Chelsea overcomes 3-1 first-leg deficit against PSG to reach Champions League semis
Demba Ba scores a late goal in London as Chelsea advances on away goals
Real Madrid withstands a Borussia Dortmund fightback to also go through
Borussia Dortmund wins 2-0 at home but loses 3-2 on aggregate
It was one of the most memorable scenes in recent Champions League history – Jose Mourinho running along the touchline to celebrate with his Porto side at Old Trafford after a late goal knocked out Manchester United in 2004.
Ten years later Mourinho made another long dash on the touchline in the Champions League, this time after his Chelsea scored an 87th-minute goal through Demba Ba to take control against Paris Saint-Germain in the quarterfinals. He wasn’t overly celebrating but instead giving instructions to his team on how to protect the lead in the dying stages.
Chelsea did hang on, winning 2-0 at home to overturn a 3-1 first-leg deficit and advance on away goals in a battle of the rich versus the rich in European football. Mourinho thus will be managing a team in the Champions League last four for the fifth consecutive campaign.
“Demba made a crucial finish for us and I think (it was) very much deserved,” Mourinho told ITV. “The team that decided to defend was punished and the team that played with their heart deserved to go to the semis.”
A Champions League winner with Porto and Inter Milan, Mourinho is seeking to achieve the feat with his beloved Blues.
Chelsea will be joined in the semis by Mourinho’s previous club Real Madrid, which survived – barely – without Cristiano Ronaldo against 2013 finalist Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund won 2-0 at home Tuesday but was eliminated 3-2 on aggregate.
“It was a night of suffering but at the end of it we are happy as we are through to the semifinals,” Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti told UEFA.com.
The opening 25 minutes in London suggested the visitors would comfortably cope with Chelsea.
But after Salvatore Sirigu had to scramble to get a hand to Frank Lampard’s deflected free kick, the game changed.
Andre Schurrle, only on the field after an injury to Chelsea’s offensive star, Eden Hazard, converted from David Luiz’s flick in the 32nd minute.
Stamford Bridge awoke, and Schurrle and Oscar struck the crossbar seconds apart shortly after the break.
Edinson Cavani skied over the bar in the 77th minute and substitute Ba made PSG pay for the miss when he netted into the roof of the net.
Mourinho has openly criticized his strikers this season, with Ba not seeing much playing time, but the Senegal international finished impressively with his left foot while falling to the ground.
“I saw the ball and it was in the goal,” he told ITV. “I just do what I have to do when I get chances. I didn’t have chances this season but tonight I took it.”
Beaten in injury time last week to give PSG the two-goal advantage, Chelsea keeper Petr Cech preserved his team’s passage Tuesday by pushing away Marquinhos’ effort in added time.
How PSG must have rued the absence of injured striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Dortmund, meanwhile, has history in engineering miracles in the Champions League quarterfinals against Spanish opposition, scoring twice in injury time last year to overcome Malaga 3-2 on aggregate.
But things took a turn for the worse for Jurgen Klopp’s men when fullback Lukasz Piszczek gave away a penalty for handball. Without Ronaldo, duties were left to Angel di Maria.
Di Maria slipped, though still managed a good shot, but Roman Weidenfeller dived to his left to thwart the Argentina winger.
The save ignited Dortmund, which had inspirational striker Robert Lewandowski back in its ranks following a first-leg suspension. Dortmund – which ousted Real Madrid in last season’s competition – also got help from the Madrid back four.
Pepe’s poor touch meant for keeper Iker Casillas was intercepted by an alert Marco Reus and the German international held his nerve to make it 1-0 in the 24th minute.
Another Real Madrid gaffe led to another Dortmund break: Casillas tipped Lewandowski’s shot onto the post but Reus was there for the rebound in the 37th minute.
Real Madrid coped slightly better in the second half, although Dortmund midfielder Henrik Mkhitaryan hit the post after rounding Casillas. Casillas – not the starter in La Liga – then had to be alert to stop Mkhitaryan and Kevin Grosskreutz, with Reus booked for a dive in the box.
“We were clearly the better side today and we really should have scored more goals, but because the game and our performance was so extraordinarily good I really will not make accusations to anyone today,” Klopp told UEFA.
On Wednesday, Manchester United visits defending champion Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid hosts Barcelona. Both ties are leveled at 1-1.