Chelsea’s Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech, one of the heroes of the team’s Champions League second leg semifinal draw with Barcelona that took the London team into the final, said Lionel Messi’s missed second half penalty was a turning point in the match.
“We all breathed again and said to ourselves, ‘Okay, fate has given us another chance to fight on.’ In spite of that, there was still a lot of time to the end, and we knew it would be a fight for survival,” he said on his personal web pages following Tuesday’s 2:2 draw that eliminated the reigning Champions League title holders.
Messi’s 49th minute penalty conversion would have tipped the match in Barcelona’s favor giving them a 3:1 win on the night and 3:2 over the two legs. Ten-man Chelsea, after captain John Terry was red-carded in the 37th minute, held on with Fernando Torres adding an extra goal for the visitors in the last minute of normal time.
‘We all breathed again and said to ourselves ‘Okay, fate has given us another chance to fight on.’’
Čech said he was well prepared to face a penalty against Barcelona. “We had a clear strategy that in the case of a penalty I would wait till the last moment and not make it easy by moving. I chose the right side and he hit the post. You need luck,” he said.
The Czech goalkeeper later saw another second half strike from Messi hit the post as the pressure was piled up on Chelsea. “The ball came though players and was really fast, and I pushed it onto the bar at the last moment,” he said.
Čech said he has no favorites to meet in the final from the two semifinalists, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich who play on Wednesday night.
Chelsea are in a Champions League final for the first time since the defeat against Manchester United in 2008 in a penalty shoot-out. “We now have a second chance to win the cup and end up on the other side in the final. I hope the final will have a lot more pleasant outcome,” Čech said.