Needing to find the back of the net more than once to secure a spot in the Champions League final, Barcelona has every reason to come out at the Camp Nou against Chelsea in full attack. In other words, fans and Petr Cech should hold onto their hats as these 90+ minutes should be thrilling.
Thanks to a counterattack goal by Didier Droga in the first leg of this Champions League semi pairing, Chelsea holds and unexpected -- and some might contend undeserved -- lead entering the return match in Barcelona. But if the Blues can stifle Messi, Iniesta and the rest of the Barcelona attackers for another day then there will be little doubt who has earned the right to vie for the championship of Europe.
Coming off a dispiriting loss to rival Real Madrid at the weekend, Pep Guardiola's side finds itself in a tight spot. If they go without a win today then the Copa Del Rey remains the only chance at silverware to close the campaign. For his part, Pep remains confident that his team will advance, telling reporters that he has "no doubt" that his club will be in Munich for the final. Will they be on the pitch to play the Madrid-Munich winner? Or will Guardiola be forced to shell out for tickets to make good on his claim?
Can the Blues once again hold off the relentless Blaugrana attack? Can Drogba pose enough of a threat by himself to keep the Barcelona defense from seeping forward into attack?
STAY HERE FOR LIVE UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE MATCH:
04/24/2012 4:40 PM EDT
Against All Odds..
Chelsea defeats Barcelona.. playing with 10 men for the majority of the match.. and Fernando Torres scores the goal that seals it. Would anyone have believed it?
04/24/2012 4:38 PM EDT
A historic triumph over the Barcelona!
04/24/2012 4:35 PM EDT
What a way a to do it! An unbelievable score.. he gets loose on the counter and rounds Valdez. GOAL!!!!!
04/24/2012 4:34 PM EDT
The 90 is through and Chelsea has three extra minutes to hold off Barcelona.
04/24/2012 4:34 PM EDT
Mascherano fires low and Cech dives low to his near post and pushes it wide. Corner coming... and out off Puyol.
04/24/2012 4:32 PM EDT
Mascherano fields the clearance deep and puts it back in for Barcelona, resulting in another last pass that goes wanting. The pressure on the Chelsea defense is enormous but it seems that Barcelona offense is feeling a pressure of their own.
04/24/2012 4:31 PM EDT
Another Messi moment doesn't come off as Cole nips it away. He looks exhausted. Meanwhile, Torres not looking up to the pace, which is problem as everyone else is totally spent.
04/24/2012 4:27 PM EDT
Messi hits the post and he had Cech beaten near side. Fox Soccer announcers talking about destiny..
04/24/2012 4:26 PM EDT
Barcelona looked to have unlocked the defense but Alves was offside before he crossed back to Sanchez.
04/24/2012 4:24 PM EDT
And Torres is on. Can Chelsea's Spanish misfit come up big against his countrymen? More pressingly, did Chelsea just lose its top on-the-ball defender?
The Morning Email helps you start your workday with everything you need to know: breaking news, entertainment and a dash of fun. Learn more