May 26 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Champions League final: Chelsea 1 Bayern Munich 1 (Chelsea win 4-3 on penalties)
In a sensational penalty shoot-out, Cometh the hour, cometh the man and that man was Didier Drogba who won the cup with the big ears for the Londoners for the first time in their history.
The Ivory Coast hitman, in what could be his last kick in a Blues shirt, stepped up as the fifth man to coolly stroke his right footed shot past a hapless Manuel Neuer to the delight of the thousands of Blues fans in the Allianz Area in Munich.
The Blues went one down in the game and came back, they went one down in the penalty shoot-out and came back. They even saved a penalty and came back.
This team are the comeback kids and now sit proudly at the top of the European pile.
In the dramatic final kick, it was the german side through Lahm who scored first to put Bayern one-nil up, Juan Mata then missed as Neuer saved easily. Next up was Gomez who dispatched the ball confidently past Cech as the tension mounted.
David Luiz, then took a long run up and smashed the ball home to grab back some confidence.
Goalkeeper Neuer then stepped up to face Cech and tucked his shot just under Cech’s body to restore their lead. Lampard was the third Blues player to take the long walk up and rammed the ball home, straight down the middle.
But Bayern had to miss to bring the Blues back into the game, and Cech miraculsy clawed Olic’s shot away.
Cole, Man an of the match for Chelsea then slotted home to level the score at 3-3. Schweinsteiger was the last of the five for the home side and he clipped the post to give Chelsea just one kick away from the title..
Drogba then produced one last kick and the ball beautifully edged past Neuer and the whole of England with the exception of Spurs supporters, jumped for joy.
Five players survived from Chelsea’s last outing in Moscow four years ago against Manchester United when Chelsea lost in equally dramatic fashion.
The inclusion of 22-year-old Ryan Bertrand to play left of midfield merely emphasised the paucity of options following the suspensions of John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Meireles.
Cary Cahill and David Luiz were deemed fit enough to start despite not playing for several weeks due and hamstring injuries.
And it was Cahill who was the first to be tested but his fine interception of a Bastian Schweinsteiger shot would have done his confidence a power of good.
The Germans, playing in their home stadium, were understandably quick off the mark, but the Blues were tactically aware and settled down well behind the ball, although when they had the ball, they tended to give it away cheaply.
A fine left wing cross by Franck Ribéry on 13 minutes found the head of Mario Gomez, but the striker, who got above Luiz, could only direct his header over Petr Cech’s crossbar.
A zippy left-footed volley by Arjen Robben on the edge of the Chelsea area five minutes later was goal-bound but got deflected for a corner.
The former Blue almost scored on 22 minutes but, after cutting through the Chelsea rearguard, the winger’s shot was deflected off Cech foot and onto the angle of post and crossbar and away to safety.
Chelsea’s first foray on Manuel Neuer’s goal came with 10 minutes of the half remaining, when after Cahill drew a foul five yards outside the Bayern area, Juan Mata blasted his free-kick high and wide over the goal.
A minute later and Thomas Muller saw his first-time volley inch wide of Cech’s right post.
The Blues then opened the home side up with a counter-attack that moved from one side of the pitch to another. It ended with a right-footer from Salomon Kalou, 20 yards out, on target, but comfortably held by Neuer.
Gomez should have opened the scoring on 42 minutes but he skied a left-footer from just inside the visitors’ area following a mazy run by Robben.
A couple of heroic challenges early in the second half from Luiz and Ashley Cole set the tempo as Robben and Ribéry forced excellent openings.
A classic turn and volley by Drogba on 50 minutes almost caught out Neuer, but the Ivory Coast striker’s effort from 30 yards inched wide of goal.
Ribéry thought he had scored from six yards out, on 53 minutes when he tucked home from close range but the Frenchman was just offside. It was a let off for the Londoners who continued to look sloppy in possession.
Bertrand’s night ended with 16 minutes to go, replaced by fit again Florent Malouda. It was during this period when the Blues had their best efforts of the half – half chances to be fair, by Drogba and Mata, but nevertheless, much needed respite from the incessant Bayern pressure.
Cech squeezed over his crossbar a deflected byline shot by Ribéry after another last-ditch challenge by Cole.
The left-back was yellow-carded with nine minutes remaining, clipping the heels of Thomas Muller, who, 60 seconds later, climbed above his nemesis Cole but Cech easily saved.
But on the very next attack midfielder Muller found himself free of Cole and headed down towards goal Cech flapped at the ball by his near post but the ball went high into his net.
Chelsea interim boss Roberto Di Matteo instantly replaced Kalou for Fernando Torres in a desperate attempt to get back into the final.
And they did it in spectacular style with 120 seconds remaining. Drogba produced a piece of vintage magic to level the scores. The striker was first to meet Mata’s corner with a bullet header on the apex of the six-yard box and the ball arrowed into the top left hand corner of Neuer’s goal, with the goalkeeper helpless to do anything to stop it.
The Blues had a shout of a penalty in the first attack of extra time, when Torres went down to a Boateng challenge. That was turned down, but a minute later, on 93 minutes, the Blues world was turned upside down when Ribéry was bundled over by Drogba in the Blues area and referee Pedro Proença pointed to the spot.
It took what seemed an age for the kick to be taken Ribéry was given treatment.
Perhaps the time allowed doubts to creep into his mind as Robben stepped up and blasted his left footer towards the corner of the net. But Cech was brilliantly equal to the task and dived to his left to first smother the ball and then hold on to it for dear life.
Substitute Ivica Olic found himself free on the six-yard box, four minutes into the second period of extra time. But instead of shooting towards goal, he tried to send the ball across goal. It would have been the right decision had not other sub Daniel Van Buyten remained rooted to his spot and watch the ball drift away in front of him.
Bayern retained the majority of possession without seriously threatening the Chelsea goal, as the game edged towards penalties.
For the 10th time in European Cup history, the game would be decided by spot kicks and history will record that the winners are Chelsea, kings of Europe.
Chelsea - Cech, Bosingwa, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Obi, Lampard (c), Kalou, Mata, Bertrand, Drogba.
Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, Essien, Romeu, Malouda, Sturridge, Torres
Bayern Munich, Neuer; Lahm (c), Boateng, Tymoshchuk, Contento; Schweinsteiger, Kroos; Robben, T Muller, Ribéry; Gomez.
Subs: Butt, Van Buyten, Rafinha, Usami, Pranjic, Olic, Petersen.
Referee, Pedro Proença Portugal.