Ashley Cole hails Chelsea's character
Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole was delighted with his side’s desire and spirit as they claimed a place in the final of Champions League after beating Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate. Goals from Ramires and Fernando Torres saw the Blues come from behind to claim a dramatic victory over the two legs, despite being reduced to 10 men when captain John Terry was dismissed for a blatant foul of Alexis Sanchez after just 37 minutes. Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta were on target for Barca.
The England defender spoke to Sky Sports shortly after the final whistle, and when asked about if character helped them through, he said: “It was a lot, three to four months ago, no-one thought we had a chance, we lost a few games in the Premier League. “But we had certain meetings, we got all the players together and said we always believe and we’re good enough to be here and I think we’ve proved that today.
“We’ve been lucky in spells in the game, but you can’t beat that desire and fight and spirit that you see out there today.” In addition to their captain being given his marching orders, Roberto Di Matteo’s men also lost Gary Cahill to injury after just 12 minutes, leaving them with two makeshift central defenders, Jose Bosingwa and Branislac Ivanovic, for nearly an hour. Barcelona boasted over 70 per cent of possession throughout the 90 minutes, but wasteful passing and valiant defending from the away side continued halting the attacking intent.
Terry apologised for his red card moment of madness that will rule him out of next month’s Champions League final. “Sanchez was darting in behind me. I’ve seen the replay and it does look bad,” Terry told Sky Sports. “I’m not that type of player to intentionally hurt anyone. I’ve raised my knee, which I maybe shouldn’t have done in hindsight. I’m disappointed but delighted for the lads. To come here and play the way they did and get the result they did with 10 men... I feel I’ve let them down. I've apologised to them and I want to apologise to the fans as well.”
Blues victory has come at a price
Chelsea quartet John Terry, Raul Meireles, Branislav Ivanovic and Ramires will miss the Champions League final through suspension. Skipper Terry received a red card for kneeing Barca forward Alexis Sanchez in the back during Tuesday’s semi-final second-leg at Camp Nou. His three teammates were cautioned and took their tallies to three bookings, meaning they must serve a one-match suspension.