|Chelsea Defy the Odds to Beat Barcelona and Qualify for Champions League Final|
Chelsea performed the miracle of the season last night at the Nou Camp as they came from two goals down with just 10 men to qualify for the Champions League Final.
Roberto Di Matteo’s men held a 1-0 lead on aggregate from the first leg at Stamford Bridge going into this second leg encounter but were still deemed to be the underdogs as William Hill offered odds of 2/7 on a Barcelona win. Barcelona lined up with a 3-3-4 formation and it was destined to be a game that would see Chelsea camped in their own half.
When Sergio Busquets opened the scoring just after the half hour mark and John Terry saw red for needlessly planting a knee into the rear of Alexis Sanchez, it all seemed a lost cause for Chelsea. Andres Iniesta’s superb strike shortly after Terry’s departure only worsened the situation for the Blues.
However, a wonderful chipped effort from Ramires just before half time saw Chelsea given a ray of hope at the interval. In what was a second half of epic proportions where Lionel Messi hit the bar from a penalty and Barcelona were also denied several times by Petr Cech in the Chelsea goals, Chelsea finally sealed their place in the final when Fernando Torres broke free on a Chelsea counter attack in the dying minutes to score the equaliser on the night and give Chelsea a 3-2 lead on aggregate.
Chelsea had been 12-1 with in-play betting across several bookmakers to get the next goal before Torres struck the decisive goal and it was a night that defied the odds across the betting market. A draw on the night had been available at William Hill at 9/2 and Chelsea were ranked at 2/1 to qualify for the final before kick off.
The bad news for Chelsea is that they must now play the Champions League Final on Saturday 19th May, 2012 with Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Ramires and Raul Meireles all suspended. This has forced bookmakers to favour Real Madrid for the title even though their fate is still undecided.
Sky Bet has Real Madrid listed as favourites for the Champions League title at 13/10. Paddy Power has Chelsea installed as second favourites at 15/8 and Stan James has Bayern Munich available at 9/4. Bayern Munich hold a 2-1 lead from the first leg and face Real Madrid at the Bernabeu tonight to see who will play Chelsea in this year’s final. BetVictor has Real Madrid as favourites to win the tie at 4/6 with Bayern Munich on offer at 11/10.
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