MX23RW : Tuesday, September 18 16:06:14

On this day: 10-man Chelsea reach Champions League final

On this day in 2012, Chelsea came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Barcelona at Camp Nou to reach the Champions League final.

Chelsea went into the second leg of their Champions League semi-final with Barcelona at Camp Nou in 2012 with a slender 1-0 advantage over the Catalan giants after Didier Drogba had netted a close-range effort in a tight encounter at Stamford Bridge.

However, the Blues were expecting a Barcelona backlash on their trip to Spain, and caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo opted to stick with the same starting lineup that had performed efficiently to keep a clean sheet in West London.

Lionel Messi squandered an early opening for the hosts when he fired into the side-netting when he should have at least tested Petr Cech, but moments later, the Blues were rocked when Gary Cahill picked up a knock and was replaced in defence by Jose Bosingwa.

Barcelona were in the ascendancy but the Premier League outfit looked threatening when they took the direct route and targeted Drogba, but on two separate occasions, the Ivorian's attempt on goal lacked power and direction.

Pep Guardiola's side levelled the tie on aggregate after 35 minutes when Dani Alves and Cesc Fabregas combined to create a chance for Sergio Busquets, who converted the routine opening given to him from six yards out.

Chelsea's defender John Terry receives a red card from Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir during the UEFA Champions League second leg semi-final football match Barcelona against Chelsea at the Cam Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 24, 2012© Getty Images

It soon went from bad to worse for Chelsea when John Terry was handed a straight red card. The skipper was dismissed for aiming a knee at Alexis Sanchez off the ball, leaving the Blues with their backs against the wall against a Barcelona side ready to capitalise.

The immediate aim for Chelsea was to prevent Barcelona adding a second goal before the break, but with two minutes remaining, Camp Nou erupted when Messi played in Andres Iniesta, who slotted the ball past the helpless Cech from 10 yards to put his team in full control of the tie.

However, after receiving a caution that would keep him out of the final, Ramires was released down the right before nonchalantly chipping the ball over Victor Valdes to give his team a crucial away goal that would send them through to the final in Munich if the score remained the same at full time.

As expected, Chelsea were soon under fierce pressure when the second half got underway, and within three minutes of the restart, Barcelona won a penalty after a clumsy challenge from Drogba on Fabregas, leaving Messi with the chance to break his scoring duck against the Premier League outfit.

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi misses a penalty shot against Chelsea's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech during the UEFA Champions League second leg semi-final football match Barcelona against Chelsea at the Cam Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 24© Getty Images

The Argentine stepped up confidently but his powerfully struck spot kick thudded off the crossbar and bounced to safety, much to the surprise and dismay of the home supporters.

Chelsea camped inside their own half, aware that any kind of attacking ambition could see Barcelona strike on the break, and with little support, Drogba attempted the most audacious of efforts when he volleyed the ball towards goal from the halfway line, only for Valdes to claim easily.

Branislav Ivanovic also sent a header wide from a corner, but for the remaining 25 minutes, it would be one-way traffic as John Obi Mikel and Ramires made goal-saving blocks to keep Chelsea in the tie.

Busquets sent another shot skywards as Chelsea took the game into the final 10 minutes, with Di Matteo deciding to withdraw the tiring Drogba for Fernando Torres, who was told to occupy a position on the left flank rather than his trademark striking role.

Chelsea's Spanish forward Fernando Torres celebrates with teammates midfielder Frank Lampard and Brazilian midfielder Ramires after scoring during the UEFA Champions League second leg semi-final football match Barcelona against Chelsea at the Cam Nou stad© Getty Images

The onslaught from Barcelona continued, and with seven minutes left, Messi struck the post with a low drive from the edge of the area, before Cech was forced into action to turn away a shot from Javier Mascherano as the match entered added-on time.

The La Liga outfit threw everyone forward in an attempt to score a match-winning goal, but in doing so they were susceptible to a counter-attack, and in remarkable circumstances Chelsea scored their second of the night to book their place in the final.

Ashley Cole's clearance found Torres on the left, who, after expertly bringing the ball down, ran more than half the length of the pitch towards Valdes's goal before rounding the Spanish stopper and tapping the ball into the empty net to cap off a memorable night for Di Matteo and his team.

The final saw Chelsea - minus Terry, Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles through suspension - face Bayern Munich at their home ground, but after he saved his team with a late equaliser, Drogba finished his Blues career with the winning spot kick in the penalty shootout to earn Chelsea their first Champions League trophy.

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Chelsea's Ramires and Atletico's Gabi battle for the ball during the Champions League semi-final first leg match on April 22, 2014
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea55001441015
2Liverpool5500112915
3Manchester CityMan City54101431113
4Watford5401105512
5Bournemouth5311107310
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs530210649
7Arsenal530210919
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd53028809
9Wolverhampton WanderersWolves52215508
10Everton513189-16
11Leicester CityLeicester520389-16
12Crystal Palace520346-26
13Southampton51226605
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton512279-25
15Fulham5113712-54
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham5104511-63
17Cardiff CityCardiff502339-62
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield5023211-92
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle501448-41
20Burnley5014310-71

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