ropes for some time but we committed some crucial errors.
"We lost the ball in midfield just at the wrong time, and we have to learn from mistakes like that."
Chelsea had the perfect start with three goals before Barca even had a shot on target -- an echo of the last time they played Barcelona at Stamford Bridge almost five years ago when they scored three times in nine minutes at the end of the first half.
This time their three-goal strike started in the eighth minute when Gudjohnsen superbly outwitted defender Gerard after a cross from Mateja Kezman to lift the ball over the onrushing Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes.
The cheers for that goal had hardly died down when Chelsea struck again nine minutes later. Joe Cole, making a profound impression in midfield, cut in at the end of a surging run down the right and cracked a shot goalwards that took a deflection off defender Oleguer.
Valdes, wrong-footed on the slippery surface, twisted and got a hand to the ball, but could only palm it into Lampard's path and he slammed the ball into the empty net from two metres out.
Even worse was to follow for Barca when Kezman and Cole exchanged passes before Cole split the Barca defence with a through ball for Duff who shot past Valdes to make it 3-0 after only 19 minutes.
Gradually Barca came back into the match with Eto'o forcing Chelsea keeper Petr Cech to make a superb save after 23 minutes.
Chelsea's Paulo Ferreira then handled a cross from Juliano Belletti and referee Pierluigi Collina immediately signalled a penalty. Ronaldinho scored despite Cech guessing correctly to dive right and at 3-1 Barca were suddenly back in the game.
Sixteen minutes later they were leading the tie. The ball fell to Ronaldinho on the edge of the box and he scored with an audacious shot with the outside of his right foot that nestled in the corner of Cech's net without the keeper moving to bring the score back to 3-2, giving Barca the advantage on away goals.
Chelsea's Joe Cole hit the post before the interval and the second half was no less thrilling as both defences combated some brilliant build-up play.
Cech saved brilliantly from Carles Puyol and Andres Iniesta before Terry soared to score the crucial goal for Roman Abramovich's expensively assembled team.