Ba-ckup Demba heads Chelsea into the semis to join Madrid

Ba-ckup Demba heads Chelsea into the semis to join Madrid

Ba-ckup Demba heads Chelsea into the semis to join Madrid

They were Ba-ffled, Ba-rraged, Ba-rbequed and Ba-nished from the Champions League. Paris Saint-Germain couldn’t believe it. Like a predator waiting on its prey, Chelsea pounced on Les Rouge-et-Bleus, unleashing their sub-marines into the Blue waters. They delivered a blow of cataclysmic proportions. It was mortal, the Blues seemed immortal.

Having been skinned 3-1 at the Parc des Princes last week, Chelsea needed to score two answered goals to qualify. They did. The first, a poacher’s instinct by substitute Andre Schurrle in the first half, had keeper Salvatore Sirigu rooted to the spot. The second by Demba Ba, as the game was on its deathbed, 88 minutes to be precise, wasn’t just scrappy. It was devastating.

The Stamford Bridge faithful nearly knocked off the roof, what with their decibels headed to the stratosphere. It was deafening. If there was one manager who could have been trusted to turn things around, it was the master tactician, Jose Mourinho. He is intelligent, he could perform brain surgery, when he’s not talking, that is. And he savoured every moment, with his touchline run, reminiscent of the days his Porto team ousted Man United back in 2004.

Chelsea were calculating, they didn’t go for an ambush, for Ezequiel Lavezzi and the pacy Lucas Moura could have ripped them apart. Nevertheless, it seemed like the visitors were content. Overturning a 2-0 deficit may have seemed insurmountable, they could have thought. Then Eden Hazard got himself injured. Bummer. Could it get worse for the home side? His substitute, Schurrle, had other ideas. 1-0 in the 32nd minute. The Blues could dare to dream.

It wasn’t one-way. No. Laurent Blanc’s charges had fashioned chances of their own. Even before Ba’s goal, Edison Cavani had missed a glorious chance, and Petr Cech was busy palming away balls. But yet again, the Blues had their moments too, hitting the bar twice in succession in the second half, from Schurrle and Oscar. It didn’t matter in the end. They were through, into their 8th semi-final appearance in 12 years. Pure ecstasy.

Blanc could be forgiven for replaying Babyface’s words, “How blue can I get? You could ask my heart, but like a jigsaw puzzle it’s been torn all apart…” Les Parisiens hadn’t lost by a 2-0 margin in 110 fixtures. They did so when it mattered most, and a first semis berth since 1994/95 season went up in smoke. Maybe Zlatan Ibrahimovich could have been the difference. He’ll never know. The Frenchman has to conjure another side to march on. That will be in September. We are still in April.

Believe. The word must have echoed throughout the corners of many emotional fans. John Terry had a knock on his ankle but the Captain, Leader, Legend continued to marshal his troops. Willian was always a thorn in PSG’s flesh and David Luiz. The Brazilian defender, playing in an auxiliary position, seemed keen to make amends for his costly first leg own goal. Mourinho may have berated his lack of a clinical strike force, but it was his third choice that saved the day.

Against all odds, Chelsea will be on Friday’s semis draw. Against all odds Borussia Dortmund could have joined them. BVB, who needed to overturn a 3-0 deficit, had their hearts in their mouths when Real Madrid were awarded a harsh penalty at the Signal-Iduna Park. Westfalenstadion was silent. Not for long.

Angel Di Maria slipped and missed from the spot kick in the 17th minute, and 7 minutes later, he would rue that after Marcos Reus took advantage of a defensive blunder to strike the opener for Die Borussien. The second important goal didn’t last long, as yet another Los Blancos error handed Reus a chance to strike again. 2-0 in the first half, game on.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side missed their talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo, who was on the bench. The top scorer this season in the UCL may have been forgiven for thinking of a coaching role in his latter years, what with his reaction when Los Merengues conceded.

That said, a La Decima is still a possibility as Jurgen Klopp’s Black and Yellows depart from the tournament on a high. The storyline is simply getting richer.

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