Chelsea stun PSG as Demba Ba prompts Mourinho dash
Last-gasp winner sends Blues into Champions League semis and Jose racing down the touchline
Chelsea 2 Paris Saint Germain 0 [3-3 on aggregate, Chelsea win on away goals]. Demba Ba sent Stamford Bridge barmy on Tuesday night with a scrambled goal three minutes from the end of a dramatic Champions League quarter-final that put Chelsea into the last four.
The Senegalese striker, who has netted just three times this season in the Premier League and has fallen below even Fernando Torres in the pecking order, can't have scored many uglier goals than the one he somehow scuffed into the roof of the PSG net, but it was a priceless strike all the same. "It all happened so quick," said Ba later. "I just do what I have to do when I get chances. I didn't have chances this season but tonight I took it."
And didn't Jose Mourinho know it. The Chelsea manager hared down the touchline to join in the celebrations although he claimed later he had only gone there to pass on instructions. No one really believed him, just as no one believed the extraordinary climax to a thrilling tie.
Six days ago in Paris Chelsea had let themselves down, slumping to a 3-1 defeat that had them teetering on the brink of elimination. The result drew sharp criticism from Mourinho, who slammed his team as "sloppy" and "ridiculous". If that was meant as a challenge then it was one the players accepted in the return leg.
Looking hungry from the start, Chelsea went one up on 32 minutes when Branislav Ivanovic's long throw from the right was flicked on by the head of David Luiz, and then swept into the visitors' net by Andre Schurrle. This time it was Laurent Blanc, the boss of PSG who was left to rage at his defence's naivety, just as Mourinho had been last week, and yet whatever was said at the break failed to sink in.
As PSG sat back on their slender 3-2 aggregate lead, so Chelsea threw everything at them and twice rattled the bar through Schurrle and Oscar. The French side, diminished without the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who watched from the stands, could only hold on and hope. But three minutes from time they were undone in the most chaotic of fashions. A shot from Cesar Azpilicueta pinballed through the PSG penalty area and emerged at the feet of Ba. His ungainly strike was anything but clean but it was good enough to beat Salvatore Sirigu and prompt Mourinho into one of his trademark touchline dashes.
"I didn't go to the corner flag to celebrate," he later insisted. "I went to tell them the changes we had to make. There were three minutes plus extra-time left and the way we were playing was too risky."
To be fair, Mourinho could be seen gesturing furiously at his players, and a dramatic reorganisation was required as the Blues had effectively been playing with five up front by the time the goal came. With the likes of Ba, Eto'o and Schurrle now on defensive detail Chelsea weathered a final PSG push, as Petr Cech was twice forced into action in injury time.
It was a magnificent result for Chelsea, one hewn from adversity given that Eden Hazard – their best player in the first leg – limped off after 18 minutes to be replaced by Schurrle - and that their opponents came to London on the back of a record 11-game winning streak. But Chelsea are nothing if bloody-minded under Mourinho and the victory maintains his record of never having lost a Champions League quarter-final.
"The players knew what they had to do," explained Mourinho. "It was very much deserved that the team that tried to defend was punished. The team that played with their heart deserved to go through."