05 April 2012

Chelsea, Barça's semifinal rival in the Champions League

The English side sent Benfica out of the competition after beating the Portuguese side 2-1 at Stamford Bridge. They will face Barça in the semifinals of the Champions League.

The away leg will be played on Wednesday, April 18, at Stamford Bridge and the return leg, on the 24th, will be at the Camp Nou.

Barça know who their opponents will be in the semifinals of the Champions League. It will be Chelsea, who sent Benfica out of the competition in the quarterfinal round. The Blues won the away leg in Portugal by 0-1 and this Wednesday they sealed passage to the next round by 2-1 in London. The English side went ahead thanks to a penalty shot by Lampard, however, even though Benfica were down a man throughout the whole second half when Pereira was sent off, Javi Garcia brought his team level on 85 minutes. Chelsea scored their second in stoppage time through Meirelles.

To get to the quarterfinals, Chelsea beat Naples is a thrilling Round of 16 matchup. They finished first in their group ahead of Leverkusen, Valencia and Genk.

The Champions League has been the competition that Chelsea have found the most success this season. They currently sit in fifth position, 23 points adrift from the leaders, in the Premier League. André Villas-Boas was sacked earlier this season due to the team’s irregular performance in the domestic competition. The English side is currently managed by Roberto di Matteo.

The team have a slew of fantastic players like Cech, Terry, Essien, Lampard and Drogba, including well-known footballers to Barça fans like Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and the ex-Barça player Oriol Romeu.

The Chelsea-Barça matchup has turned into a European classic. The English and the Catalans have been involved in some of the most vibrant European games in recent memory. The most recent of which is the unforgettable game where Iniesta scored in the last minute of the semifinal match in 2009 at Stamford Bridge which gave Barça passage to the final in Rome.

Expectations were met on the other side of the bracket as both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid beat their quarterfinal opponents to reach the semifinals. The away leg will be played at the Allianz Arena, on April 17th, and the return leg will be at the Santiago Bernabéu on the 25th. (via FCBarcelona.com)