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Live - Champions League

FT Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona (agg: 1-1)
Barcelona win on the away goals rule



To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111 . (Not all contributions can be used)

By Jonathan Stevenson

2228: I'm being told to wrap up, but I don't know... I've got nowhere to go, nothing to do, not after that. I feel like all the life I had has drained out of me. I'm spent. Thanks for your company, and if you're Chelsea, I'm genuinely sorry. See you again soon.

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From bobbyfletch85 on 606: "I wish our boys had finished the job. They had 25 minutes to get another goal against 10 men - why didn't they?"
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2222: Can anyone believe what actually just happened yet? No, me neither. Maybe we should start the build-up to the final now...

Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink: "We should have had four penalties. As for the end of the game, I can fully understand the disappointment of the players and I will protect them for what they did because they had loads of adrenaline in their bodies."

Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink: "I'm still very disappointed of course, it's not easy to analyse the game when the adrenaline is running. We should and could have scored more, we could talk about the not-given penalties. There were four tonight, and they boys feel, well, it's a little injustice. But in the second half, we should have wrapped it up."

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From Anonymous, via text on 81111: "I suspect none of you holier-than-thou texters and reporters have ever been 30 seconds from the Champions League final for possibly the last time in your career and then had it snatched away, partly by a brilliant team that you've kept goalless for over 180 minutes and partly by the referee, so can we have a bit of a pause before we start the stiff upper lip and a handshake bit? Gutted - practically next to Pique when he swatted away. Unbelievable."

2211: Just to clarify, Barcelona will meet Manchester United in the Champions League final three weeks today, on Wednesday 27 May. But they will be without Eric Abidal and Daniel Alves, so plenty of work still to do for Pep Guardiola.

2207: I think this Didier Drogba story is going to run and run. He stared into a television camera as his team-mates tried to drag him off the pitch at the end, swearing - probably about bad he thought the referee was - and largely going wild. He was booked, but there might be more to follow.

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From djpailo on 606: "I feel sorry for Chelsea. There was talk of no Plan B for Barcelona. Did Chelsea have a plan to get two goals or one? I think that 'settle for one goal' demon has finally come back to haunt them. Barcelona were poor, but they kept going for it. Chelsea brought on Belletti rather than trying to get a second. That's what cost them."
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Barcelona defender Gerard Pique: "When we had 10 men it was really hard, but we managed to score in the last minute and there are no words to describe how happy the team is at the moment. It was enough for us to qualify for the final. When the ball touched my arm I didn't want to touch it, but you have to respect the decision of the referee. It means a lot to play Manchester United, but more because we are in the final."

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From Steven in Middlesbrough, via text on 81111: "Yes, some criminal decisions - but that behaviour was disgusting, such bad losers. One of the things so badly wrong in modern football is this."

2154: Who do you turn to in a situation like this? It's got to be Danny the Stat: "Here's a story that's still being written. Right now, on the Player Rater, Super Goal Smasher Michael Essien is leading the way on 8.40. But fellow SGS Andres Iniesta is languishing on 6.43, behind even the tantrum-tastic Didier '6.57' Drogba. I think this will change over time. Do you agree? Get involved..."
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BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Didier Drogba - whose lack of self-discipline saw him sent off in last season's Champions League final against Manchester United - marched on to the field in flip-flops to launch a senseless and pointless verbal assault on referee Tom Henning Ovrebo after the final whistle. He was still being restrained after receiving a yellow card and was held back as the Norwegian official made his way down the tunnel.

"The mood is already angry here inside Stamford Bridge and Drogba's behaviour does nothing but inflame the situation. He simply cannot help himself.

"Chelsea were on the brink of heading to Rome to meet Manchester United again - but it was always high-risk to let Barcelona have so much possession and they delivered one killer blow two minutes from the end of stoppage time."

2149: Pep Guardiola, who it turns out is a lucky coach as well as a good one, is the first rookie gaffer to reach the Champions League final since Vicente del Bosque in 2000. Aston Villa's Tony Barton in 1982 and Liverpool's Joe Fagan in 1984 are part of a select band now of eight.

BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC Radio 5 Live's Mark Lawrenson: "How the referee could not give a penalty for Daniel Alves' foul on Florent Malouda in the first half I will never, ever know. And the handball in the second half, Gerard Pique, that was a penalty as well."

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Incredible scenes here - with someone appearing to have barged into Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink amid Barcelona's wild touchline celebrations. Heartbreak for Chelsea who had defended so resolutely for so long. Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola lost it completely on the touchline."

2144: That's one of the most unlikely ends to a game I think I remember. Extraordinary. Barcelona didn't have a shot on target until, in the 93rd minute, Andres Iniesta smashed in from the edge of the box. This game.


2142: Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo is being surrounded by stewards and Didier Drogba comes on to wave an angry finger in his face, he's absolutely livid. His team-mates try to pull him away, but he's a big unit and they can't move him. He's waving his arms, flapping, having a go at everyone, and he's booked. Chelsea have been hard done by, but this behaviour is pathetic.


2140: Full-time Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona

2139: Samuel Eto'o is taken off and Sylvinho comes on. 97 is on the clock.

2138: The ball falls to Michael Ballack 12 yards out and he hits a screaming left-foot volley that catches Samuel Eto'o one his shoulder. Ballack wants a penalty and is booked for his protests.

2138: Andres Iniesta is taken off and replaced by Eidur Gudjohnsen. Petr Cech has gone forward.

2137: Chelsea have a corner...


2135: GOAL Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona
It's almost too difficult to explain. Michael Essien's weak clearance is picked up by Lionel Messi inside the Chelsea area, he decides not to shoot and instead picks out Andres Iniesta on the edge of the Blues box, the Spanish midfielder drilling in into the top corner with an outrageous stroke of his right foot. Stunning, heartbreaking finish.

2134: Juliano Belletti turns Seydou Keita and fires a tame shot wide from 20 yards. But with the ball in the Barca half, it's happy days for Chelsea.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Sarcastic applause for the fourth official from Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola as Lionel Messi goes down but no foul is given - it all ends amicably though as he then turns to embrace his Chelsea counterpart Guus Hiddink. You can almost hear the fingernails being chewed."

2133: We're into injury time, and there will be four minutes.

2132: Dani Alves might not be able to get many of his team-mates out for birthday drinks tonight. He swings over yet another cross that is too deep and goes out before the equally disappointing Samuel Eto'o can keep it in.

2131: Pep Guardiola puts his arm around Guus Hiddink on the touchline. Didn't see Fergie and Wenger doing that last night.

2130: Lionel Messi gets a pass from Andres Iniesta and feels he is clipped by Florent Malouda, which he is, but gets nothing from the referee. Not a great performance from this Norwegian official.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Tension is really cranking up inside Stamford Bridge as we enter the torture of the last few minutes. Barcelona are going for broke, but Chelsea's defenders have been putting their bodies on the line all night and keeper Petr Cech is yet to be tested.

"Didier Drogba may have limped off, but he has still got the energy to leap up and berate the fourth official after handball appeals against Gerard Pique are ignored by referee Tom Henning Ovrebo."

2128: Sergio Busquets is taken off, and young Bojan Krkic is on for the midfielder.

2127: It has to be said, Lionel Messi has been poor tonight. He gives the ball away again, and Barca are very quickly running out of time.

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From monkeyCAYMAN on 606: "As a United fan, the referee has given nothing to Chelsea apart from the red card. Four possible penalties, none given - shocking."
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2124: Gerard Pique is a bit lucky to get away with that - Nicolas Anelka dinks the ball around the defender and it hits his arm, but nothing given. Probably should have been a penalty, that.

2122: Dani Alves' cross from the right this time is much better and it's headed away to Gerard Pique, who controls the ball and shoots a couple of yards wide from the edge of the Chelsea box. There are 10 minutes left plus stoppages.

2121: Nicolas Anelka goes down under a challenge from Yaya Toure and the Chelsea fans think it should be a penalty, but a goalkick is given.

2120: Dani Alves lines one up from 25 yards, but it doesn't dip enough and Petr Cech still - with 77 minutes gone - doesn't have to make a save.

Yellow card

2119: Chelsea's Brazilian defender Alex will miss the Champions League final after picking up a yellow card for a cynical kick out at Lionel Messi.

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From Paul in London, via text on 81111: "Both semis ruined by poor refereeing decisions. Where are Rob Styles and Andy D'Urso when you need them?"

2116: Eric Abidal is the first Barca player to be sent off in the Champions League since his manager Pep Guardiola was in 1998.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Barcelona's Eric Abidal is desperately unlucky to be shown a red card for what looked little more than a tangle of legs with Nicolas Anelka - and as Manchester United's Darren Fletcher will tell him there is no comeback even after a refereeing error.

"All sorts of action and conversation on the Barcelona bench as Guardiola works out how to approach the last 20 minutes with only 10 men and still without that away goal.

"Didier Drogba is limping again, not for the first time this evening, but it does look he has hurt his knee. He has been a real physical nuisance tonight but it looks like his work is done."

2114: Didier Drogba's number comes up and he doesn't want to go off, even though he's been hobbling on and off for the last five minutes. He's replaced by Juliano Belletti, a sign that Chelsea want to shut up shop now.

2113: Didier Drogba can't decide whether he's limping or not, but he does look in a bit of trouble. Frank Lampard, meanwhile, sees his deflected shot from just outside the area saved well by Victor Valdes.

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From rony10 on 606: "I don't understand, I thought the referee was in perfect position to see that there was no touch to Anelka. What a shame."
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2111: Frank Lampard drags his right-foot shot wide of the far post. We're halfway through the second half.

2110: Didier Drogba is limping off the pitch, but I'm guessing he might be OK. Barca haven't made a change yet, but Chelsea have a free-kick 22 yards out, slightly right of centre.

Red card

2108: SENDING OFF Eric Abidal (Barcelona)
Didier Drogba flicks on a long ball into the Barca half and Nicolas Anelka gets there first just ahead of Abidal. Abidal may have a slight tug at Anelka, but the striker seems to clip his own heel just before he fell down. Hmm.

2108: Lionel Messi squirms away from Ashley Cole and tries to bend one towards the top corner from 25 yards, but it's a bit high and a bit wide.

2107: Andres Iniesta cuts in from the left again and again tries to play a neat pass, instead of taking a shot. For a man who boshed one in from 25 yards a couple of weeks ago against Valencia, he really doesn't seem to like shooting. Barca, with 100 La Liga goals to their name, are still without a shot on target.

2105: Didier Drogba goes down (no, really) on the edge of the Barca box after a challenge with Gerard Pique, and they both need a little bit of treatment, but they are both fine.

2103: Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta try to play a one-two and the ball ricochets to Seydou Keita, who turns well inside the Chelsea box but skies a right-foot volley plenty over Petr Cech's crossbar.

2102: Xavi sends over another useless corner, this time from the right, straight to a Chelsea player. It's so unlike him, that I'm actually not convinced it is him. Will the real Xavi please stand up?

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From Mike, United fan in Salford, via text on 81111: "I just get the feeling Chelsea need another goal, or else it's going to get very nervy for them. Messi needs to show himself, though."

2059: Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba start their wrestling about 15 yards outside the Barca area and Drogba powers into the area, falling down theatrically as Toure makes a fabulous tackle. Brilliant defending, but Drogba throws his arms disconsolately into the air anyway.

2058: Dani Alves gets into another decent position out on the right, but balloons another cross out of play. The final ball from Barca tonight has been embarrassing at times.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "We are only a few minutes in and Stamford Bridge already senses that this will be a very long second half before Chelsea's fans know whether they can book a trip to Rome. Barcelona are pressing relentlessly but Chelsea's defence are holding firm.

"Some major theatrics and arm-waving from Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola. He is really feeling this, while the vastly-experienced Guus Hiddink looks relatively calm just a few feet away - although there were agonising scenes on the bench when Didier Drogba missed a glorious opportunity."

2055: Chelsea pile forward and Nicolas Anelka tees up Didier Drogba about 15 yards out - the Ivorian turns inside Gerard Pique and he's one-on-one with Victor Valdes, who saves his weak shot with his right leg. Frank Lampard's effort is then blocked, while Florent Malouda hammers another rebound into the side-netting.

BBC Sport's David Garrido at Stamford Bridge: "Amusing banter from the stands - Guardiola is getting so het up in his dugout, and the Chelsea fans to the right of the press box are cheering every over-the-top hand gesture. Now he's got his hands in his pockets."

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From geordiechris on 606: "Chelsea need to get another goal, they just can't rely on Barca continuing to mess about with the ball the way they have been. Sooner or later one of them is surely going to have a decent shot."
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Don't bet on it.

2051: Xavi takes two corners from the left and Michael Essien is twice there to clear the danger. Xavi, dare I say it, has been pretty ineffective thus far.

2049: Shocking free-kick. Xavi plays it in to Andres Iniesta and he lays it off to Dani Alves, who hits the worst shot ever, about 50 yards high and 50 yards wide. Pep Guardiola, usually so placid, is absolutely apoplectic on the touchline.

2048: Andres Iniesta is clumsily fouled by Jose Bosingwa about 10 yards outside the Chelsea penalty area. I think Dani Alves wants this one...

2047: Chelsea get us under way, and they are 45 minutes away from the Champions League final in Rome.

2046: I wonder how long Pep Guardiola will leave Dani Alves on for, now he's been booked and is up against a recently-revitalised Florent Malouda. He's not exactly showcasing his talents as the best right-back in the world today.

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From Adam, via text on 81111: "After all the drama of the Champions League this season, I can't believe so many people are writing Barca off before half-time. This game is far from over."

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From Redgringo on 606: "Barca don't know how to break down a team that defends like Chelsea are doing. The big four have to face it all the time when the 'lesser' teams in the Premier League travel to them."
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2038: Here's Danny the Stat, with some half-time words of wisdom: "You lot = difficult to please. Michael Essien scores a goal which reduced Danny the Stat to tears, such was its beauty. Yet as I dry my eyes, I realise the lad has barely 'scraped an eight' (it'll catch on) on Player Rater, registering a score of 8.05. Still, he is way out in front, mostly fives and sixes elsewhere. Get the teas in, then get involved..."
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BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC Radio 5 Live's Mark Lawrenson: "Chelsea are not comfortable, but it's an intriguing, absorbing game. Barca have had lots and lots of the ball, but at the moment, Petr Cech has not had a save to make. Chelsea will be pleased about that, but I don't think Guus Hiddink will be because they've not been great so far."


2033: Half-time Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona

2032: Jose Bosingwa dallies foolishly on the ball and he is lucky that his clearance deflects off a Barcelona player. Shortly after, the Portuguese redeems himself by stopping Samuel Eto'o from ploughing through.

2030: We're into first-half stoppage time and there will be three minutes of that.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Guardiola and the rest of the Barcelona bench throw a collective fit of frustration as Michael Essien brings down Dani Alves. Barcelona's coach continues to encourage his players with repeated applause, but all the pretty passing patterns in the world mean nothing unless they are actually going to test Chelsea keeper Petr Cech.

"Guus Hiddink will be a satisfied man as the interval approaches - but there is still that real sense that there is further drama to come as Barcelona go in search of that away goal."

2028: Bit better from Chelsea as they earn some possession, but Jose Bosingwa's pass goes astray. Barca again try to play a million passes, but Michael Essien just smashes the ball up the other end of the field.

2026: Pep Guardiola wasn't lying when he said Barcelona can only play one way, that's why they were so poor for so much of last season. They are trying to score the perfect goal and they simply will not go to any sort of Plan B. Playing into Chelsea's hands at the moment.

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From Andy, Manchester, via text on 81111: "Man Utd fan here and there is only one winner of this game! For all Barca's nice passing they just aren't threatening. Chelsea are battering them. When will people learn it's about tactics... well done the English Prem again. Having said that, would rather face Barca in final."

2023: Xavi's pass into the Chelsea area runs out of play for a goalkick. A stray pass, from Xavi. It's like the end of the world. Barca are struggling a bit with their final ball here.

2022: Lionel Messi does Ashley Cole completely down the Barca right, but his right-foot cross into the box is rubbish and Petr Cech gathers easily. He'd normally drive towards the area, the little Argentine - maybe he's nervous.

2021: It's all Barcelona, they must have had 70% of the possession. But they're not doing anything with it - they haven't had a shot on target yet. Lionel Messi needs to show for them.

2019: Frank Lampard is back on having been repaired. Also, boy are Barcelona missing Thierry Henry tonight.

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From Silence on 606: "Appears that Barca haven't turned up, yet again. I'm a bit disappointed. I'd rather meet them in the final than Chelsea but oh well. Real credit has to be given to Chelsea for being on the verge of two consecutive finals."
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2016: Seydou Keita challenges Frank Lampard in the air and Chelsea's midfielder needs a bit of treatment as he is bleeding from the mouth.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is so anxious to make a defensive point to his players that he has to be removed from Chelsea's technical area by the fourth official. Chelsea are getting real joy against this reshaped Barcelona rearguard.

"There is even a little bit of banter between Didier Drogba and the Barca bench as he comes to get a drink. Don't they know the golden rule? Never make him angry.

"Superb game so far, and unlike the no-contest between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates last night, a real battle between two quality sides."

2014: Daniel Alves is booked for a foul on Ashley Cole and on his 26th birthday he will be ruled out of the final, should Barcelona make it.

2014: Lionel Messi goes on his first mazy run down the right and skips past a couple of tackles - the ball ends up with Andres Iniesta down the left, but he cuts in and fires high, wide and not so handsome.

2011: Didier Drogba fastens on to another ball into the Barca area and falls under a challenge from Eric Abidal, who does have some of the Ivorian's shirt in his left hand. Seen them given - another Chelsea goal and this is all over.

2009: Didier Drogba rifles it across goal, it takes a touch off Sergio Busquets and Victor Valdes makes a decent reaction save. From the corner, John Terry heads wide - with no Barca players on the posts. They just don't learn.

2008: Florent Malouda and Dani Alves tussle and Malouda goes down just inside the area down the Chelsea left. Referee Tom Henning Ovrebo of Norway gives a free-kick to the Blues right on the edge - if it's a foul, it's a penalty.

2007: Frank Lampard plays a ball over the top and Yaya Toure is caught slightly out of position, Didier Drogba racing on to it, but Victor Valdes does really well to come out to the edge of his area and deal with the danger.

2005: Daniel Alves, on his 26th birthday, spanks a right-foot free-kick from about 40 yards that flies wide of Petr Cech's left-hand post. Didn't quite catch it, the Brazilian.

2004: Barca are still being allowed to knock the ball around in relative comfort, with Chelsea packing their defence. We've had 20 minutes so far, and Petr Cech hasn't had a great deal to do.

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From Craig in Preston, via text on 81111: "Barca conceding a smasher, just like last year at this stage."

2001: Frank Lampard sends Florent Malouda away down the left into all sorts of open space and the Frenchman pulls it back to the Englishman about 12 yards out, only for his left-foot shot to slice horribly wide.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Guus Hiddink - thinking on his feet despite the Chelsea dug-out being invaded by the celebrating Michael Essien - was giving some urgent tactical advice to captain John Terry as the rest of Stamford Bridge was engulfed in pandemonium.

"Barcelona had actually made the better start, prompting Hiddink's tactical advice to Terry, but that was a world-class strike from a world-class player. Pep Guardiola's side still need the goal they need at kick-off, but what a psychological lift for Chelsea and the mood inside Stamford Bridge reflects it."

1959: I think I remember saying the same thing at the start of El Clasico, but now we really will see what this Barcelona team is made of.

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From Good Luck Shearer! from Toon4Europe on 606: "I'm not one for knee-jerk reactions, but that is one of - if not the - best goals I have ever seen in my entire life!"
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1955: That goal just defied belief. It really did. What a goal. What. A. Goal. I'm still shaking.


1953: GOAL Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona
That is the goal of the season, all wrapped up - and it might just be the most important one so far. Frank Lampard's ball into the box loops up in the air off Yaya Toure and Michael Essien hits the most outrageous left-foot volley from 25 yards that crashes off the underside of the bar and over the line. Think Tony Yeboah, but better. Better.

1952: Barca are enjoying most of the early possession and Xavi finds Dani Alves with a typically pinpoint pass into the Chelsea box, but the Brazilian whacks it out of play on the volley.

BBC Sport's David Garrido at Stamford Bridge: "The noise is indeed raucous, my esteemed colleague Mr McNulty. But you're not sat in front of both Catalan and French radio, are you? I'm being deafened already, and only from Eto'o screwing a shot wide."

1950: Bit of pinball in the Chelsea box and after Lionel Messi's cross is twice blocked by Michael Ballack, Xavi's prod goalwards deflects off a Blues defender and Jose Bosingwa clears off the line.

1948: Lionel Messi plays a nice one-two with Samuel Eto'o, but John Terry gets in a very well-timed tackle.

1947: Samuel Eto'o shoots hopelessly wide from 35 yards after cutting in from the left, moments after Didier Drogba failed to collect a John Terry pass - he might just have been through, the big Ivorian.

1946: Lionel Messi has started off centrally of the Barca front three, with Andres Iniesta on the right and Samuel Eto'o on the left.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Very warm greetings exchanged between Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink and his Barcelona counterpart Pep Guardiola. No sign of any leftovers from the acrimonious aftermath of the first game in the Nou Camp. Great atmosphere being generated inside Stamford Bridge. Bit of cossack music thrown in to make Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich feel at home - with the Barcelona fans joining in enthusiastically."

1945: Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta get us under way in west London, after a lovely embrace between Guus and Pep on the touchline. Life doesn't get bigger than this. I hope it lasts longer than last night.

1942: The Chelsea fans are all flying their blue flags with gusto as the two teams walk out on to the Stamford Bridge pitch. Barca are in their very bright yellow away shirt.

1940: The teams are in the tunnel. They actually are. John Terry and Xavi, about to lead their teams out. Good God.

BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC Radio 5 Live's Mark Lawrenson: "Chelsea will give Barcelona more problems than Barcelona will give Chelsea tonight."

1938: Guus Hiddink will be especially wary of midfield terrors Xavi and Iniesta after they dumped his Russia team out of Euro 2008, when Spain won their semi-final 3-0 last summer.

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From James, London, via text on 81111: "I don't know who will win, but I can almost guarantee that Messi will put in a rather ineffectual performance, much like he did against United last year, twice, and confirm his status as the most overrated player on earth."

Haha. I nearly believed you for a second there.

1932: The Barca fans look a little nervous. I would be if I were one of them, too. They've only won this competition as many times as Nottingham Forest, for crying out loud. Not good enough.

Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink: "I think we'll be more offensive than in the first leg, that's why Nicolas Anelka is playing. As for Barca, we'll see whether Yaya Toure or Sergio Busquets will play centre-half. We have to go a little bit more adventurous than we did in Barcelona, we didn't like how little initiative we showed in that game. But we still have to be careful."

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From Trooper_ShadowSlayer on 606: "Conversation seems to go in circles here. Let's have a debate - in your opinion, who is the better player, Xavi or Iniesta?"
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Oh did you not hear? I was under the impression everyone knew that Barca cloned Xavi, and Andres Iniesta was the result.

BBC Sport's David Garrido at Stamford Bridge: "You got stats, Stevo? Well, don't we all - Chelsea are unbeaten at home in their last 15 Champions' League games. So ner."

1919: Let's hope we don't have another Darren Fletcher situation at today's game. It's unlikely to be a Barca player if we do, as they haven't had a red card in their last 104 Champions League games. The last FCB man to be dismissed in the Champo League? A certain Pep Guardiola, at Brondby on 9 December, 1998.
Uefa stands by Fletcher red card

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Arsenal's clash with Manchester United last night was the focus of attention for the world's football community - and it is no different here tonight as West Germany's 1990 World Cup-winning captain Lothar Matthäus arrives in the press box. He was told this week that he will be fired as coach of Israeli Premier League club Maccabi Netanya, but he looks happy enough.

"Chelsea and Barcelona are out for the warm-up, and for those of us camped in close proximity to the massed ranks of Spain's radio stations it promises to be a noisy night. Enthusiastic boys these."

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From Debs, York, via text on 81111: "Stevo, my friend Johnny has decided to do some (non-urgent) uni work instead of coming to the pub to watch the match. I need you to tell him how bad this idea is to convince him to come. You're my only hope."

Johnny, what the blazes is wrong with you? Get yourself down that pub right now.

BBC Radio 5 Live

From BBC Radio 5 Live's Mark Lawrenson: "It's a big blow for Barcelona, Thierry Henry not playing. But if you look at the guys Pep Guardiola's got in, like Toure at the back and Busquets in midfield, he's gone for a bit of height - maybe with Chelsea in mind."

1907: That Sir Alex Ferguson, he's funny isn't he? When asked who he'd like to play in the final, he replied: "Neither of them. We should be allowed a bye." Not sure they need it, based on their recent form.
Report: Arsenal 1-3 Man Utd (agg 1-4)

1905: Here's another stat: Chelsea have committed more fouls (193) and collected more yellow cards (26) than any of the other semi-finalists in this season's Champions League. But the worst individual culprit? Barca's marauding Brazilian right-back Daniel Alves, with 26 fouls.

1902: I'm absolutely heartbroken for Thierry Henry, missing out on a game like this in the city he entertained for so long. Is the brilliant Frenchman destined to never win the Champions League?

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From James, Kidderminster, via text on 81111: "Cole had Ronaldo in his back pocket in two big games for England, so Messi should be no problem. However, England lost on pens twice."

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge: "Barcelona fans are already in position and providing a noisy backdrop as Stamford Bridge prepares for the second episode of this contentious Champions League semi-final. Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka are both included in Chelsea's side so it will be intriguing to see how coach Guus Hiddink deploys those two gifted strikers.

"Talking to Chelsea fans around Stamford Bridge, they fear Barcelona will score here tonight - but there are players on a mission in this team after last year's heartbreak in the Champions League final against Manchester United in Moscow.

"And captain John Terry - who missed the crucial penalty that night - walked through the press room a while ago wearing a look of iron determination. Game face most definitely on."

BBC Sport's David Garrido at Stamford Bridge: "There are about 100 Barca fans already inside the stadium. And they're already chanting. Even though there's no Chelsea in yet to chant against."

1850: That's left me a little bit stunned. Nicolas Anelka starts, so Chelsea are going for this one - certainly more than they did eight days ago. And Barca start with Yaya Toure at centre-half, presumably having picked up a few tips off his big bro in the last few hours. No Thierry Henry, though - that is an enormous blow to the Catalans.

1847: Chelsea v Barcelona line-ups:
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Cole, Alex, Terry, Essien, Ballack, Lampard, Malouda, Anelka, Drogba.
Subs: Hilario, Ivanovic, Di Santo, Mikel, Kalou, Belletti, Mancienne.
Barcelona: Valdes, Alves, Abidal, Pique, Toure, Busquets, Keita, Xavi, Iniesta, Eto'o, Messi.
Subs: Pinto, Caceres, Gudjohnsen, Bojan, Sylvinho, Hleb, Pedro.

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From RedLegBill on 606: "Why do people always praise Lionel Messi so much? He isn't even that good and goes completely missing in the big games (the 6-2 demolition of Real was not a big game)."
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Haha. Most ridiculous comment of the night wrapped up.

1842: I'd very much expect there to be some teams news for you quite shortly. Which might be bad news for fans of Nicolas Anelka.

1839: I'm so excited I want to weep.

By Caroline Cheese

1836: Look at that, you've got an Alec Stewart predo. Much better than a Cheesy effort. For what it's worth: I think it'll be 0-0 and penalties. Chelsea to go through. I hope there's a hatful of goals though. Enjoy.

Former England cricket captain and Chelsea fan Alec Stewart: "Didier Drogba will score tonight."
Live text - England v West Indies

1828: Cristiano Ronaldo gave a world-class display against Arsenal last night, what can Leo Messi - many people's tip to succeed Ronaldo as World Player of the Year - deliver tonight? "I'm not expecting an open game," he said. "But if Chelsea risk a little, things will be much easier for us, because with space, Barcelona are very dangerous. I am fully confident of reaching the final."

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From Saleban from Sheffield via text on 81111: "Sitting here in a bar on Las Ramblas in my Chelsea shirt... Spanish taunts coming at me all over the place!!!

From Oli, Brum, via text on 81111: "What does everyone think about what would make this a better game for the neutral, an early Chelsea goal or an early Barca goal? Interesting one."

You know the Chelsea-Liverpool second leg? That would do.

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From GunnersaurusSam on 606: "Arsenal fan here, still sore from last night... Looking forward to tonight, can see Chelsea continuing on from their tremendous performance last week and nicking a goal from a free kick as Barcelona are poor at the back. 1-0 Chelsea, Alex to score it."
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1812: Wanna know who's walking the Roy Keane/Paul Scholes/Darren Fletcher Commemorative Disciplinary Tightrope? Michael Ballack, Alex and Nicolas Anelka will all miss the final if they get booked tonight, as will Barca's Sergio Busquets and Dani Alves.

1809: So if Stevo, who usually has a 'predo' for everything, isn't making one tonight, does that mean I have to?

By Jonathan Stevenson

1805: Oh my. We're 100 minutes away from kick-off. To help you celebrate double figures, here's Cheesy for a bit more build-up chat.

1802: Chelsea have decisions to make tonight too. Ashley Cole comes back in at left-back, but does that mean Jose Bosingwa will play at right-back, or will Branislav Ivanovic start? And as for Nicolas Anelka - will Guus Hiddink unceremoniously dump him to the bench despite his highly impressive display on Saturday? Decisions, decisions.

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From Rocboy, Brighton, via text on 81111: "See 1747: OK you're just getting silly now. If Messi turns up tonight, it's all over within 10 minutes. No one can stop the boy."

They did eight days ago, though he has rediscovered his form since then.

1755: Barca have a poor record in semis against English clubs, having lost four out of five in total. They've lost 15 of the 29 matches they have played away against teams from England, winning a paltry six.

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From I belong to Nasri on 606: "Stevo, is there any chance you could do a 'big shout out' to Arsenal youngster Kieren Gibbs who is apparently taking last night defeat pretty hard, placing a lot of blame on himself after his untimely slip."
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Erm, I'm not really sure how to do a 'big shout out', but I will say I think Gibbs is showing signs of developing into a fabulous footballer and I'm sure he'll recover. Also, spare a thought for poor Darren Fletcher. At this rate, he'll have to wait until 2010 to play in a Champs Lge final...

1747: Here's another predo for you: If Didier Drogba produces a 9/10 performance for Chelsea, they will play in the final. He might just be the most important individual on that Stamford Bridge pitch. Even more so than the glorious Lionel Messi.

1744: Stats, stats, more stats. Barcelona have failed to beat Chelsea in their last four matches and they've also gone four games without beating Manchester United. They've been lauded to the heavens all season long, but this Barca team are going to have to set even higher standards if they want to win the Champions League this year.

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From Anonymous, via text on 81111: "I'm a Port Vale fan, but nights like this make me question why."

A Valiant effort at getting on the live text...

1736: It's difficult to disagree with Sinspaw, below, though I don't think Chelsea will necessarily play in an open fashion, not right from the start, anyway. Certainly not like Real did on Saturday. For the record, this season Barca have scored four goals in a game six times, five goals five times and six goals five times. That's why people like watching them.

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From Sinspaw on 606: "I can't help but feel that Chelsea are doomed. They're going to have to open up if they want to score - can you really see Barcelona not scoring a goal to an open team these days?"
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1727: If cricket's your thing, why not pop over to live text on the first Test of the English summer as Andrew Strauss's brave boys take on West Indies at Lord's. Frankly, I think it's ludicrous that a Test match is starting on a Wednesday. Sir Tom Fordyce is in the chair - he's not an actual Sir, mind. Well, he is in the Les Ferdinand sense, you get me?
Live text - England v West Indies

1723: Want a stat? Thought so. Based on all 0-0 first-leg results in European competition, Chelsea have a 66.8% chance of reaching the Champions League final.

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From Beano, in Northwood, via text on 81111: "I'm an Arsenal fan and while you cant help but marvel at football Barca play, you still have to admire the cussed resilience of this Chelsea team."

1715: Barca have a major selection headache to sort out as they decide who partners Gerard Pique at centre-half. Captain Carles Puyol is banned and Gaby Milito and Rafa Marquez are injured. Uruguayan Martin Caceres is an option, as are left-back Eric Abidal and midfielders Sergio Busquets and Yaya Toure. Whoever plays, they'd better be ready for the fearsome physical presence of Didier Drogba.

1711: Barcelona and Chelsea have met on three previous occasions in knockout games in the Champions League and Barca have come out on top twice - though on each occasion, the side with home advantage in the second leg has prevailed.

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From RetroGirl on 606: "I'm a Spurs fan, but will be cheering on the English team - how can we do anything else? Barca play pretty stuff, but strength and determination are also great to watch too."
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1704: I feel like we're split on this one. Half of the people love Barca and love the way they play and want them to win because of that. And the other half seem to be getting bored of what has been dubbed a 'Barca love-fest'. What is certain is that pretty passes alone will not guarantee victory tonight.

1700: Now then. Listen carefully, because I shall say this only once: I'm not making a predo tonight. But I will say this - whoever scores first (discounting shootout penos) will go to Rome. Trust me.

1655: Alfredo Relano, editor of Spanish sports daily AS, had this to say after Barca beat Real Madrid 6-2 in the Bernabeu on Saturday: "Football of this quality can only be played in paradise." Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink preferred to call the performance "respectable".
Superb Barca destroy rivals Real

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From Gareth, via text on 81111: "It's not wrong to admire Barcelona for their style of football. But it is wrong and arrogant to think, like Barca fans do, that it is the only way to play. Defence is as much a part of football as attack."

True. But I know which I'd rather see my team doing.

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From I want curly hair too on 606: "(See 1630) It is if you support Man United, Chelsea or Real Madrid, but if not feel free to be charmed."
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1645: There's plenty of time for you to have your say isn't there? I mean, no-one - but no-one, even myself - just wants to read me banging on about rubbish for the next three hours. So try and bring a little sunshine into our lives, via text on 81111, and on 606 too.
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1641: Personally, as you know, I always quite like it when football ends up the winner. And let's face it, the way Barca have played this season, that has happened a staggering number of times. But I also thought Chelsea were sensational in the Camp Nou, and stopping them from scoring was a magnificent achievement. The last team to do that, was a certain Man Utd in a certain semi-final last season...

1635: Welcome to coverage of the second Champions League semi-final, as Chelsea entertain Barcelona at Stamford Bridge to decide who will get to meet Manchester United in Rome at the end of the month.

1630: Here's a hypothetical question for you: Is it wrong, even if you're English, to be so charmed by the way Barcelona play their football that you almost hope they win everything in sight?

We've got 195 minutes to talk about this, so take your time.

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see also
Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona (agg 1-1)
06 May 09 |  Europe
Champions League photos
06 May 09 |  Europe

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