Back in Time: 10-man Chelsea sink Barcelona on their road to Champions League glory.

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

On this day in 2012, the Camp Nou hosted one of the greatest upsets in Champions League history, with goals from Ramires and Torres enough to earn Chelsea a 3-2 win against Barcelona on aggregate.

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In the semi-final's first leg at Stamford Bridge, a ground which aptly shares its name with a famous English battle against foreign invaders, Chelsea bravely withstood the Catalonian artillery and secured a valuable 1-0 advantage.


However, Barcelona's spine of Carles Puyol, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi made them arguably the greatest domestic side in world football. Although Chelsea's minor triumph in the first leg offered hope, Blues' fans expected nothing more than a respectable defeat in Spain, especially considering their shaky form all season.


According to the script, Di Matteo's troops were crumbling in the 43rd minute: goals from Sergio Busquets and Iniesta had put Barcelona comfortably in front; Chelsea skipper, John Terry, had been dismissed for an unnecessary knee in the back of Alexis Sanchez; and Messi was having a field day, creating golden opportunities at will.


Step up, Ramires.

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On the stroke of half-time and completely against the run of play, the Brazilian midfielder sublimely converted Frank Lampard's penetrative pass, gracefully floating the ball over Victor Valdes. Ramires' away goal not only restored the aggregate lead, but also twisted the side's fate for the remainder of the game.


The Blues rediscovered the herculean defence they displayed at Stamford Bridge, setting up camp on the edge of their box and bravely denying Barcelona throughout the second-half.


Despite a phenomenal performance at the back without their leader, Chelsea relied on good fortune at times. Messi's wasteful penalty kick crashed against Petr Cech's crossbar soon after the break and the Argentine later witnessed another effort, this time from open play, strike the woodwork to no avail.


Although an unlikely hero at the start of proceedings, it was the out-of-form Fernando Torres who sealed the win for Chelsea. As Barcelona rallied for one final onslaught, they committed too many players forward, leaving a clear opening for Torres to exploit.


The striker collected his side's clearance, charged into Barcelona's defenceless half and coolly dribbled the ball past Valdes' outstretched glove.


Eager not to miss yet another open goal that season, and perhaps channelling Gary Neville's bizarre battle cry from up in the commentary box, Torres kept his composure and sent his team to the final.


Chelsea went on to lift the Champions League trophy that season, after dramatically beating Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties.

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