Ten-man Chelsea stun Barcelona to reach final

Ten-man Chelsea produced an astonishing comeback to recover from 2-1 down and beat defending champions Barcelona 3-2 in a scarcely believable Champions League semifinal at the Camp Nou on Tuesday.
Chelsea began the night with a slender 1-0 lead from the first leg and looked doomed when John Terry was sent off for violent conduct in the 37th minute and Andres Iniesta put Barcelona 2-1 up on aggregate shortly afterward.
But Ramires put Chelsea ahead on away goals moments before half time and Chelsea somehow held off wave after wave of Barcelona attack after the break.
Lionel Messi hit the bar with a penalty early in the second half and later had another shot pushed onto the post by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Substitute Fernando Torres completed the most unlikely of wins when he scored on the break in injury time to make it 2-2 on the night, and put Chelsea into the Champions League final for the second time in their history.
"It is an incredible achievement by this group of players," said Chelsea coach Robeto di Matteo, who only took over in early March when Andre Villas Boas was sacked.
"A lot of people have written us off but we showed the character these players have."
Chelsea will play either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in the May 19 final at Bayern's Allianz Arena. They will have to do without Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles, who will all be suspended, but that was at the back of the players' minds as they celebrated one of the club's greatest wins.
"It was not beautiful," Torres said, "and we were playing the best team in the world, but Barcelona did not take their chances and, in the end, it worked for us."
Barcelona, meanwhile, now only have the Copa del Rey to play for after losing to Real Madrid at the weekend and all but conceding the Spanish league title.
Having come away from the first leg with a 1-0 lead courtesy of a Didier Drogba goal, Chelsea traveled to the Camp Nou knowing Barcelona had won their last 15 home matches in the Champions League.
Things started badly when Gary Cahill limped off after 12 minutes and got worse when Sergio Busquets put Barcelona ahead in the 35th minute from Isaac Cuenca's cutback.
Two minutes later, Terry inexplicably raised his knee as he ran up behind Alexis Sanchez and was shown a straight red card -- leaving Chelsea without both their center halves.
"I want to apologize to the lads and the fans," Terry said later. "I feel like I've let the lads down."
A minute after Terry departed, Iniesta looked to have set Barcelona on their way to the final when he finished off a trademark passing move with a precise, low shot into the far corner from Messi's through ball.
Terry's absence meant midfielder Ramires was pushed into action as a right back but it was the Brazilian who unexpectedly gave Chelsea hope before half time.
Barcelona had their own defensive re-organization to carry out when Gerard Pique came off after 25 minutes with a head injury to be replaced by Dani Alves and the hosts were wide open at the back as Ramires skipped on to Frank Lampard's pass and expertly lifted the ball over the stranded Victor Valdes.
Barcelona began the second half in determined mood and quickly won a penalty when Drogba -- who was otherwise superb -- slid in rashly and brought down Cesc Fabregas.
Messi stepped up to try to score his 64th goal of the season but smacked the bar with his spot kick.
It still seemed only a matter of time before Barcelona got the crucial goal but as the minutes ticked down amid increasing desperation among the home fans, it began to look like fate was on Chelsea's side.
Sanchez had the ball in the net but the offside flag was up against Alves before Messi was again denied when Cech got fingertips to his shot minutes before full time, leaving him without a goal against Chelsea in eight games.
Torres, by contrast, has hardly found the net since moving to Chelsea but it was left to the misfiring Spaniard to run through and score his eighth goal in 11 games against Barcelona.
In the English Premier League on Tuesday, Bolton came from a goal down to beat Aston Villa 2-1 to raise their hopes of escaping relegation and leave their opponents just three points above the drop zone.

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