Lampard's pride as 10-man Chelsea defy odds to make Munich final
23:10 GMT, 24 April 2012
Frank Lampard hailed Chelsea’s incredible fighting spirit as they fought back from two down with 10 men to beat Barcelona and reach the Champions League final despite John Terry’s sending off.
Terry was dismissed in the first half for kicking Alexis Sanchez off the ball and is one of four players who will be banned from next month’s final in Munich against Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.
Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles will also be suspended after they were booked last night, although Ivanovic didn’t realise until he was told by a TV interviewer after the match.
Victory roar: Frank Lampard celebrates Chelsea's progression to the Champions League final
Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta put Barca 2-0 up but Ramires pulled one back with a brilliant chip to give Chelsea the edge on away goals, and Lionel Messi missed a penalty before substitute Fernando Torres made it 3-2 on aggregate in stoppage time to confirm their place in the final at the expense of the side led by Pep Guardiola.
‘It’s one of the finest moments in a Chelsea shirt,’ said Lampard. ‘I know people want to see beautiful football but with 10 men to play for 50 minutes and to be 2-0 down here and to perform like that — what spirit. Unbelievable.
Up against it: John Terry was sent off in the 36th minute
‘That clock wasn’t half slow in the second half. There was a determination about us and you get what you deserve and we were all in it together.’
Terry, who missed a crucial penalty in the 2008 final shoot-out, was close to tears as he left the Nou Camp. Initially, he denied doing anything wrong but said sorry in the dressing room after the game.
‘I have apologised to the lads and I apologise to the Chelsea fans,’ said Terry. ‘I was trying to protect myself but I feel I’ve let them down. I’ve seen a replay and it looks like a red card. I’m not that sort of player. It does look bad on the replay. I did raise my knee. Sanchez was darting in behind me.
‘At the time, I was bewildered, but looking at it on the replay, I’ve no complaints. I’ve let the lads down. They’ve performed brilliantly, so hopefully this doesn’t take it away from the players. This is what this football club deserves. The boys were excellent.’
Pure joy: Lampard celebrates after Torres seals Chelsea's passage through to the Champions League final
Roberto di Matteo had warned his players about their discipline but offered support to Terry.
‘He’s a fantastic leader of this group and captain of the club,’ said Di Matteo. ‘Everyone can make a mistake in life. We are just so happy we managed to go to the final. We are all human beings and all make mistakes.
As for the other suspensions, the Italian added: ‘Let’s enjoy it for a moment, we achieved something incredible and will think about the final at the right time.’
Barcelona dominated possession but Chelsea, having won the first leg 1-0, hung on.
That'll do it: Torres put Chelsea 3-2 up on aggregate
‘Football is like that,’ said Torres. ‘The best team doesn’t always win. We knew that this was what we had to do against Barcelona although at times it is not the most beautiful thing. We used our weapons and it came off well for us in both matches.
‘We have great respect for Barcelona because we know they are the best in the world. For those players who lost three years ago it is a sure way to get even. We have had a bad season in the Premier League it can still end up a memorable year.’
Di Matteo echoed the sentiments. ‘It is an incredible achievement from this group of players,’ said the interim manager. ‘A lot of people have written us off but we showed again what type of character these players have.
Follow me to Munich: Roberto Di Matteo celebrates Chelsea's passage to the Champions League final
‘We didn’t expect to play with 10 men. We knew it would be tough. Barca are a great team and we just showed what we are made of.
‘The Ramires goal was a crucial goal. With the goal the advantage was back with us.
‘The belief was always there, we wouldn’t be in the final if we didn’t believe we could make it to the final.’