Chelsea's Fernando Torres from Spain celebrates his goal during a Champions League second leg semifinal soccer match against Barcelona at Camp Nou stadium, in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 24, 2012.
Blue fairy tale
Chelsea overcame the sending off of John Terry and the loss of Gary Cahill to injury to score a historic victory Tuesday night, eliminating Barcelona from the Champions League 3-2 on aggregate. The Stamford Bridge squad booked their ticket to the final in Munich May 19. Here are the six key players of the game
Ramires, M, Chelsea
A superb defensive effort was matched by a vital goal, a sublime chip over Victor Valdes off service from Frank Lampard. It would win the tie for the Blues, and it came at exactly the right time, stunning the Catalans as they went off for the half. He’s been heroic for Chelsea over the last ten days.
Fernando Torres, F, Chelsea
The $80m man earned his entire paycheck with his stoppage-time goal to put an emphatic stamp on this game. Alone on a breakaway, he held his nerve, rounded Valdes and scored an incredible goal. All is forgiven, Fernando.
John Terry, D, Chelsea
Terry’s off the ball foul on Alexis Sanchez condemned Chelsea to play the entire second half with only ten men. It was a childish, foolish foul, a knee in the back that served no purpose at all. Terry later denied fouling Sanchez at all — but no one’s buying it. This was only the latest in a series of ugly incidents that have cost him his reputation.
Petr Cech, GK, Chelsea
The man who won the game for the Blues tonight. Simply amazing in goal, stopping almost everything that came his way. The keeper might not be the world’s best any longer, but tonight he was pitch-perfect, denying Barcelona goal after goal.
Andres Iniesta, M, Barcelona
A great goal, set up by Messi — but little else. This was not a vintage night for the Barcelona midfield, which looked very predictable and unable to change gears. When Chelsea parked the bus, they continued to try and pass their way around it. Iniesta simply could pull the strings tonight.
Lionel Messi, F, Barcelona
The genius is mortal. Messi’s night was summed up by his penalty attempt that rebounded back off the crossbar. For the third straight game, Messi was shackled. The strain of playing so many high-level games has finally caught up with him. While he’s having a record-setting season, Gerd Muller’s record may stand yet.