After Chelsea failed to secure top spot in this season’s UEFA Champions League group stage, they had to settle for second place behind Roma. This means they entered Monday morning’s draw knowing they would face one of the winners of the other groups (Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas) in the last 16.
As many fans anticipated, the Blues were drawn against La Liga leaders Barcelona and because the Catalan giants were group winners, the second leg will be played at the iconic Nou Camp. The first leg will be at Stamford Bridge on either the 13/14 or the 20/21 February before the second leg in Spain will be either 6/7 or 13/14 March.
Chelsea hoping for a repeat of 2011/2012
Chelsea are certainly no strangers to facing Barca in the Champions League and last time the two sides met, it was one of the greatest nights in their history. It was the semi-final of the 20111/12 competition, one that ended in jubilation for Blues fans. A Didier Drogba goal from the first leg gave them a one-goal advantage going into the return at the Nou Camp but a red card for John Terry after Sergio Busquets had levelled the aggregate score gave them a massive uphill task.
Andres Iniesta then put the hosts in front and left Chelsea on the verge of European exit, before Ramires scored a crucial away goal with a delicate chip on the stroke of half-time. After a second half of resolute Chelsea defending and a Lionel Messi penalty miss, Fernando Torres confirmed Roberto Di Matteo’s side’s place in the final as he rounded Victor Valdes and rolled into an empty net in the 91st-minute.
They also faced off in the semi-final in 2009, and this time it was Barca who benefitted from an injury-time goal. Andres Iniesta buried a fantastic strike into Petr Cech’s top corner deep into stoppage game in a game that was marred by controversy. This gave the Spanish side the all-important away goal which sent them through to the final against Manchester United which they won 2-0 thanks to goals from Samuel Eto’o and Messi.
Chelsea fans and players will be hoping the referee won’t steal all the headlines when they meet in February and March in a tie where they will definitely be seen as the underdogs. The last 16 draw in full:
Basel vs Manchester City
Bayern Munich vs Besiktas
Chelsea vs Barcelona
Juventus vs Tottenham
Porto vs Liverpool
Real Madrid vs PSG
Sevilla vs Manchester United
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Roma