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Andrés Iniesta's late equaliser wrecked Chelsea's dreams (

7 mei 2009 - Source:

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A spectacular away goal four minutes into stoppage time scored by Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta wrecked Chelsea's dreams of a second successive Champions League final against Manchester United in Rome on May 27th. Guus Hiddink' team, including former PSV defender Alex, was held to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Essien scores memorable opening goal
FC Barcelona may have put in stunning displays of attacking football this season, yet Chelsea were the better team as they took on the Spanish giants at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. Guus Hiddink's side deserved to book a place in the Champions League final in Rome on May 27th to face Manchester United. Chelsea's defensive discipline earned them a precious goalless draw against Barcelona last week. Chelsea produced a performance of great quality and strength and showed passion and devotion in the semi-final second leg. Although the Catalans enjoyed the bulk of possession, they failed to create any clear-cut opportunities and did not have a true effort on target until the 94th minute. Guus Hiddink's team, tactically well-organised and physically strong, took the lead after nine minutes, when the Ghanese Michael Essien beat keeper Victor Valdés with a stunning a left-foot volley from 25 yards that crashed off the crossbar and over the line; 1-0.
'The Tank' was booked
The hosts had chances to double their lead, but Didier Drogba in particular failed to take them. Just when Chelsea looked to be heading for a win and a Champions League final spot, things went horribly wrong. Essien did not hack the ball away. Lionel Messi picked out Iniesta who smashed an unstoppable shot past Chelsea keeper Cech. All the fans that have taken the Blues to their hearts felt devastated and vented their fury at the Norwegian referee Ovebro, who had waved away at least three what seemed decent penalty claims, two of them for handball. But Barcelona also had reason for complaint when Eric Abidal was controversially sent off in the 66th minute for an innocent tangle of legs with Nicolas Anelka. Barça rather than Chelsea will now meet Manchester United in the final in Rome on May 27th. . Former PSV centre back Alex would have been forced to watch the final from the stand, if his team had succeeded in overcoming Barcelona, after the Brazilian received a yellow card in the second half. The Tank produced an excellent performance, but he, too, was in tears as his dreams of reaching the final were wrecked once again.
Fifth semi-final defeat for Hiddink
It was the fifth time that Guus Hiddink could not guide his team to the final of a big tournament. As head coach, he took charge of Holland who were beaten on penalties by Brazil in the 1998 World Cup semi-finals and he also suffered defeat in the semi finals with South Korea against Germany at the World Cup 2002, with PSV against AC Milan.