Chelsea FC: Blues advance to Champions League semifinal

Chelsea FC advanced to the Champions League semifinals Tuesday in dramatic fashion.  The Blues entered Tuesday’s match trailing Paris Saint-Germain by an aggregate score of 3-1.  The first match was in Paris, and the lone away goal in the entire contest would prove to be decisive.

Chelsea came into this match after a rough week in both the Premier League and Champions League.  A shocking 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace effectively ended Chelsea’s title hopes last week in their domestic campaign.  Rivals Manchester City and Liverpool are now the favorites to win the BPL.

After that deflating loss, the Blues had to travel to Paris for the first leg of the quarterfinal tie against PSG.  A John Terry own goal and sloppy play spelled disaster for the Blues as they lost 3-1 against the Parisian giants.

Jose Mourinho and his squad had a tall order coming into the second leg of the tie.  Down two goals, the Blues needed to win by two to have any chance of advancing.  Keeping a clean sheet was crucial for Terry and company for this match.

The starting lineup was a fairly typical one from Mourinho.  The only surprise was Mourinho gambling on the slightly injured Samuel Eto’o to lead the line.  Eden Hazard and Oscar lined up wide behind Eto’o, and the trio started the game brilliantly.  Chelsea put pressure on PSG from the beginning and didn’t let off at all.

Andre Schurrle began warming up in the first fifteen minutes, seemingly for Eto’o, but he replaced Hazard after eighteen minutes.  Schurrle has proven himself as a playmaker, but Hazard has been the shining light for the Blues this season.

The Blues earned a free kick in a dangerous position on the left of the box, and Frank Lampard hit a screamer of a shot that was barely deflected past the post by the keeper.

Schurrle, the early substitute, turned hero 32 minutes into the match as he curled in a shot from the middle of the penalty box.  Ivanovic’s throw in was flicked on by David Luiz and Schurrle made Stamford Bridge erupt.

Chelsea’s biggest concern this season has been finding that first goal.  Inferior teams have been able to frustrate the Blues all season by playing to draw.  PSG, with a two goal cushion, was playing a little more defensively than the first match, but the opening goal changed everything.

The Blues were invigorated after the first goal and only needed a second to win the leg.  The defense had been brilliant all game, and a clean sheet seemed realistic at the time for the London club.

The second goal proved to be elusive however.  The Blues pressed on, but to no avail for the first 87 minutes.  Demba Ba replaced Frank Lampard after 66 minutes, and Fernando Torres replaced Oscar after 81.  The latest substitutes would end up combining for the second, and winning, goal.

The Blues had been pressing all night long looking for the winning goal, and Torres was trying to find a shot, but the ball fell to fellow Spaniard Cesar Azpilicueta who fired a desperate shot from outside the box.  The shot was off frame, but it met a sliding Ba inside the penalty box and flew past the PSG keeper.

Jose Mourinho sprinted down half the field to celebrate, and the Blues were three minutes away from winning the tie.  The final whistle blew after four minutes of added time, and the Blues had come back from the dead to advance to the Champions League semifinal.

After seemingly losing both the Premier League and Champions League in a manner of days, this match was a much  needed morale boost for Chelsea.  The Blues will be hungry to win it all, and after winning this dramatic tie they will certainly feel like they have a chance.

 

 

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