Friday, 30 September 2011

Chelseas European Campaign 2011- 2012 #CFC How We Won The CL Trophy

Another Memorable Night in Italy...

Semi-Final 2nd. Leg 24/25 April

 Bayern Won on Penalties (3) v (3) Real Madrid 

Chelsea 3 v 2 Barcelona

 Final-19 May, Munich

Chelsea 4 v 3 Bayern on penalties

The Story So Far........
The draw took place at 4.45pm UK time on Thursday 26th. August
Chelsea Were Seeded in Group E
Group E 
Bayer Leverkuson
KRC Genk

See Latest Group Details Group E

See all Starting Groups 

MatchDay 13 : The Final 

Saturday 19th. May 

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 ChelseaChelsea FC 1v1 FC Bayern München Bayern Munich (4-3 on penalties)


Posted on: Sat 19 May 2012
Moscow seems a long time ago now as the ghost of 2008 was buried by a penalty shoot-out win for the Blues.

We seemed dead and buried when Bayern Munich took the lead after 82 minutes of a game they dominated in the face of some high-class Chelsea defending, but showing the resilience yet again that had taken us all this way to Munich, Didier Drogba netted his ninth goal in nine cup finals with two minutes left to play.
Cech then saved a penalty, given away by Drogba in extra-time, and not converted by Arjen Robben, so 10 more penalties had to be taken to determine the destiny of the European Cup.
It didn't start well as Juan Mata failed with Chelsea's first but Cech saved one and Bastian Schweinsteiger struck woodwork before that man Drogba stepped up to win the competition for the first time for a London club.

Team news
Roberto Di Matteo decided upon Ryan Bertrand in front of Ashley Cole on the flank that Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm attack down for Bayern. The 22-year-old made his Champions League debut. David Luiz and Gary Cahill were fit to start with Jose Bosingwa completing the defence.
Frank Lampard and John Mikel Obi were the deeper midfielders with Juan Mata in front of them, Salomon Kalou on the right and Didier Drogba leading the attack.
Bayern replaced their two suspended defenders with Diego Contento and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, the midfielder deployed at centre-back. Thomas Muller came into midfield.

First half
The pre-match proceedings were loud and colourful with Bayern able to organise their end in a display not possible for visiting Chelsea, but the Blues support were in fine voice and the 'Pride of London' flag travelled with them.
And then it was time for kick-off, Chelsea attacking towards the German side's supporters. Lampard tackled Robben and then Cole went in hard on Kroos to give away a free-kick in the opening seconds.
Inside two minutes Schweinsteiger was booked for a clear handball as Mikel tried to play out from the back and find Lampard.

Bayern advanced on four minutes and Schweinsteiger shot but Cahill stretched out a long leg and deflected it for a corner.
Chelsea's first attack came with six minutes played, a few nervy looking passes leading to a Drogba cross that was overhit. Chelsea kept the pressure on but then Robben broke threateningly, only to sky his shot badly.
Champions League Final
Bayern were dominating possession but without the feeling they were about to break through the defence at any second that comes when Barcelona do similar. Gomez stretching over the top of David Luiz headed a cross over.
On 17 minutes Robben met a Kroos corner with a half-volley but it was deflected for another corner which led to the scariest moment yet when Gomez tricked Cahill, Lampard couldn't get the ball out of the six-yard box and Bosingwa sliced his clearance behind him but into a safe zone.
Twenty minutes had gone and Chelsea still hadn't tested Manuel Neuer. Cech on the other hand had to be at his best to turn wide a Robben shot after the former Blue wriggled past Bosingwa.
Just before the half-hour, David Luiz put an arm across the front of Muller and fouled him. Robben's free-kick was a long way off clearing the Chelsea defensive wall. The former Chelsea man did not have a good night.
Two minutes later we briefly found space and Bertrand, supplied by Mata, took on Lahm but the German international stood firm and made the necessary tackle.
On 32 minutes, Cahill was found upfield by Kalou and drew a foul out of Boateng. It was just outside the area, a bit to the right and made for the left foot of Mata, but the Spaniard shot several yards over the bar.
Three minutes later Bayern missed their best chance yet, Muller found unmarked near the penalty spot by Contento but he volleyed wide. Wayward shooting by the men in red continued as one of the themes of the night.
Suddenly the ball was up the other end and Drogba was battling with the Bayern central defence, only the third time a Chelsea player had touched the ball in their area, but he was crowded out.
It seemed to spark some belief into the performance and Bertrand picked out Drogba who in turn played the ball out wide to an unmarked Kalou. The shot was low and hard and forced the first save out of Neuer.
However as we pressed a bit, Bayern became more of a counter-attacking threat and there was much relief when Gomez shot well, well over when presented with a golden chance.
Second half
The first-half stats had shown 60 per cent possession to Bayern with eight corners to our nil and 13 attempts on goal to just two from the team from London. The options were to hope for a smash and grab or find some way of taking the game more to a side with an unfamiliar defence.
Champions League Final
Ribery attacked and shot after Chelsea lost the ball within a minute of the restart but David Luiz blocked it inside the six-yard box. The Brazilian then got his positioning wrong to let Robben past but Cole saved the day initially and then David Luiz was able to head a shot to safety.
Drogba didn't waste the opportunity to attempt a spectacular on the turn from distance on 50 minutes but didn't trouble Neuer.
Bayern had the ball in the net soon after but Ribery had lashed it in from an offside position. It was a sign though that they were finding increasing space around our penalty area and the defiant Cole needed to be razor-sharp to block Robben's attempt after Gomez had shown good control.
The game entered the final half-hour with Bayern continuing to drag shots wide. Chelsea's attacking potential was diminished by diligent crowding of Mata when he was on the ball.

Cole again threw himself in the way of a shot, this time from Kroos before on 71 minutes, Chelsea broke our shackles and Kalou wasn't too far away at all from making something of a Bosingwa cross. Then Drogba got away down the left and nearly picked out Mata right in front of goal but Bayern cleared for a corner.
Drogba could have made them pay soon after but didn't catch a shot properly. Were Bayern starting to fear the sucker punch?
Malouda had by now come on for Bertrand who seemed to indicate a problem to the bench a minute earlier. RIbery, inside the Chelsea area on the right, shot and it deflected up and dropped worryingly but Cech stretched back and made sure the ball went over the bar. Muller then waited for the ball to fall on his right-foot after an attack started by Schweinsteiger but his shot was a long way wide.
Cole became Chelsea's first booking for a foul on Muller who soon after finally found the breakthrough.
Kroos was allowed to cross towards the far post unchallenged and Muller headed down, able to beat Cech with a ball that bounced up above the Chelsea keeper and in off the underside of the bar. There were 82 minutes played.
Torres came on for Kalou, David Luiz was booked for kicking Robben, and it was hard to see any way back into this game for Di Matteo's men.
But never underestimate Didier Drogba in a cup final. Mata sent an 87th minute corner over towards the near post and the Ivorian thundered a header through the tiny gap between Neuer and his crossbar.
He could have even won it in stoppage time after Bayern gave away a free-kick in a very promising position, but the shot was too high.
Extra time first period
 It was a bright start by the Blues but then with three minutes gone, Drogba unnecessarily caught the heel of Ribery and gave away a penalty. It fell to Robben to try to beat his friend Cech but the pressure told, as it had done on Lionel Messi in the semi-final, and the Chelsea keeper was able to save low down to his left as Robben couldn't find the corner.
Ribery didn't recover from the foul by Drogba and was replaced by Ivica Olic.
Mistakes were increasingly creeping into the German side's play and although they were still on top, the game was less one-sided than in normal time. Further chances at either end were scarce.
Extra time second period
 Bayern really should have retaken the lead two minutes in when Olic was found all alone at the far post and paddled the ball across to Van Buyten, but the substitute hadn't reacted quickly enough to tap in to the gaping net.
Chelsea survived another goalmouth scramble after which Cahill, who played a might game, felt the effect of those weeks out, needing treatment for cramp.
Torres was booked for dissent after giving away a foul as he seeked a last-minute winner but it was to be the gut-wrenching experience of a shoot-out once again.
Penalty shoot-out
 At the Bayern Munich end of the stadium, Cech faced the first one from Lahm and got a hand to it but couldn't keep it out.
Mata then shot too centrally and had his saved by Neuer. Gomez found the bottom corner to make it 2-0 to Bayern but David Luiz scored his powerfully and it was 2-1.
The Bayern keeper took the next one, and beat Cech low to the left so it was 3-1 to the Germans. Lampard roofed his to bring the score back to 3-2 before Olic had his saved by the outstretched arm of Cech and Cole drew the scores level at 3-3 with a crisp strike.
Schweinsteiger was next up and the pressure told as he hit the post, Cech possibly getting a finger to it. So it was there for Drogba to win it and this time there was no slipping on the turf by the final taker as he rolled it into the corner.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bosingwa, Cahill, David Luiz, Cole; Mikel, Lampard; Kalou (Torres 83), Mata, Bertrand (Malouda 72); Drogba
Unused subs Turnbull, Ferreira, Essien, Romeu, Sturridge,.
Scorer Drogba 87
Booked Cole 80, David Luiz 85, Drogba 93, Torres 119.
Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Lahm (c), Tymoshchuk, Boateng, Contento; Schweinsteiger, Kroos; Robben, T Muller (Van Buyten 85), Ribéry (Olic 96); Gomez.

Unused subs Butt, , Rafinha, Usami, Pranjic, , Petersen.
Scorer Muller 82.
Booked Schweinsteiger 1.
Referee Pedro Proença from Portugal.

MatchDay 12 : Semi-Final 2nd. Leg

Tuesday 24th. April 7.45 pm. BST 

Barcalona FC Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea FC Chelsea

Summary There cannot have been many nights more dramatic nor heroic in the history of Chelsea Football Club.
Having gone 2-0 behind on the night and one man down in the first half, we scored in stoppage time at the end of each half to book a date in Munich for our second Champions League Final.
John Terry was the man sent off. Ramires was the first Chelsea scorer with a brilliant goal before Lionel Messi missed the chance to put his side 3-1 ahead when he wasted a penalty.

With the pressure on, substitute Fernando Torres scored a late, late goal on the counter-attack from his own half. The only disappointment on a joyous night is that Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles were all booked and so will join the skipper in missing the Final.

Team news Didier Drogba was passed fit so Roberto Di Matteo named the same side as the first leg.

Barcelona did change however, bringing in Gerard Pique and going to three at the back. Both full-backs at the Bridge were on the bench with Issac Cuenca coming in and playing wide on the right with Cesc Fabregas on the left. The formation was the same as deployed in Camp Nou in the previous round against AC Milan.
First half Chelsea kicked off and had the ball inside the Barça penalty area within 18 seconds, but Cole's pass was too strong for Ramires and Valdes collected.
The visitors were awarded the first free-kick too, for a foul on Mata on halfway.
But then Barcelona attacked and Messi had his first chance with two minutes played. He put it into the side-netting from inside the area.
The pressure stayed on for almost the whole of the rest of the half and there was a problem for the Blues on six minutes when the ball was played behind Cahill to Sanchez. In recovering, the big Chelsea defender slipped and almost did the splits. He needed treatment but after a spell off the pitch, initially continued.
Iniesta lobbed a ball into the six-yard box that Cole booted clear before finally, on 11 minutes, Cahill had to limp off dejectedly to be replaced by Bosingwa. Ivanovic went into central defence.
Barcelona v Chelsea
It wasn't only Chelsea players in the wars. On 17 minutes Drogba chased a Cech kick that bounced high up field and in clearing it, Valdes collided with Pique. Both needed treatment and the Barcelona central defender looked in some distress, but given recovery time he was back in action.
On 19 minutes it was Cech's time to turn hero. A trademark exchange of passes by the home team cut through the Chelsea defence, Fabregas backheeling into the path of Messi, but with the Camp Nou crowd drawing breath to celebrate, our keeper's leg extended and made the save.
There was a rare Chelsea attempt from Drogba at the midway point of the half but on the swivel and from distance, he shot well over.
Barcelona v Chelsea
He was much closer to the target two minutes later after muscling past Pique but lacking support, he took on Valdes from a very narrow angle and could only ripple the sidenetting.
That was the end of Pique's game. The previous Chelsea attack had convinced Pep Guardiola the player was still suffering from his bang on the head and he brought on Dani Alves. They didn't change their shape with the diminutive substitute deployed as one of the back three.
Referee Cüneyt Çakir had given Chelsea no cause for complaint with his decisions so far but he did make Mikel his first booking, the midfielder catching Sanchez with an outstretched leg inside the Barça half.
Three minutes later the home team took the lead. The move was similar to many during the half but for once Chelsea found ourselves outnumbered as the ball was played wide to the left. Messi was out there and he squared to Busquets who side-footed in from six-yard out.
Barcelona v Chelsea
Any chance for consolidation after that set-back for Roberto Di Matteo's men was blown out the water just two minutes later with the straight red card for Terry. The ref decided that the skipper had kneed Sanchez in the back on the edge of the area in an off-the-ball incident.

A tough task had just become immensely harder and Barcelona rubbed home the advantage with three minutes left on the clock before the interval. Meireles conceded possession and Messi was able to slip the ball forward to Iniesta who had run away behind Ramires. The finish was low to Cech's left and for the first time in the tie Chelsea were behind on aggregate.
Ramires was booked too and would miss the Final as well as Terry should the team find a way back from this.
They certainly made a good start in that quest. With just a minute of stoppage time left to play we won the ball inside the Barça half and Lampard slotted the perfect pass through to Ramires. There was no way the Barça defence was going to catch the Brazilian whose chip over Valdes was as exquisite as it was essential to restore belief before the break.
Barcelona v Chelsea
With the score 2-2 on aggregate, it was Chelsea heading to the Final as it stood.
Second halfBarcelona made an alteration to the way they lined up with Alves now wide on the right and Cuenca switching wings. Iniesta had a shot deflected wide after Messi chested down.
Then just three minutes into the half the Blues looked certain to go behind in the tie when Drogba tripped Fabregas inside the area but Messi fired the penalty on to the crossbar. The Argentinian's search for his first goal against Chelsea went on.
Barcelona v Chelsea
If that was good news, Ivanovic's booking in the aftermath of the penalty award wasn't. He joined Terry and Ramires in earning a suspension.
Iniesta was the first Barça player booked for a trip on Drogba, shortly before the Ivorian tried to catch Valdes by surprise with a shot from the halfway line. The only thing caught was the ball by the keeper.
Di Matteo decided on new legs just before the hour, replacing Mata with Kalou, and a minute later Cech was booked for taking too long over a goal-kick. He at least was not facing a ban.
It was all Barcelona pressure and Cech saved from Cuenca after Mikel had lost the ball. On 63 minutes Chelsea broke out of our shackles and Drogba won a corner. Played in by Lampard, Ivanovic got to it first but frustratingly, couldn't send it on target.
The cards kept coming, Messi for a foul on Lampard and Lampard for upending Fabregas. And still Chelsea hung on to our away-goals lead as shot after shot and pass after pass were blocked.
There was no one in the way when the ball fell invitingly for Busquets on 77 minutes but he shot over wastefully.
Two minutes later Torres came on for Drogba who had worked tirelessly up front with his team-mates mostly a long way behind. He had also played his part as ever in clearing opposition corners.
Barcelona did have the ball in the net on 80 minutes through Sanchez but Alves who supplied the cross was offside. Then Messi shot on-target and it was turned onto the post by the finger tips of Cech.
We were inside the final 10 minutes and now every Barça mistake was drawing a frustrated reaction from the crowd. When Chelsea won the ball, we by and large cleared it into the open spaces up the field, although Torres missed one chance to counter attack by taking a heavy touch.
With 88 minutes of the game played Meireles picked up his fifth booking of the campaign for a trip so he too was now suspended.
Cech pushed a Mascherano shot round the post and we were into stoppage time. It was time for the most dramatic of endings.
Barcelona were so committed forward that when the ball was cleared up field by Ivanovic, Torres was in his half with no-one between him and Valdes. He took the ball on and went past the keeper before slotting in, as he had done so many times in the past against this opposition - and it was good night Barcelona!

Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill (Bosingwa 13), Terry (c), Cole; Lampard, Mikel, Meireles; Mata (Kalou 57), Drogba (Torres 79), Ramires.
Unused subs Turnbull, Essien, Malouda, Sturridge.
Scorers Ramires 45+2, Torres 90+2.
Terry 36.
Booked Mikel 31, Ramires 44, Ivanovic 47, Cech 58, Lampard 71, Meireles 88.

Barcelona (3-1-4-2): Valdes; Puyol (c), Pique (Alves 25), Mascherano; Busquets; Cuenca (Tello 67), Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas (Kieta 73); Sanchez, Messi,
Unused subs Pinto, Adriano, Thiago, Pedro.
Scorers Busquets 34, Iniesta 43.
Booked Iniesta 49, Messi 70.
Referee Cüneyt Çakir from Turkey.
Crowd 95,845.

MatchDay 11 : Semi-Final 1st. Leg 

Wednesday 18th. April 7.45 pm. BST 

Barcalona (TippyTapping v Catch'EmKnapping)
SummaryA pulsating encounter at Stamford Bridge sees the Blues head to Spain next week with a slender 1-0 advantage after Didier Drogba's strike late in the first half proved the difference on the night.
It was a remarkable defensive performance by the Blues, carrying out Roberto Di Matteo's instructions to a tee, and while we lived dangerously at times, it was a result our bravery merited in the end.
Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas had gone close to opening the scoring for the visitors in the first half, while after the break Petr Cech saved well from Carlos Puyol. Right at the death, Thiago was denied by the post, but we held on for a famous win.
Ultimately, it was a fantastic result which stands us in good stead for the return leg next week, but our immediate attention now turns to a crucial league match away at Arsenal on Saturday.
Team newsFollowing Sunday's impressive 5-1 drubbing of Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final, Roberto Di Matteo made only two changes to the side which started the game at Wembley. With David Luiz unavailable after aggravating his hamstring at the weekend, Gary Cahill made his first start in the Champions League since the away leg in Napoli, while there was also a start for Raul Meireles, who came in for Salomon Kalou, with Frank Lampard playing further forward. Drogba, so often the man for the big occasion, started up front for the Blues, with Fernando Torres named among the substitutes.
For Barcelona, Puyol, an injury doubt prior to the game, was passed fit and captained the side in central defence alongside Javier Mascherano, who was preferred to Gerard Pique.
First half With the visitors enjoying plenty of possession in the opening stages, Chelsea defended deep and looked to utilise the threat of Drogba on the break, and it almost paid dividends on two separate occasions, firstly when he failed to control a Cech kick, and soon after when he opted to take Puyol on instead of holding the ball up and waiting for support.
The Spanish side's ability to open teams up at will was all too apparent, however, when Andres Iniesta played a ball over the top of the Blues' back-four and Alexis Sanchez raced on to it before lifting his strike beyond Cech, only to see it bounce back off the bar.
It was a frenetic opening to the game, and while Drogba was penalised for a tackle on Sergio Busquets, the home crowd quickly became aggrieved as decision after decision went Barcelona's way.
Lionel Messi had been a peripheral figure for the opening 10 minutes, but a trademark run saw the Argentinian tee up Iniesta whose shot was parried by Cech. The rebound fell directly into the path of Cesc Fabragas, but as the former Arsenal man looked destined to break the deadlock, he scuffed his strike and allowed Chelsea to clear.
The ability of Pep Guardiola's side to retain possession before finding a killer pass was beginning to tell, and Cech had to be alert twice in quick succession to prevent Messi from opening the scoring, while Iniesta felt he was pulled down in the penalty area by Cahill, one of the few decisions that went our way early on.
Xavi, so often the man who makes the holders of the trophy tick, was dictating the pace of the game, with one particular pass seeking out Daniel Alves requiring a last-ditch clearance from Ashley Cole.
While we defended desperately, albeit resolutely, at times, as an attacking force we'd been virtually non-existent , with Victor Valdes not having a save to make.
Three minutes before the break, Mikel lost out to Messi on the halfway line, and as the forward broke at speed, he slipped in the advancing Fabregas to his left who cleverly lifted the ball beyond Cech, but as the away fans began to celebrate, Cole, once again, made a wonderful clearance off the line to keep the scores at bay.
Amazingly, and against the run of play, the Blues took the lead in added time of the first half with our first real attempt. Lampard sprayed it out wide to Ramires, and as the Brazilian fizzed a cross to the back post, Drogba was on hand to force his strike beyond the despairing dive of Valdes to give us a priceless advantage,his fifth goal in this season's tournament.
drogba goal

Second halfBarcelona, clearly stung by that late first-half sucker punch by Drogba, came out for the second half on the front foot, and Cech was forced into an impressive early save from a curling Adriano effort, while Cahill made a fantastic block from a Messi strike.
Minutes later we rode our luck once more when Sanchez fired wide after exchanging passes with Messi, before Alvez blazed high over the bar from an Iniesta cross.
It was Cahill again who brought a roaming Messi run to a halt as the Argentine exposed three Blues defenders, and our January acquisition was enjoying one of his most impressive games in a Blue shirt.
As the game wore on, Messi's influence on proceedings began to increase, and another marauding run required an expertly timed block from John Terry.
Chelsea v Barcelona
Guardiola, sensing an opening, made the first change of the evening, replacing Sanchez with Pedro in a straight swap, while both Ramires and the Barcelona substitute found themselves booked in the space of a couple of minutes for late, albeit fairly innocuous challenges.
Salomon Kalou was introduced to the action with just under 20 minutes, replacing a tired Juan Mata as Di Matteo sensed the necessity for fresh legs in a side who had been overrun for large parts of the game.
Fabregas made way for Thiago with 10 minutes left to play, but it was backs to the walls for the Blues as we came under an inevitable flurry of pressure from the European champions.
Much like the first 45 minutes, there was an impotency about our attacking play, with clear-cut opportunities few and far between, not that the home fans were bothered, as they sung their hearts out, willing their team on.
Cech made a stunning save with five minutes left on the clock, as Puyol flicked on a teasing Messi free-kick which was delivered at pace, making the stop all the more special.
Di Matteo replaced Ramires with Bosingwa in an attempt to shore things up in the closing stages, while Drogba became the second Chelsea player to have his name taken by Felix Brych.
Barcelona looked to have stolen a late equaliser in the dying seconds when Thiago's effort beat Cech, only to bounce back off the foot of the post, while Busquets could only smash the rebound high up into the Shed End.
Chelsea v Barcelona
It was to be the last chance of the game as the Blues recorded a famous victory.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill,Terry (c), Cole; Lampard, Mikel, Meireles; Mata (Kalou 73), Drogba, Ramires (Bosingwa 86).
Unused substitutes: Turnbull, Essien, Malouda, Torres, Sturridge.
Scorer: Drogba 45
Ramires 67, Drogba 85
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Puyol (c), Mascherano, Adriano; Xavi (Cuenca 85), Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Sanchez (Pedro 65), Fabregas (Thiago 78).
Unused sustitutes: Pinto, Pique, Batra, Keita.
Pedro 69, Busquets 75
Referee: Felix Brych


MatchDay 10 : Wednesday 4th. April 2012 


 Frank Lampard opens the scoring for Chelsea against Benfica in the Champions League - 0


It took a late Raul Meireles goal to settle Chelsea nerves after a game that was drifting towards a comfortable if unspectacular home win was brought back to life by an 84th minute Benfica goal.
It was a much stronger performance by the Lisbon club than had been witnessed on their home turf but after Frank Lampard had put his side ahead from the penalty spot and the visitors had been reduced to 10 men by a sending off for Maxi Pereira, Chelsea were well on course for the semi-finals.
Roberto Di Matteo's men should have put the tie beyond all doubt in the second half but missed a handful of good chances and were then punished for poor set-piece defending by a Benfica side that had always carried a threat. Javi Garcia made it 1-1.
Fortunately with the Portuguese outfit committing men forward in stoppage time for the goal that would have sent them into the semi-final, Chelsea landed the sucker punch.

Team news There was just one change from the weekend win at Villa. Ramires, such a problem to Benfica left-back Emerson in the first leg, returned with Daniel Sturridge making way. Scorer in Portugal Salomon Kalou was on the other flank and Fernando Torres continued in attack. Didier Drogba was fit enough to return to the bench, while David Luiz, who came off on Saturday, was able to start.
In contrast, Benfica were missing both centre-backs from the first leg, captain Luisão and Jardel, so Emerson moved more across and Spanish World Cup winner Joan Capdevila came in on the left of their defence. Former Chelsea man Nemanja Matic was handed a start in midfield.
First half Chelsea had to defend almost non-stop for the first four minutes as Benfica, attacking the Shed End containing their fans, started with a high tempo. There were important block tackles from Lampard and John Terry on the edge of our area before we eventually took the ball inside the opposition half.
The Blues won our first corner on seven minutes, flicked on to David Luiz in space who rifled a shot goalwards, blocked well by the leg of Capdevila.
The Blues threatened to cut through the Portuguese side on the break soon after but Mata got his angles wrong in attempting to find Torres ahead of him. Mata had the ball in the net seconds later, but had run offside in the move.
The Slovenian ref wasn't slow to whistle up physical contact and on 18 minutes he produced a yellow card for the first time. David Luiz had anticipated well, nipping between Oscar Cardozo and the ball and receiving a kick on the ankle from the Benfica striker as a reward.
A minute later the ref was reaching for his card again, this time in the aftermath of awarding Chelsea a penalty. Cole had just taken down a lofted ball forward when he was bundled to the floor by the stand-in centre-back Garcia. Bruno Cesar and Maxi Pereira were booked in the aftermath.

Chelsea v Benfica
The keeper went the correct way with his dive but Lampard found the bottom corner with his spot kick. Chelsea were 2-0 up on aggregate with 20 minutes of the second leg played.
Five minutes later, there was more vulnerability at the back from Benfica when everyone missed a Cech long punt . Torres ran clear but wide and then picked out no one in blue with his ball across.
Aimar made it three Benfica bookings for dissent and four overall before his side came close to a goal with that rarest of sights in the modern game, a free-kick routine. Initially played out wide, it was eventually nodded down to Carodozo who beat Cech with his shot but Terry blocked on the line and Ivanovic cleared.
 Chelsea v Benfica
Ivanovic was the first Chelsea name in the book on 37 minutes for a trip on Gaitan after the previously high-standard Mikel and Ramires conspired to give away the ball. The Benfica free-kick that followed was played straight into the Chelsea wall.
The cards kept coming on this stop-start evening and when Pereira slid his studs into Mikel's shin, he saw his second yellow and had to walk early down the tunnel.

Chelsea v Benfica
Ramires was cautioned for a late tackle on Bruno Cesar who was now right-back. Prior to that the Brazilian made what was one of very few first-half Chelsea chances, firing across the area but just out of the reach of Torres and Kalou.

Second half
Three minutes after the restart, Cech needed to produce his best save of the game after Cardozo swung a leg at a bouncing ball and sent it towards the top corner. Our keeper dived, extended one of those long arms and sent the ball over.
A minute later and up the other end, Ramires somehow missed the chance for a Chelsea second after Kalou had deceived Bruno Cesar at the far post and shot for the opposite corner. His Brazilian team-mate slid in and made contact but the player rather than the ball ended up in the net.

Chelsea v Benfica
Torres turned sharply inside the area and looked to have placed his shot inside the post but it was deflected just wide and Kalou headed a Mata cross wide. Chelsea had started the second half much better than the first.
A second goal was coming but Artur saved acrobatically from Mata before Benfica made a surprising substitution, taking off Cardozo and bringing on Oliveira. Chelsea made a sub too, replacing Terry with Cahill. The skipper went straight down the tunnel for treatment.
Chelsea's grip on the half loosened a little when Ivanovic misdirected a header and another substitute, Djalo, had a goal-bound shot deflected wide by Cahill, but then Kalou, who was seeing plenty of ball on the left, should have scored but couldn't beat the keeper from close-range.
Mata was next to shoot wide, having been teed-up by a skilful Kalou pass but although there was more of a goal threat about Chelsea this half, we were looking less secure at the back. Djalo headed a cross just over Cech's crossbar.
On 74 minutes, MIkel spread the play out to Cole who crossed low. Kalou controlled it, spun but shot wide again.
The card count was much reduced in the second half and Cole and David Luiz managed to avoid bookings that would have ruled them out of the first game against Barcelona, but Mikel did pick up a caution for tripping Matic.
On 84 minutes came the Benfica goal. Cech had only just saved well to prevent Djalo heading in but from the corner that followed, Garcia ran unmarked to flick home with his head.

Chelsea v Benfica
Drogba was quickly introduced for Torres in attempt to keep more of the ball but Chelsea had not been the same defensively since Terry went off.
Happily, inside the four minutes of stoppage time that were played, another substitute, Meireles was able to charge from his own half against a depleted Benfica backline, stretched even further by a supporting run from Ramires. The Portuguese international, once again much booed by the Benfica fans, smashed the ball into the net and Chelsea were through.

Chelsea v Benfica
A repeat of the 2009 Champions League semi-final awaits, although this time Barcelona visit us first.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry (c) (Cahill 59), Cole; Mikel, Lampard; Ramires, Mata (Meireles 79), Kalou; Torres (Drogba 87).
Unused subs Turnbull, Ferreira, Essien, Sturridge,.
Scorers Lampard pen 20, Meireles 90+1.
Booked Ivanovic, Ramires 43, Mikel 78.
Benfica (4-1-3-2): Artur; Pereira (c), Garcia, Emerson, Capdevila; Matic; Bruno César (Rodrigo 72), Witsel, Gaitán (Djalo 61); Cardozo (Oliveira 56), Aimar.
Unused subs Subs: Eduardo, Almedia, Nolito, , Saviola.
Scorer Garcia 84.
Sent off Maxi Pereira 39.
Booked Cardozo 18, Bruno Cesar 19, Maxi Pereira 19, Aimar 26.
Referee Domir Skomina from Slovenia.
Crowd 37,264.

MatchDay 9 : Tuesday 27th. March 2012 

BenficaSL Benfica 0-1 Chelsea FCChelsea

Kalou scores
 A stark contrast to the Napoli away game as Chelsea matched the home side, defended well and snatched victory thanks to a second-half Salomon Kalou goal.
Benfica had chances, mostly for Oscar Cardoza, and Petr Cech had to save one well. We also survived a strong penalty appeal for handball by John Terry but we were rarely clinging on and could have scored more. Juan Mata hit the post and went close again late on in a second half that was far more eventful than the first.
Unlike our previous away games in this Champions League campaign, on this occasion one goal was enough as Chelsea win for the first time abroad in 13 months.
Team news
There was a surprise selection at right-back where Paulo Ferreira was given his first action of 2012. Branislav Ivanovic was not fit and Jose Bosingwa was on the bench. David Luiz replaced Gary Cahill in the centre.
John Obi Mikel and Raul Meireles were the deeper midfielders. Kalou came in wide on the left and Fernando Torres was preferred to Didier Drogba in attack.
Benfica made one change from their last Champions League outing, Pablo Aimar replacing Rodrigo as Oscar Cardozo's partner up front.

First half
 Prior to kick-off, David Luiz and Ramires went together to embrace their former manager Jorge Jesus and the Chelsea line-up was not short of players experienced in playing is this stadium, either for or against Benfica. What followed were 45 minutes of football during which the visiting side were pretty comfortable, if short of much goal threat ourselves.
There was danger in the fourth minute with the ball bouncing inside the Chelsea six-yard box and Ferreira not able to reach to clear, but it went wide of Cech's far post.

That moment apart however, it was a safe opening from the Blues who managed to pressure their red-shirted opponents into a few errors in midfield. David Luiz on 11 minutes spotted a gap and advanced before hitting a grasscutter wide of the Benfica goal.
On 14 minutes, Ramires clearly showed he had the legs on the Lisbon side's left-back Emerson, sprinting past to help Torres win a corner that keeper Artur punched away limply.

Benfica v Chelsea
On 17 minutes, Meireles was booked for tripping the flying Gaitan inside the centre-circle and Chelsea failed to mark up properly as the free-kick was taken quickly, but fortunately Cardozo put a chance wide. It would prove to be their best opportunity of the half.
The next shot was by Torres, taking a David Luiz pass on his chest and then hitting the ball on the turn before it bounced. An ambitious attempt, it was well off-target.

Benfica v Chelsea
Benfica midfielder Bruno Cesar was booked for a foul on the advanced Ferreira before there was another chance for Cardozo, a tougher one this time. He was marked by Terry as he headed a cross over. The tricky Aimar had cleverly drawn Mikel and Ramires towards him to make the space for the move.
Benfica were pressing high up the pitch and were beginning to take control. Bruno Cesar fancied his chances from distance but struck his shot straight at Cech.
On 38 minutes Chelsea made an overdue visit to the Benfica penalty area and Torres did well to surge past his initial marker but when he turned back on his left-foot, his shot flew several yards over.
Two minutes later Kalou teed up Meireles for our first shot on-target. Well-struck and swinging away, Artur had to dive to push it away.
Second half
No doubt conscious they had to make home advantage count, Benfica came out for the second-half with a vigour previously lacking. A throw into the Chelsea area wasn't headed far out by Meireles and Cardozo smacked a shot at the Chelsea goal that fortuitously hit David Luiz, back on the goal line. A foot either side of him and the Brazilian wouldn't have had time to react.
The Portuguese side kept the pressure on. Bruno Cesar struck another shot straight at Cech.
There was respite when Kalou went on a run and won a free-kick and then shortly after he nipped in front of his marker but headed a Torres cross over.
The placid first half was quickly becoming forgotten as the contest sprang to life. John Terry had been outstanding in dealing with Benfica's crosses and high balls towards Cardozo but he escaped unpunished on the hour when the ball hit his arm away from his body inside the penalty area, immediately after Cole had acrobatically blocked a shot.
The indignant Benfica would have been even more outraged had Mata scored moments later but instead the Spaniard struck woodwork. The angle had been very tight after the ball ran wide, Mata having beaten the out-rushing keeper to it, but it was still most definitely a chance.
So was Cardozo's on 66 minutes when the striker looked certain to score, meeting a diagonal cross at the far post but Cech doing brilliantly to push it away. Chelsea broke and it took a foul from Luisao to stop Ramires at the cost of a yellow card.
It was time for a Chelsea change, Lampard a 67th minute substitute for Meireles who as a former Porto man received an ear-splitting whistling from the home support. Benfica made two changes including introducing former Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic.
The Benfica fans were whistling again when Terry just about diverted a dangerous-looking pass with an outstretched foot but despite Cech picking it up, no back pass was the Italian ref's verdict.
Ramires had been among the pick of the Chelsea players and he played his part in the winning goal, taking a painful whack in the process as he played Torres in down the right. The centre-forward again showed his goal-making prowess by picking out Kalou among defenders for a close-range first-time finish.

Benfica v Chelsea
The Blues could have added a second on the breakaway when substitute Sturrridge charged forward and found Mata but his attempted chip was too high. Before that, Benfica sub Nolito had shot over.

Benfica v Chelsea
There was still work to do for Chelsea inside stoppage time before the win was secure but as the ball was hammered threatingly into the danger zone, Cole was once again airborne to make a tension-relieving clearance.
Prior to the end, Chelsea's goalkeeping coach was sent down the tunnel by the officials for a touchline misdemeanour, but that was certainly not going to spoil our night.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ferreira (Bosingwa 79), David Luiz, Terry (c), Cole; Meireles (Lampard 67), Mikel; Ramires, Mata, Kalou (Sturridge 82); Torres.
Unused subs Turnbull, Cahill, Essien, Drogba.
Scorer Kalou 74.
Booked Meireles 17,
Benfica (4-1-3-2): Artur; Pereira, Luisão (c), Jardel, Emerson; Garcia (Nolito 80); Gaitán, Witsel, Bruno César (Rodrigo 68); Aimar (Matić 68), Cardozo.
Unused subs Eduardo, Oliveira, Miguel Vitor, Saviola.
Booked Bruno Cesar 25, Luisão 66, Garcia 74.
Referee Paolo Tagliavento from Italy.
Crowd 60,830
 Big calls: Roberto Di Matteo has some tricky decisions to make

Matchday 8 : Wednesday 14th. March 2012

ChelseaChelsea FC 4 v 1 SSC Napoli Napoli 

Chelsea through 5-4 on agg.

MATCH REPORT on a Historic Night

Summary What a night! Plenty of talk before the game was about the possibility of another European classic at the Bridge and that is exactly what those watching enjoyed.
It needed extra time and a Branislav Ivanovic goal to win it but the Blues showed bags of character to turn this tie around.
We went ahead on the away goals rule just a minute into the second half of normal time, Didier Drogba having scored in the first half and then John Terry adding the second - both goals headers.
But then Napoli, who played their part in the occasion with a very watchable style of football, netted to take them back in front on aggregate, only for Frank Lampard to make the tie absolutely level from the penalty spot.
Goals looked possible at either end as the minutes ticked on but happily, it was the Blues who did the business to make the quarter-finals and maintain an English challenge in the competition.
Team news It was a new formation selected by Robbie Di Matteo, a 4-4-1-1 as Chelsea went for solidity with Juan Mata playing behind lone striker Didier Drogba.
David Luiz returned to central defence with Gary Cahill making way. In midfield Michael Essien replaced John Mikel Obi and Frank Lampard dropped back from his advanced role against Stoke, with Raul Meireles suspended. Daniel Sturridge took the place of Salomon Kalou but played on the right flank with Ramires unusually on the left.
Napoli were unchanged from the first leg.
First half Although Chelsea dominated possession at the very start, the game soon settled into the predicted pattern - the home team probing away in front of a well-manned opposition defence but then stretched from time to time by the rapid Napoli attacking play.
Lampard challenged Edinson Cavani hard in the opening seconds but conceded a free-kick on that occasion and Terry sent a header well off-target from a Chelsea free-kick, taken by Mata. The first proper effort was by Sturridge, a shot along the deck that the keeper scrambled past the post.
On nine minutes Napoli for the first time caused trouble for Chelsea, a Hamsik shot deflecting off Terry and needing Cech to quickly shift his weight and save with his legs. Three minutes later the Neapolitan side unleashed just the type of counter-attack that had hurt Chelsea in the first game - Maggio charging into space on the right and firing low to the far post where on this occasion, Cavani shot wide.
It was worrying times for the Blues and Cech was soon asked to save again, this time from Ezquiel Lavezzi after a very good pass had beaten the offside call.
The coveted early goal for Chelsea hadn't come. Midway through the half Ramires did well to take a Mata pass and spin into the area but the reputedly suspect Napoli rearguard was defending well.
It was hard to spot where a Chelsea breakthrough could come from but then Ramires was given the ball out by the left touchline and worked it onto his right foot for a cross. It was perfect for Drogba to head down into the bottom of the Shed End net. We were ahead on the night with 27 minutes played.
Chelsea v Napoli
We could have been ahead in the tie just a minute later had Hugo Campagnaro not reached the ball just in front of Drogba who looked certain to tap in a Sturridge cross.
The Napoli threat remained and Cavani dragged a shot wide after Inler had sent him clear to the frustration of the Napoli fans, but then Sturridge headed not too far wide at the other end.
There was a forced change for the Italian side 10 minutes before the break. Right wing-back Christian Maggio, so lively in the first leg, had not recovered from an early challenge from Ramires whose selection on that wing might have been to use his running against the Italian international. Maggio was replaced by former Liverpool man Andres Dossena.
Lampard was the first player cautioned, for a 42nd minute foul on Zuniga. It was a stop-start, whistled-filled end to the opening period. In stoppage time David Luiz hammered the ball into the six-yard box and Cannavaro stretched to cut it out, very much running the risk of an own goal in the process.
Second halfThe half was barely a minute old when Cannavaro carelessly headed over his own goal to give Chelsea a corner to cue up a time-honoured combination. Lampard placed his set-piece delivery towards the near-post area where Terry was running towards and the skipper flicked the perfect header over De Sanctis and in.
Chelsea v Napoli
Napoli had conceded a third of the goals against them this season from headers and it was proving their Achilles heel tonight. Now they had to score.
Cannavaro was booked for a foul on Lampard but the Napoli response was good as Chelsea were soon asked to do plenty of work back in our own area. We conceded an away goal on 54 minutes when Terry initially headed clear a cross but Inler controlled the ball on his chest and sweetly struck it into Cech's net from the edge of the area. Now Chelsea needed a goal.
Just prior to Napoli scoring, Di Matteo had been about to bring on Jose Bosingwa, possibly to play on the wing rather than at full-back, but that moment had passed. Instead Torres entered the action with just over an hour played.
The Spaniard was soon foraging hard inside the Napoli area and the ball broke to Ivanovic who smashed a shot that the keeper hurriedly blocked. Then after another Chelsea corner, Drogba battled, spun and unleashed a volley that needed the save of the game from De Sanctis to keep it out of the net.
Dossena was booked on 67 minutes for catching Essien on the thigh before Zuniga came off the flank to force another save from Cech. Some of the Chelsea defending was by now falling into the last-ditch category.
At the other end the corners kept coming, each one bringing hope, and there was a scramble after a sliced Napoli clearance when Drogba had headed on.
The Blues kept the pressure on and Napoli cracked, Dossena clearly handling an Ivanovic header and on this occasion it was spotted by a Champions League ref - Felix Brych from Germany pointing to the spot.
Chelsea v Napoli
 Lampard smashed the penalty in to make the scores level on aggregate with 74 minutes played.
The challenges from both sides strengthened. It was a night of blood and thunder, thrills and spills. The Stamford Bridge crowd responded.
With 86 minutes played, David Luiz did well to juggle the ball away from a lurking Cavani and moments later Walter Gargano launched an ambitious effort onto the roof of the Chelsea net. Before the 90 minutes were up, Drogba was wanting a penalty after he and Aronica tangled but this time the ref wasn't interested. Another 30 minutes was to be played.
Chelsea v Napoli
Extra time first half The Chelsea threat in the air continued on unchecked - Ivanovic this time heading a corner a yard wide, but then Napoli counter-punched with a fierce Hamsik volley that went equally close.

Malouda was the second Chelsea substitute introduced, replacing Mata four minutes into extra time with Bosingwa on three minutes later, a forced change due to a Terry injury. Rather than bring Cahill on, Ivanovic moved into central defence. Moments before that switch, Cole had been shown a yellow card for fouling Campagnaro.
De Sanctis in the Napoli goal had done well on the night but completely misjudged a long punt forward by Drogba, running underneath it to allow Torres in behind him, but the angle was always against the Spaniard finding the target.
A minute before the interval Chelsea did go ahead - Drogba the craftsman and Ivanovic applying the gleaming finish. In a tight space, the Ivorian wriggled clear enough to cross low and the Serbian turned it in first time from 12 yards out.
Extra time second half Ahead on aggregate, now Chelsea could play on the counter-attack and Torres made De Sanctis sprawl to save his long-range shot after Ramires had broken forward.

It was desperate times for the Italian side and Inler and Campagnaro were both booked. One goal for them would turn the tie from a Chelsea win to a Napoli one however, and football doesn't get any more tense than that.
We could have made it safe with less than a minute left on the clock after Malouda nicked possession high up the pitch and fed Drogba but he volleyed wide. But the four goals proved to be enough. It was time for 'One Step Beyond' as Chelsea took another step forward.
Chelsea v Napoli
We will discover our next opponents when the draw is made on Friday.
Chelsea (4-4-1-1): Cech; Ivanovic, D Luiz, Terry (c) (Bosingwa 97), Cole; Sturridge (Torres 62); Essien, Lampard, Ramires; Mata (Malouda 94); Drogba.
Unused subs Turnbull, Cahill, Mikel, Kalou.
Scorers Drogba 27, Terry 46, Lampard pen 74, Ivanovic 104.
Booked Lampard 42, Cole 97.
Napoli (3-4-3): De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro (c), Aronica; Maggio (Dossena 36), Inler, Gargano, Zuniga; Hamsík, Cavani, Lavezzi.
Unused subs Rosati, Vargas, Dzemaili, Fernandez, Pandev, Britos.
Scorer Inler 54
Booked Cannavaro 52, Dossena 67, Inler 111, Campagnaro 114.
Referee Felix Brych from Germany.