With all the world on the line, Fernando Torres struck it rich - at last. Pouring all the haters down the drain, the Chelsea forward broke free from midfield, on a breakaway that seemed like an eternity. Two minutes into stoppage time, gracing the television set was one man - Torres, who had nothing but a massive green field underneath his feet. When he eventually reached Victor Valdes, a sweeping move to the right gained clearance of the goalie too, and Torres' shot coolly found the center of goal and back of the net. His score swiftly and effectively elevated Chelsea back atop the pinnacle of world football with a 2-2 draw Tuesday night in Barcelona, giving the Premier League club a 3-2 victory on aggregate.
Barcelona had chances throughout, but so did Chelsea. Ivanovic's missed header went longing, and Kalou misplayed a long ball that reached him in the box. The possession in the last stages was a story of ten men desperately defending a Barcelona onslaught. Jose Bosingwa was called upon is these late stages, having replaced Gary Cahill in the 12th due to injury. He, and the rest of Chelsea, minus a John Terry red card, answered the call in grand fashion. After Ramires' blink-of-an-eye class exhibit to end the first half, Chelsea utilized wide-spread physicality to keep the Barcelona squad at bay. Meireles, for his efforts, got a yellow late, and to no avail, pleaded with the referee to not present the card - he will miss the final against the winner of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich tomorrow.
Messi was walled upon effectively by Chelsea, who often sent two men (especially in the final minutes) on the ball as soon as he touched it. But, there was no magic, and in particular no amazing amount of possession for Lionel Messi. Was his groin still injured from the prior contest? It could be reasonable to assume, since there was not one trademark run by the Argentine of more than 20 yards. Clearly, Chelsea was fantastic in its collaboration on defense; with the exception of Sergio Busquets' goal, Barcelona never made Chelsea look bad.
Collectively, for fans of the Chelsea number nine, a weight has been lifted. Even casual observers, following his performances from his recent years at Liverpool to his new home of Chelsea, are breathing a sigh of relief. Torres cleaned house today in Barcelona, effectively chopping off the head of the world football giant, Barcelona.