Amazing comeback lifts Chelsea
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo hailed the phenomenal spirit of his players after they completed the latest in a line of stunning fightbacks to upset Barcelona and advance to the Champions League soccer final.
In one of the most remarkable nights in the illustrious competition's history, a Chelsea side reeling from the dismissal of captain John Terry came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 and seal a 3-2 aggregate win over the Catalans.
Brazilian midfielder Ramires and striker Fernando Torres scored the goals which secured Chelsea's passage to the Munich final after Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta had put Barcelona in the driving seat.
But Chelsea owed everything to a heroic collective effort from a battle-hardened group of players who once again managed to pull victory from the jaws of defeat.
''It was an incredible game with all the events that happened,'' Di Matteo said.
''We've had a difficult season. They always seem to dig something special out when they need to. I think that's part of the DNA of these players.
''Barcelona are the best team in the world - they are amazing. They have some of the best players in the world as well in their team.
''The way we played and defended and we just showed a lot of desire to reach the final and go through.''
Chelsea will face Bayern Munich or Real Madrid in the final with a squad which has been decimated by suspensions.
Terry, given a deserved red card for an off-the-ball challenge on Alexis Sanchez, is automatically out of the final while Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles all picked up yellow cards which will lead to them being suspended.
Di Matteo sympathised with Terry, who will be deprived of the opportunity to atone for the 2008 Champions League final penalty shoot-out miss in Moscow that prevented the Londoners lifting the title.
''Everyone can make mistakes, but we're just delighted that we've gone through,'' he said.
With Terry missing the final in Munich, Chelsea stalwart Frank Lampard is highly likely to don the captain's armband next month. AFP