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Euro Matchday: Chelsea-Barcelona

The second leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal between Chelsea and Barcelona kicks off today at around 2:45 p.m. ET. After a scoreless tie at Nou Camp, the sides face each other again at Stamford Bridge in London. Can Barca replicate its exquisite La Liga performance at Real Madrid? Will Chelsea join Manchester United in Rome and make it an all-England final? (Personally, regardless of the participants, I'd prefer to see two different leagues represented in a continental final.)

From the Times of London:

Barcelona represent everything that is good about the game. They play beautiful football, with quality oozing from the fantastic feet of Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta and Lionel Messi, all graduates of the Cantera Barcelonista, the club's phenomenally successful youth academy. The club are owned by their supporters, another Utopian vision, and, having historically renounced shirt sponsorship, they now bear the name of Unicef on their shirts. In a game that often seems to have been devoured by greed, Barcelona stick out like a sore thumb. They are truly a class act.

Read the complete column.

Your options:

English TV: ESPN2 at 2:30.
Spanish TV: ESPN Deportes at 2:30.
Delayed TV Coverage: ESPN Classic at 5, Setanta at 9.
Online Video: ESPN360.
Online Updates: UEFA's gamecast.

Please post your pregame, in-game and postgame thoughts in our comments section.

By Steve Goff  |  May 6, 2009; 12:47 PM ET
Categories:  England , Euro Champions League , Spain  
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Comments

Chelsea score first, Barca equal and go through...

Posted by: JkR- | May 6, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Not only do Barca wear the name UNICEF on their jersey, they pay the charity for the right to do so...

Posted by: teo_68 | May 6, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

No doubt this is a world class franchise. I hope they don't pick up a sponsor in the future. I'd like it if they stuck with Unicef, continue to donate, and make appearances on behalf of Unicef. Classy classy move.
Now lets just hope we pass thru tonight!

Posted by: doh1 | May 6, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Barcelona deserves to be in the final.

Chelsea deserves to lose 7-0.

Posted by: Reignking | May 6, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"We do not want to blame anyone individually. In three minutes we conceded two goals and it was too much. from BBC after losing to Manchenster United. I wonder what TS would have said!

3-1 to beautiful footballers.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | May 6, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

FC Barcelona donates 100% of its profits to charity. Camp Nou is built using recycled or renewable materials. Barcelona supporters, not only do they recycle 100% more than they dispose, they also consume less, ride bicycles to work, and leave a smaller carbon footprint. Their children can read by the age of two, in four different languages and will all work for Medecins Sans Frontieres of UNHCR.

Sheesh. Give me a break.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 6, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"or" UNHCR

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 6, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

They also bike to work uphill both ways.

Posted by: EssEff | May 6, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

While carrying the elderly on their backs.

Posted by: Kenobi | May 6, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Barcelona is just like Chelsea, they both by the best players, because they have the money. What would these teams look like if they had a payroll like

Villareal or Aston Villa?

Lets not paint Barca to be Mother Teresa either please. They do however play some great futbol, lets see which team shows up today. I personally think that the Messi that played in Bolivia will show up. Chelsea wins 2-1

Posted by: Norteno4life | May 6, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

My team having secured a place in the final yesterday, I'm hoping for a long, tedious game that exhausts both teams. Actually, I'm hoping for a Barca win. I'd love to United and Barca play attacking football rather than another Chelsea park the bus and hope for penalties match.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | May 6, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

F.C. Barcelona, the organization, can be as ruthlessly competitive and amoral as any other wealthy soccer club. Check out the following Guardian article for more information about their flirtation with a Central Asian dictatorship:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2009/mar/15/bunyodkor-uzbekistan-rivaldo-craig-murray

F.C. Barcelona, the 2008-09 soccer team, is a joy to watch. Best of luck to them against Chelsea.

Posted by: SSMD1 | May 6, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

What, you don't think Mother Theresa would hire Rafael Marquez? He is indeed a "truly class act," no?

Do they keep score when Barcelona plays, or in those games does FIFA simply have a panel judge the "artistry" as in rhythmic gymnastics?

Posted by: OWNTF | May 6, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

yes, for all the talk about Barca and 'doing things the right way' let's not forget their top three sponsorship deals with Coca Cola, Audi and Nike don't include a local firm. their major local sponsor? the Catalonian television station, funded by tax dollars.

of course, they also bought Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o fpr 24 million Euros apiece. roughly equal to what Man Utd, those cash hogging devils, spent in the same time period on Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney. People don't seem to mention that Barca and Real Madrid spend money like drunken sailors just like the Big Four do.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | May 6, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

BlackandRed: but Man Utd won't play true attacking Barca ball against them either. They will not bunker quite as much as Chelsea has, but their strength comes from the counter as well. and counter they will. Personally, I think Chelsea has a better shot of stopping Man Utd than Barca do (can you imagine what the Rooney-Ronaldo-Tevez-Berbatov axis will do to the Barca defense?)

Posted by: joshuaostevens | May 6, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Did someone say the final is in Rome?

We are the new gods
same as the old gods
we'll take all your blood
and turn it into mud
as Rome burns
one by one
two by two
together they ride
side by side
into love
together they die
and still they want to weather the tide
as Rome burns

Sorry for stealing your gig, joedoc.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | May 6, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Come on Barca!

Posted by: DadRyan | May 6, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Not at all, BaRRD!

Essien!

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 6, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Ugh...looks like Chelsea is hunkering down after the goal and playing for 1-0. I think they have about a dozen players back in their box on defense right now.

Posted by: icehippo | May 6, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

My worst nightmare, Chelsea going up early. Still, I'll be able to catch the 2nd half, and it looks like it will be good.

Posted by: Reignking | May 6, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Chelsea unlucky not to get a penalty, twice.

Posted by: RedDevil1 | May 6, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Is Messi playing tonight? Talk about invisible.

Apropos of nothing, does Messi remind anyone else of Sidney Crosby, or is it just me?

Posted by: icehippo | May 6, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Messi had a pretty impressive run there at the end -- even amidst the tress of the Chelsea defense. Would be thrilling to see Barca tie it up in the 2nd half, but...

Posted by: fischy | May 6, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Barca 61% of possession...

Posted by: Reignking | May 6, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Barca halftime stat: They've completed 83% of 299 passes, at the half! Chelsea 105 some passes 70 some %.

How do you defend that without numbers back?? Barca's players are so much quicker to read the passing lanes and move into open space, it's unnerving.

You can't have 3 forwards in Barca's half filing their nails waiting for the ball, it won't arrive.

Chelsea's tactics, such as they are, may win this game.

Posted by: JkR- | May 6, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I think Barca needs to buff up the spine a little. Get a monster destroyer in the midfield, beef up their defenders. That's if they want to stay in the game against Premier League powerhouses.

That was also the trouble with Arsenal. Song is talented, but can't handle all the defensive respsonibilities while Fabregas and Nasri create.

Oh well. Attacking soccer only exists, at this level, on the counter attack.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 6, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Drogba - the new C. Ronaldo.

It's as if the penalty area is a pool of water for him.

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 6, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

This is the most frustrating match I've watched in a long time.

Posted by: DadRyan | May 6, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

When the trainer comes out and asks Drogba where it hurts -- does he have an answer?

Posted by: fischy | May 6, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Drogba should get a freaking daytime Emmy for his performance today.

Posted by: DadRyan | May 6, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

It's a red one.

Barcelona, a goal down and a man down.

Posted by: sitruc | May 6, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

That is the only red card I've ever seen issued where the defender, literally, never touched him.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 6, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Anelka just beat out Drogba for that Emmy...

Posted by: icehippo | May 6, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

If this stands, I won't have to worry about taking the afternoon of the 27th off :-(

Posted by: Kev29 | May 6, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

THAT is a red card? really? I need to see a few more replays.
I want to see more replays, but I didn't see how that could have been a red card. Was there even contact?

Posted by: sitruc | May 6, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Fact: the best team doesn't always win.

Fact: today, the best team won't win.

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 6, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

This ref has been awful, awful, awful for both teams.

Missed penalty calls and a bad red.

Posted by: RedDevil1 | May 6, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Messi needs to dribble penetrate the 18, take a hit and go down...

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 6, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I would have made that free kick.

C. Ronaldo

Posted by: OWNTF | May 6, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

And another penalty not called, awful call.

Posted by: RedDevil1 | May 6, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Via radio - sounds like the ref is having a nightmare of a match

Posted by: Kev29 | May 6, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

This ref has been awful, awful, awful for both teams.
Agreed. Nice handball.

Posted by: sitruc | May 6, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

meh, Ref's been fine. Lot of whining from both sides.

Posted by: JkR- | May 6, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Super, looks like another "thrilling" Chelsea/Man U match like last year's Moscow bore fest.

Both teams played not to lose last year.

Posted by: delantero | May 6, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

Posted by: Kev29 | May 6, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

OH MY GOD YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: DadRyan | May 6, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Fact: the best team doesn't always win.

Fact: today, the best team won't win.

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 6, 2009 4:15 PM

Oops...

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 6, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

The sound of broken Chelsea hearts is good.

Posted by: sitruc | May 6, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

No Joedoc1, you were right.

Posted by: RedDevil1 | May 6, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Not requesting the afternoon off just yet....

Posted by: Kev29 | May 6, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The final that the world deserves

Posted by: Kev29 | May 6, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Cruel, cruel but that's football.

Barca were never the better team tonight.

Posted by: RedDevil1 | May 6, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Quite a display. That ref appeared to get almost every call wrong.

Posted by: fischy | May 6, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Sweet! VAMOS BARCA!

Posted by: delantero | May 6, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Weren't expecting that, were you?

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 6, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

RedDevil, I think a statistical argument could be made that Barca was the better team. Interested in your thoughts why you think otherwise. You may change my mind...

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 6, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Red Devil -- a great piece of skill to win it. The one decent ball Alves hits all night -- stays alive for Messi to plays it to Iniesta, who takes Barca's first good shot of the night...and it's decisive. Chelsea were the the better side, but couldn't finish their chances.

Posted by: fischy | May 6, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Does Tommy Smyth even watch the games he calls?

Posted by: teo_68 | May 6, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Look how happy Pep was, running down the sideline, amazing!
Bye bye Chelsea

Posted by: StewartDC8 | May 6, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

So much possession and are only able to make 1 shot on goal. No arguing that they made it count. However, they clearly had no other game plan tonight other than just attack, attack, attack.

Chelsea should have put their chances away, as well as getting 3 penalty calls.

Posted by: RedDevil1 | May 6, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Drogba with the postgame yellow...

Posted by: sitruc | May 6, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Look how happy Drogba was running across the field to congratulate the referee...

Posted by: fischy | May 6, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Taxi from Stamford Bridge to Heathrow - £30 pounds.

First class flight to Moscow: £1,200

Not having to deal with Abramovich: Priceless

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 6, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Drogba on the verge of assaulting the referee after the match - and was booked (which is always kind of funny to me - showing a yellow after the fact).

Chelsea fans a bit rambunctious on their way out as well. Nothing makes me happier than those miserable f*cks hating life (full disclosure: I support QPR)

Posted by: Kev29 | May 6, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

It's inonic that the red card was the one call the ref blew in Barca's favor. Both handballs should have been called. Anelka was taken down in the box, and the jersey tug could have been called a penalty, too (was that Drogba?). Plus, Drogba had a golden chance, followed by Malouda's miss. This game could have been a rout, but miraculously Barca was still in it wit hthe chance to tie in the end.

Posted by: fischy | May 6, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I love the away goal tiebreaker rule!

Chelsea dominated almost the entire game and probably got some bad breaks from the ref (there were tricky decisions both ways but Barca seemed to get more benefit overall in spite of Abidal's sending off).

I like how, once every blue moon, a team will go from defeat to victory thanks to a last minute goal and the away goals tiebreaker. Good entertainment and suspense but heartbreak for the losers.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | May 6, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Chelsea fan just said "f-ing c(word)" live on BBC London. It's all happening in London tonight!

Posted by: Kev29 | May 6, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

So happy I skipped outta work to catch the 2nd half :)

Wow, what an awful red card to Barca. Barca can't cross, wasn't making any penetrating runs, and just danced with the ball and eventually would put it out wide.

There was one clear handball on Barca, too, that should've been a PK.

Posted by: Reignking | May 6, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Taxi from Stamford Bridge to Heathrow - £30 pounds.

First class flight to Moscow: £1,200

Not having to deal with Abramovich: Priceless

Posted by: I-270Exit1

Tube ticket to Fulham Broadway: £4

Pint at the Butcher's Hook: £3.60

Watching Chelsea scum slump out after a 90th minute equalizer: Priceless!

Posted by: Kev29 | May 6, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

That handball no-call was small consolation for that "He was three yards from him" red card. Granted, should have been a PK, but you clearly have to give it up to Barca for pissing Chelsea off.

Although if you're howling, wonder what shirt you were wearing?

Chelsea played anti-football for the first game, and it came back to bite them in the ass. :):):) Love this game.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 6, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

A shame. Chelsea were wasteful in front of the goal tonight, otherwise it never would have been in question.

Good luck to Barca, they will need it against ManUre.

Posted by: Eric_in_Baltimore | May 6, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

There's nothing uglier than Liverpool and Barca schadenfreude over Chelsea pain. You all are fairly disgusting.

Posted by: Eric_in_Baltimore | May 6, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Ronaldo v. Messi

Posted by: OWNTF | May 6, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Should be a grand final...though Barca's back line may be a shambles.

Posted by: fischy | May 6, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I have no particular love or hate for any team in CL -- all I care about is an exciting game and quality football. It could be a team from Turkey with nine consonants and a Dutch team with nine vowels, for all I care. I just want the game played well.

I think Barca vs Man Utd will not disappoint.

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 6, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Nice call JkR-

Posted by: DadRyan | May 6, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

ok, how was this not an exciting game? the last 8 minutes was pure mayhem. if that wasn't exciting, then you aren't alive.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | May 6, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey VBB! someone from Baltimore called us "disgusting." You wanna handle that one?
:-)

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | May 6, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

If Drogba really wanted to stick it to UEFA, he could match whatever fine he'll most likely wind up paying with an equal-sum donation to a refereeing school somewhere. :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | May 6, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

If they throw a fine at him, he'll pick it up and throw it back, just like he did that coin.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | May 6, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

No. Shadenfreude would be the majority's opinion of Freddy Adu. When it's the big guy, Tis allowed.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 6, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

I'll say this for Mr Center Ref: he was quite consistent in not awarding a penalty. It became apparent you were going to have to remove someone's liver in the box, and go all Hannibal Lecter to get a PK in this match.

I'm purely guessing, but he may have had a poor angle on the Pique handball, and could have used some help from his AR to see just how wide Pique's arm was away from his body.

And thanks, Dadryan (See first post ;) )

Posted by: JkR- | May 6, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

@ JkR -- what's his excuse for the Toure handball, then? He was no more than 5 feet away, right in line with the defender. Maybe he was too close, and didn't see the defender throwing up his arm as he turned his back to Ballack?

The deed is done, but Chelsea fans will rightly curse this referee for years to come.

Posted by: fischy | May 6, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Now the world's best football player verses second best world football player! Wow...mouth watering already.
I thought German ref are better than anyone I see most.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | May 6, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

@ JkR -- what's his excuse for the Toure handball, then?

------------

As I said, he seemed to be determined not to award a penalty. It was hardly stone cold.

Torsten Frings, 2002, should have taught us all how variable the handling call can be...

Posted by: JkR- | May 6, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

chelsea didn't deserve to win today, they played their usual horrible football, the only penalty that could've gone their way was the handball by pique but if the refs don't see it they can't see it and you can't complain.

the red was debatable but again, i don't necessarily blame the ref.

chelsea lost today because after they scored they parked their bus in front of cech and drogba and anelka just kept falling like there was a trip wire on the line of the box. after 92 minutes barca finally figured out how to unlock it and had some luck.

dani alves played HORRIBLY today, he squandered every time the ball came to him and barcelona were playing the ball to his flank too many times. it's telling their goal came from the opposite flank from alves.

Posted by: joelrosado | May 6, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

and it was an incredibly exciting game, i was screaming joy for over 5 minutes after iniesta's goal. i support espanyol in la liga but nothing can beat watching chelsea lose


drogba is a very physical and strong striker, he may have gotten a penalty if he didn't overact everytime he was barely touched

Posted by: joelrosado | May 6, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone really wan a Man-U Chelsea final. This will be one amazing game.

Posted by: Conservativemindsareinshackles | May 6, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Dani Alves had the worst game I've ever seen him play before. The crosses were way off, his set pieces weren't that dangerous. On the goal they scored, its thru he started it with is cross, but it was WAY overcrossed to the point that Eto had to chase it down. And don't even get me started on Alves' defense today. HORRIBLE. He had to foul in order to defend since he was out of position. No friggin wonder they hate him in England and booed the hell out of him every time he touched the ball. In honesty, he deserved it.
But barca plays best when he's involved. Just not like he was today. Today he was a liability.

Posted by: doh1 | May 7, 2009 3:30 AM | Report abuse

A truly amazing outcome. I think Chelsea lost their concentration at the end and let down their guard, which you obviously can't do against a squad like Barca.

Despite the controversy about the ref (and why use a Norwegian ref instead of one of the best refs from Germany or Italy?) the behavior of Drogba (and to a lesser extent Ballock and some of the others) warrants significant punishment.

The final should be a lot of fun.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | May 7, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

That match makes MLS referees look pretty good.

Posted by: granadoskerry | May 7, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

cuauhtemoc blanco thinks this ref was also worth the shirt on his back

Posted by: doh1 | May 7, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

The article in the Times was pretty darn good and even handed, though it did take away a little from chelsea.

As for the outcome of the game...well, it wouldn't be a CL semi final without controversy.

The ref certainly wasn't very good...but he was consistent. Based on what decisions he made, it would seem that he decided before the game that an unintentional handball should not merit a penalty kick. For better or worse, that was his decision and he stuck with it. The redcard on Abidal was strange, as it looked like Anelka tripped over himself.

It would have been nice to see a better game, but at least it was exciting.

I have no idea what Barca's gameplan was. They played horribly. I only saw a good game from Valdez, Pique, Iniesta, and Xavi. Keita and Alvez had the worst games of their lives.

Chelsea certainly had a better game and should have put away more of their chances.

It looked a bit like Barca were out coached.

Posted by: bigbadbri | May 7, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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