When the draw for the second round and quarter-final stage of the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League was made, it was almost inevitable that Chelsea and Barcelona would end up locking horns in the last eight.
Here are two clubs who have crossed paths on numerous occasions in recent years, and meetings between the two have a habit of producing some mouth watering clashes. Here, we at Into The Top Corner take a look at the eight Chelsea-Barca matches played so far.
Barcelona 2-1 Chelsea, Champions League 2004/05 Round of 16, 1st Leg
Chelsea were leading after Juliano Belletti deflected Damien Duff’s cross into his own net after 32 minutes. But Drogba was then sent off by referee Anders Frisk for an innocuous-looking challenge on goalkeeper Victor Valdes after 55 minutes. Substitute Maxi Lopez quickly fired Barca level before Samuel Eto’o smashed in the winner with 17 minutes left. It was cruel luck on Chelsea, who had looked relatively comfortable until Barcelona were gifted a numerical advantage by flamboyant Swedish official Frisk.
Chelsea 4-2 (5-4 agg) Barcelona, Champions League 2004/05 Round of 16, 2nd Leg
Chelsea raced into a three-goal lead in 19 minutes, with Eidur Gudjohnsen, Frank Lampard and Damien Duff on target for Jose Mourinho’s side. But Barca pulled two goals back before half-time, Ronaldinho scoring from the spot after Paolo Ferreira handled. Ronaldinho then scored a stunning second, but Terry headed home after 75 minutes to send Chelsea through. After the acrimony surrounding the first leg, this clash also ended in controversy with Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard having to be restrained as a fracas erupted near the tunnel.
Chelsea 1-2 Barcelona, Champions League 2005/06 Round of 16, 1st Leg
Asier del Horno was sent off after 36 minutes for a foul on Lionel Messi – but Thiago Motta’s own goal gave Chelsea the lead after the break. Barcelona pinned Chelsea back and John Terry headed Ronaldinho’s free-kick past Petr Cech with 20 minutes left. Terry cleared off the line from Henrik Larsson and Ronaldinho before Samuel Eto’o headed home after 80 minutes. Barcelona’s attacking brilliance deserved the victory, and Jose Mourinho’s side face a massive task to turn the tie around in the second leg at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona 1-1 (3-2 agg) Chelsea, Champions League 2005/06 Round of 16, 2nd Leg
The Blues’ chances were limited, Didier Drogba heading tamely and Joe Cole flicking the ball just over, but they failed to sustain any real pressure. Hernan Crespo sent a near-post shot wide for the visitors before Ronaldinho expertly fired in after 78 minutes. A Frank Lampard penalty in injury time came too late for Chelsea.
Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona, Champions League 2006/07 Group Stages
Drogba struck on the turn seconds after half-time to give Jose Mourinho’s side a thoroughly deserved win and make it three straight victories in the group. Chelsea were without keepers Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini through injury, but third-choice Hilario was faultless. And Drogba and Andriy Shevchenko wasted chances to double Chelsea’s lead. With Cech out with a fractured skull and Cudicini also missing because of concussion, it was feared Barcelona may take advantage, but they were kept at arm’s length by Chelsea, with Michael Essien outstanding.
Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea, Champions League 2006/07 Group Stages
Eidur Gudjohnsen looked to have sent his old club crashing to defeat with a close-range finish after 57 minutes. Frank Lampard’s brilliant angled chip six minutes earlier had equalised Deco’s early strike from 20 yards. But Drogba pounced with seconds left as a clash that contained 10 yellow cards ended with Chelsea clinching a draw.
Barcelona 0-0 Chelsea, Champions League 2008/09 Semi Finals, 1st Leg
The Spanish league leaders enjoyed plenty of possession, but struggled to create many clear-cut chances. Thierry Henry forced Petr Cech to save and Bojan headed over from two yards, before Cech stopped Alex Hleb’s effort. Chelsea almost nicked a goal as Didier Drogba was foiled by Victor Valdes, while Michael Ballack headed just over. But Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink will be delighted with his side’s defensive fortitude in keeping a clean sheet – a feat not achieved by any visiting side at Barca this season.
Chelsea 1-1(a) Barcelona, Champions League 2008/09 Semi Finals, 2nd Leg
Chelsea looked to have kept Barcelona at bay and sealed an all-Premier League clash in Rome on a night of nerve-jangling tension after Michael Essien’s 20-yard blockbuster in the ninth minute. But with Guus Hiddink’s side hanging on – and fuelled by a sense of injustice after referee Tom Ovrebo rejected a succession of penalty appeals – Iniesta beat Petr Cech from the edge of the area to send Barcelona into the final on away goals. It was a heartbreaking moment for Chelsea and one that was too much to bear for Didier Drogba, on the sidelines after being substituted with an injury. There had already been angry scenes in the technical area after Barcelona’s leveller, with Hiddink appearing to be buffeted on the touchline, but at the final whistle, Drogba marched on to the field to subject referee Ovrebo to a prolonged verbal tirade. He rightly received a yellow card but Drogba refused to be deterred by this punishment and continued to pursue the official while being held back. It was an unpalatable conclusion to a dramatic encounter in which Chelsea had four appeals for penalties ignored, the strongest being a clear handball by Gerard Pique after the break.