Thu, Apr 10, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Chelsea reach semi-finals, Madrid hold on

AFP, PARIS

Chelsea striker Demba Ba, center, scores Chelsea’s second goal past Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, left, during their Champions League quarter-final, second-leg match at Stamford Bridge in London on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Paris-born Demba Ba was the hero as Chelsea advanced to the Champions League semi-finals at Paris Saint-Germain’s expense, while Real Madrid also progressed on Tuesday despite a second-leg defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

Having lost 3-1 in last week’s first leg in France, Chelsea fought back to win 2-0 at Stamford Bridge and go through on away goals to their seventh semi-final in 11 years as substitute Ba netted the decisive goal late on.

While a first-leg win was not enough for PSG, it was for Madrid, who are into their fourth consecutive semi-final 3-2 on aggregate despite losing 2-0 away to Dortmund in Germany as Marco Reus scored a brace.

Jose Mourinho is aiming to become the first manager to win the European Cup with three different clubs, but the odds were stacked against Chelsea coming back from their defeat in the French capital six days ago, even if PSG were without injured talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Indeed, Chelsea lost a key attacking threat of their own inside 18 minutes, when the injured Eden Hazard had to be replaced by Andre Schuerrle.

However, Germany winger Schuerrle opened the scoring on the night in the 32nd minute, taking advantage of ball watching by Lucas to convert a long throw-in from the right that had been helped on by David Luiz.

The tie was now on a knife-edge and Schuerrle lashed a shot off the bar six minutes into the second half before an Oscar free-kick came crashing back off the woodwork.

It took PSG almost an hour just to touch the ball in the Chelsea box, but they had chances late on, Edinson Cavani missing their best opening when he latched onto a Yohan Cabaye pass over the top, but fired over.

And PSG were left to regret not grabbing an away goal as Ba — who was born in the Paris suburb of Sevres, but has spent his entire professional career outside France — stole in front of Maxwell to bundle home a Cesar Azpilicueta ball into the area in the 87th minute.

“It was very much deserved that the team that tried to defend was punished. The team that played with their heart deserved to go through,” Mourinho told ITV, while PSG coach Laurent Blanc felt his men were a little unlucky.

“We were dangerous on the break, but couldn’t convert any of our chances. In my opinion, the difference between the two teams was not enormous,” he said.

While Chelsea remain on course to win the Champions League for the second time in three seasons, Mourinho’s former club Madrid are also into the last four, a stage they always reached, but never went beyond in each of the Portuguese’s three-year stint at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Spanish giants did enough to win the tie, thanks to their 3-0 success in last week’s first leg, although they were given a real scare at the Westfalenstadion.

Cristiano Ronaldo spent the whole game on the bench as he struggled with a knee problem and Angel Di Maria had a 17th-minute penalty saved by home ’keeper Roman Weidenfeller, before Reus pounced on a poor header by Pepe back to his ’keeper Iker Casillas before slotting home.

Reus found the net again in the 37th minute when he intercepted another poor ball back the way, this time by Asier Illarramendi, and passed to Robert Lewandowski. The Pole’s shot came back off the post, but Reus followed in to score.

Suddenly Dortmund sensed blood, but they could not level the tie on aggregate, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan coming closest when he rounded Casillas, but hit the post in the 65th minute.

This story has been viewed 1123 times.
TOP top