BBC BLOGS - Robbo Robson
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Daylight Droggery!

Robbo Robson | 12:36 UK time, Thursday, 7 May 2009

Well it's hard to know where to begin with that Chelsea-Barca game, isn't it? I've done nowt but argue with people since the whistle went.

Lots of chumps arguing that Barca deserved it - they had 70% possession, so I'm told. Did they do owt with the ball? No! Just kept it. Never used it. One shot on target in the whole game.

They looked nice, but players like the much-lauded Alves were more wasteful than a catering company at a stomach stapling convention. Chelsea made six times as many chances from half as much time on the ball. It's not an argument that merits any further analysis.

Anyway, let's get to the nub. The penalty shouts:

Number 1: Alves shoves Malouda about a yard inside the box. Obvious penalty, or did the ref give it for the initial infringement? Give him the benefit of the doubt.
Florent Malouda and Daniel Alves
Number 2: Drogba goes down under a pretty feeble challenge and a tiny bit of shirt tugging from Abidal. Me, I thought Drogba threw himself down cos he'd lost control of the ball. It's one of them tricks kids of six do every Saturday on the local parks. It makes you gag with frustration that the little brats have already learnt how to cheat.

However, strictly speaking, the shirt tug should be enough to award the penalty (even if it's evened out by a similar shout for Barca at the Nou Camp on Henry.

Number 3: Pique's handball. Penalty. Stonewall. Clear-cut. Mr Magoo would have given it. They should use the ball as evidence and Pique's prints would be all over it. There's an assistant ref out there too! Neither he nor the Mitchell brothers reject/Danish midfielder looky-likey thought it counted. Was it deliberate? Well he didn't try very hard to get his hand out of the way. Joke decision.

Number 4: Eto'o's handball. Well, his arms shouldn't really be raised but it wasn't so blatant, it's just that the ref had missed Pique's pat-a-cake, so Ballack's sense of injustice was complete, which might explain why he bore down on the ref with his bosom pressed forward like a lap dancer urging a punter to put more tips in her brassiere. (I'm guessing that that's what that would look like).

So, at the very least one of them must have been given. And probably the other three 'n' all.

Don't get me wrong. We decked ourselves out in as much Catalonian clobber as we could lay our hands on. We didn't want to be watching Man U-Chelsea again. But when Iniesta scored, the Blue Bell was a morgue. You could've heard a pint drop.

It couldn't have been more hushed had we just witnessed HRH Alan Shearer whip off his jacket and tie and get on the end of a Duff cross to squeak three points against the Boro this Monday.

If you needed to find any other reason to respect Guus Hiddink just look at the Dutchman's press conference on this website. He's quality. Most of us would have gone utterly Drogbananas. Or Dididoolally.

And that's the other talking point. Drogba spent the night irritating me and every other neutral. Too much time spent writhing on the floor, so much posturing that I thought at one point I was looking at a failed auditionee for a Milli Vanilli tribute act.

It's childish attention-seeking is what it is. And if the bloke had tapped home that sitter in the second-half, the ref's performance would be incidental.

The outburst at the end was understandable but ridiculous. And almost as unforgivable as Sky replaying his tirade to the camera with the phrase 'It's not the sort of behaviour we expect on a football field' and then failing to bleep out the f-word themselves.

Richard Keys had to apologise again on Drogba's behalf but to be fair he only swore once - the broadcasters decided to show it twice. The way TV companies wallow in this sort of thing is pretty poor. 'Ooo, it was terrible! Disgusting! Obscene! Shall we have another listen?!'

I do think that, for all his undoubted strengths, Diddums has become a bit of a liability in the big games. He's missed opportunities, got himself sent off, thrown himself around like a kid on a bouncy castle... Chelsea could well do with offloading him.

Having said all that - and I don't even like admitting this - Chelsea wuz robbed. It's nice to believe that you can't just buy the biggest prize in club football, but their place in the final was denied them by utter incompetence from the officials.
Didier Drogba argues with the referee
I'm not one for conspiracy theories, particularly. It doesn't make much sense for a bent ref to send off a defender of the team he's supposed to be helping, now, does it? People are saying Uefa have their dream final. It should be a good game, for sure. I'd certainly prefer that to the same fare as last year.

I think United will win it too. The way they trounced Arsenal was like watching a gorilla squash an errant beetle. You did get the impression that Arsene was talking up his side's chances way too much.

After Ronaldo's free-kick (take that passport back off Almunia immediately!) it was all over. In the meantime it'd be nice if Uefa did pull their fingers out of wherever the ninnies leave them and overturn the red cards for Abidal and Fletcher that were so witlessly given. Neither of them lads should be missing one of the games of their lives. It's silly and easily fixable.

After JT's slither last year and Mr Ovrebo's desperate need to go to a certain dispensary opticians, I found myself in a very strange state on Thursday morning. I felt sorry for Chelsea. Who'd have thought that all them multi-millions of quid ago!


  • 1. At 1:52pm on 07 May 2009, farringtongurney wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 1:53pm on 07 May 2009, modernbebster wrote:

    I totally agree. The way that Drogba threw himself around when he didn't get gifted the penalty he was so desperate to get was utter childish behaviour! I do feel Chelsea were somewhat robbed though
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  • 3. At 1:53pm on 07 May 2009, SecondcomingofEric wrote:

    Excellent assessment Robbo, I hate Chelsea but had to feel for them yesterday, shocking display.

    I do feel it cant be ignored the incident it's self as well as Didier's reaction after the match!

    Nce blog again Robbo!!!!


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  • 4. At 1:55pm on 07 May 2009, Tramp wrote:

    Cheers in the Highbury area when Barca scored. And not just from the Gooners still smarting from their humiliation on Tuesday (Danny Baker put it best when he said United were like a cat playing with a mouse.

    No, Chelsea are a terribly unattractive bunch - not just in football terms but also in terms of whining, diving, scowling and snarling. Their true natures were revealed at the final whilstle.

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  • 5. At 1:58pm on 07 May 2009, Eddy Cordoza wrote:

    Appeal one - initial pull outside the area; appeal two (on drogba) - no penalty; appeal three (pique handball) - penalty; appeal four (ballack shot/handball) - no penalty; Abidal red card - 50/50. It's not up to the referee to think 'ahh, I haven't given any of the previous three, I better give this one'. He judged each decision on its merits and, being honest, none of them were stonewall pens. He should have given the Pique one in my opinion but I'm guessing he was unsighted.

    I like your point about the TV companies getting all high and mighty about poor behaviour (before showing it again). It reminds me of the countless commentators who berate players for lack of respect for the officials, before slagging them off left, right and centre.

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  • 6. At 2:00pm on 07 May 2009, GazUtd wrote:

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  • 7. At 2:07pm on 07 May 2009, GazUtd wrote:

    Awwww. I thought it was funny!

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  • 8. At 2:08pm on 07 May 2009, craigray wrote:

    Sorry, I can't feel sorry for Chelsea at all. They stifled Barca. Effective it may have been (except they lost) but pretty it wasn't. They're an efficient but ugly team to watch these days and they've had enough dodgy decisions go their way in the past few years to get a dose of karma with extra Drogba for good measure.

    For the neutrals, at least, we've got a better chance of a decent final this year.

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  • 9. At 2:09pm on 07 May 2009, ANDREWS1987 wrote:

    180 minutes of defending your bound to come unstuck.

    Football rewards defending as much as attacking, but as a sport teams need to do both, not one or the other. This is the sole reason United deserve to win the final more than either team in that semi final.

    The bottom line is Drogba had the chance to wrap it up when Anelka unselfishly played a pin point pass to him and he ruined it.

    If, as some chelsea fans have stated Drogba felt guilty for getting sent off in last years final then he should feel even more guilty about missing that chance.

    A game of football finishes when the referee blows the final whistle, not when 90 minutes is up. Chelsea switched off and Barcelona punished them.

    The team who gets the winning result is the team that deserves its place in the final. Chelsea had chances and squandered them.

    Drogba is a disgrace. Ballack, Terry and Lampard reacted angrily, but walked away.

    The most important point for me, is why did no one pull Drogba away? His team mates should have shown more intelligence and got him away from the ref.

    Also John Terry's comments in defence of Drogba are pathetic. He should have kept his mouth shut.

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  • 10. At 2:09pm on 07 May 2009, flaspur wrote:

    as a sportsman first and foremost i SHOULD feel sorry for Chelsea but i am afraid i can't.

    the snarling faces of Terry, Ballack, Cole and Drogba appear all too often when things don't go their way and a huge dose of humility is in order. i am not a Lampard fan but respect to him for his dignified behaviour.

    will Chelsea learn from this experience once the fines are handed out? i doubt it. Terry, the captain and leader of his team, has already said Drogba was justified in his actions. what a captains example!

    it is these kinds of events (the action of Drogba and the endorsement of Terry) that are driving a wedge between fans and players. for the rest of us are constantly judged and our lives affected by our behaviour. talk to your boss, customer, work colleague like Drogba did last night and you will soon be out of work and unlikely to find another employer who will take you. but footballers are immune from it. they get huge fines (to us) that are a pittance to them and hardly cause a ripple. if they fall out with one club there is always another willing to take them no matter what their previous indiscretions (lee bowyer/joey barton). where is the sense of justice in the football world?

    what kind of example are these guys setting right now? do they have that obligation?

    whatever happened to the Respect campaign?

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  • 11. At 2:13pm on 07 May 2009, FrankSinclair wrote:

    What a surprise you find it impossible to write a faintly complimentary report about an outstanding team performance without your petty, snide and juvenile Chelsea antipathy. And the comments, "I hate Chelsea but......". How old are you? Just make your point - if you can string a couple of intelligible remarks together, it should be crystal clear you dont like Chelsea, are maybe at best a neutral and are supporting the opposition. Why spell it out? And as for Drogba - we are so in charge of our emotions that we can point the finger, carp and laugh at someone who clearly felt wronged. I left the ground last night naturally disappointed and justifiably angry. This was made worse by the sense of impotence from not being able to do anything about the poor refereeing and hoping that my and fellow Chelsea supporters indignation would find a voice in the British press. How very naive of me.

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  • 12. At 2:17pm on 07 May 2009, 1ronjaw wrote:

    Does anyone really think Man United will use different tactics?

    Like Chelsea, Utd's best attribute is their defence, so why would they look at Barcelona's 100+ goals this season, and think "with one of the best defences in the world, the best tactic for us is to all-out attack and leave our defence open"?

    I don't think so. This will play just like the Chelsea~Barcelona game, except when United get their chances, they will take them.

    It will not be a 5-4 like everyone around Europe seems to think it will be, touting it as "the final everyone wanted". It will be United defending in numbers and hitting them on the break.

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  • 13. At 2:17pm on 07 May 2009, invisiblesuperedward wrote:

    Rubbish! What do chelski expect for sitting with 11 men behind the ball for the combination of 180 minutes. Barca are on a differnet footballing planet to chelski and roman and hiddink can only dream of getting anywhere near them. You may all say that the premier league is the best in the world blah blah blah, thats only as our clubs are riddled with debt and brought in a load of foreigners. Look at the state of our national side, foreign coach, trying to get a foreign keeper. Its a joke. Barring an early man utd goal i firmly believe that barca shall be euro champs.

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  • 14. At 2:18pm on 07 May 2009, gormo7 wrote:

    Im not been funny but if i was playing in my County area cup semi-final and the exact same happened (i.e my team was robbed by the ref) i would have done exactly the same thing as Drogba and Ballack.

    Ok yes a County Area cup final is no where near the champions league final but at the end of the day its all Football, its what we all love and are passionate about.

    Ok yeah Drogba is disgusting in the way he goes down easier then Ron Jeremy, but atleast he didnt just say 'oh well never mind, maybe next year eh lads.'

    And before the haters start im not a chelsea fan, infact my team will be playing Robbos team in the championship next season. I just think that people need to lay off Drogba and the chelsea squad because at the end of the day, if you had been playing in that team last night you would have kicked off aswell!

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  • 15. At 2:19pm on 07 May 2009, tupper-of-the-track wrote:

    One more question about this numpty referee...
    Did he book Iniesta for taking his shirt off in celebration when scoring?
    And if not, why not?

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  • 16. At 2:19pm on 07 May 2009, john wrote:

    Interesting to read all the comments and its true that they (Chelsea) were a little unlucky to go out based solely on last nights performance - just as its true to say that they were lucky not to come away from the Nou Camp 3-0 down.

    But thats Football!!! Bad decisions occur in all games. Referees are only human. Chelsea DID NOT do enough to kill the game off and they paid few it. You cannot then act like a bunch of spoilt brats and blame a few bad decisions for your reasons for going out. Drogba should blame himself for not taking a golden opportunity at the Nou Camp BEFORE he blames the referee last night.

    As for the up coming final, its easy to write Barcelona off. But before you do, bear this in mind. Barcelona have played only one team all season long that play the way Chelsea do and that was Chelsea themselves. United are a team as strong as Chelsea defensively but more exciting going forward. Barca will be stronger and take a lot more self belief out of their Semifinal win than United will.

    This is the final all football wanted. The final between the two best teams in Europe and it will be very exciting.

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  • 17. At 2:23pm on 07 May 2009, Ferdinand wrote:

    Well Robbo the Blue Bell may have been quiet when Barca scored but the pub I was in (in Chelsea's home city of London!) went wild in almost universal celebration. Can any team have ever been so disliked? (OK, Leeds in the 70s probably on a par). Even in their home city!! Drogba's antics (both in this game and many before) played a part but very few fans like Ballack, Cashley Cole, Anelka, Lampard, Terry etc.. I think it was harsh to go out the way they did but few neutrals will shed tears. Karma.

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  • 18. At 2:25pm on 07 May 2009, Scottishscouser wrote:


    What do you expect mate? Drogba's antics have come back to haunt you. Yes the ref was poor, possibly 2 pens, more like 1 defo pen. You may have scored it you may not. However, you and your team's anger maybe should be directed at Drogba. It's his antics that cost you. He was up to it in the quarter final. Feined injury, rolled off the pitch, saw Liverpool were attacking, rolled back on to get game stopped. Classy eh, not. Drogba now knows what it's like to be cheated. I have sympathy for you, most Chelsea's fans but not him and those that defended him.

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  • 19. At 2:26pm on 07 May 2009, Purebreed wrote:

    Robbo, you should add in a bit about JT turning goalkeeper not too long ago and keeping Valdes in his arms for Chelsi to score the winner and see how many complained that they had bought the ref, nowt me thinks.
    Whatever, this is a triumph of good over bad, we can have a fresh and nice game come 27th May, hopefully Mr Drogba will be pleased with what he will see then and learn that he can't score from the sleeping position

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  • 20. At 2:26pm on 07 May 2009, mrpalba wrote:

    Spot on.
    Am Man U fan (never much liked Chelsea), and really wanted Barca to win, just to see how the Liga best compares with the (still ... just) Premier best.
    Watching the match tho', Chelsea out-and-out should've finished finalists, screwed by monumentally incompetent or snow-blinded officials.
    As you say, neither Fletcher nor Abidal should have been carded red - yellow at most. Both should play.

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  • 21. At 2:26pm on 07 May 2009, kevthered83 wrote:

    Why have all the comments been removed from McNultys blog???

    Anyway Im with you Robbo, I wanted Barca to win but felt a bit bad for Chelsea at the end.....Until the Drogbananas incident!

    Also about sky, what a disgrace from those pundits, cringeworthy television. Jamie Redknapp would be too poor a pundit for Setanta and Channel 5!!!!

    Oh well, champions of England V Champions of Spain...bring on the final!!!!

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  • 22. At 2:26pm on 07 May 2009, wingcommanderthrush wrote:

    Football rewards defending as much as attacking, but as a sport teams need to do both, not one or the other. This is the sole reason United deserve to win the final more than either team in that semi final.


    United attacked because Arsenal play an open game, they played exactly the same way Chelsea did when they played Barca in last years semi - the only difference Barca didn't sneak a late equaliser last year. If Barca had played Arsenal they would have done what they did to Real. Utd will try to stifle Barca in the final because if you don't you play to their strengths. Also you don't win a final based on your semi final performance do you. Don't expect a classic, big matches like this rarely deliver, the best finals are the ones where one team is unfancied. Like West Ham in 2006 FA Cup, Liverpool in 2005 CL, Alaves in 2001 Uefa. Those teams had nothing to lose and went for it, when two big sides play each other they don't have that mentality.

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  • 23. At 2:32pm on 07 May 2009, KingCobra1986 wrote:

    In any other sport Ballacks and Drogbas and now terry's condoning of their actions would not be tolerated. So either video technology must be brought in which will stop all the childish and thuggish behavior witnessed last night or something must be done about caliber of player that plays the game at the highest level

    Ronaldo, Rooney, Ferdinand, Drogba, Terry, Frabregas, Gallas, Mascherano, Carragher all top class players with great clubs and all either divers/cheats or verbally abusive in the extreme to officials.

    It needs to stop.

    As for the game two dodgy decisions one in favour of Chelsea in the sending off the other against in the form of Piques blatant handball. I think apart from them two howlers the refs performance was average...........certainly not the worst I have seen.

    I feel sorry for any players of fans that loose in such a way my first reaction was to shout "That's heartbreaking" then laugh uncontrollable as I'm a Liverpool supporter but Chelsea played defensively as they knew that Barca could rip them apart if they didn't and with only one goal in it(which they got through a wonder strike) it was always a danger they would score as they proved. Chelsea are one of the best defensive teams around and anyone would struggle to break them down when they choose to play this way. But Barca proved why they were so feared to begin with a lovely goal right at the death.

    Maybe I am crazy they were at home last night and barca still passed rings around them had 70% possession and had a few chances albeit not clear cut. That doesn't sound to me like Chelsea were robbed or deserved to be in the final. It sound's like they tried a risky tactic and it failed.

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  • 24. At 2:32pm on 07 May 2009, maureensheg wrote:

    I am surprised at the level of criticism levelled at Drogba, when light is made of the incompetent refering or better still, confused refering by the norwegian official.

    On the part of Drogba, I feel football will not be as entertaining as it is without EMOTION. We criticise players, such as Barbatov or even coaches such as Sven Ericson as being boring and emotionless. Besides, football is a high risk profession and any minor mishap could maim the player for life. Thus, to have put in so much and be robbed so calously by a referee is injustice. I believe referees also should be punished for such blatant incompetence, if players, coaches, or teams always are.

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  • 25. At 2:35pm on 07 May 2009, Bigdog wrote:

    Chelsea supporter at the match last night.
    I have watched Chelsea gain and lose from bad refereeing decisions and, over a season, I have a philosophy that they even out. I have also been (very briefly) a referee for under 8's (very difficult and not a job I envy). So, you have to put up with the odd bad refereeing decision as part of the game in my opinion. BUT, this referee made so many - for Barca, the sending off was harsh, for us I think we deserved at least 2 penalties. I am normally full of respect for opposition players and the officials but I admit I booed this ref both during play and as he left it. He had a shocker in my opinion and both teams will suffer from it (Barca in the final).

    As to Drogba and Ballack in particular, this was inexcusable behaviour, but it doesn't alter the fact that game was materially affected by the poor refereeing even though it might be overshadowed by their behaviour.

    Having said all that, Drogba could and should have finished it off in either tie with clear cut chances, and his histrionics didn't help the cause one bit.

    There you go, I think I've been fair to all sides, except that referee - now if I could just get him in a dark alley ...... just kidding! :-)

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  • 26. At 2:35pm on 07 May 2009, chippy23dec78 wrote:

    Feel sorry for Fletcher but can't agree with rescinding cards just so that players can play in the final Robbo. Why change the rules just because it's the final? Players have missed semi-finals in the past because of cards unjustly picked up in the quarter finals. How many teams have been weakened at some time in the competition due to dodgy cards leading to suspensions? It would have been fairer to all teams to have implemented a rule change at the start of the champions league.

    Also, would Barcelona have agreed to Fletcher playing, if they'd not had a red card themselves to contest? If we want UEFA to overturn a ref's wrong decision in this case, why shouldn't we expect them to consider other wrong decisions such as Chelsea's (and in the first leg, Barcelona's) denied penalties with the help of video technology? Until UEFA/FIFA go down that road, they can continue to hide behind referees and we'll continue to moan about poor decisions. This time it was Chelsea, probably more painful because they were so near to getting to the final. Next time it could be our teams that suffer.

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  • 27. At 2:36pm on 07 May 2009, Chad Secksington wrote:

    The Malouda "penalty" was never a penalty, the Drogba one was one of them that Andy Gray calls very very harsh when they're given and absolutely stonewall (what does that mean?) when they're not, everyone's seen them given as many times as they've eeen them turned down, the Pique handball was a penalty, the last one has hit the top of his arm after coming off his chest all the while with his head turned, I've seen bigger injustices regularly this season. Abidal's sending off was an absolute joke.

    There were 2 unarguably wrong decisions the Abidal sending off and the Pique handball, the rest are at worst arguable, the Malouda one is honestly a red herring, if that was a pen I'm Guus Hiddink. At the end of the day Chelsea got bitten on the behind for not going for it a bit more and trying to sit on one goal, which was always a risk against a side like Barcelona, who while they're not as good as sections of the media would have us believe are good enough to nick a goal away from home, it's happened to better teams in the past and it will again in the future. In their heart of hearts Chelsea must know that.

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  • 28. At 2:36pm on 07 May 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 29. At 2:37pm on 07 May 2009, Valderramas_boots wrote:

    At the end of the day the conspiracy theories are RIDICULOUS!

    I think Chelsea fans will always look for an excuse, yes half of them were 100% penalties, but they could of won it with the other chances they had, particularly the Drogba opportunity.

    And if it was such a conspiracy, then UEFA did leave it rather late for that Barca final goal. What a goal I must add. Infact both goals were superb.

    At the end of the day, you win some, you lose some. You've got to live with it, and there are many other way's of complaining. Shouting at a T.V screen isn't gonna do anything!!

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  • 30. At 2:37pm on 07 May 2009, hwknowles wrote:

    The basic problem in football is that biassed, and even neutral, observers should recognise that a really serious referee should not condition his decisions by those he has taken before. A doubful decision taken is no justification for sympathetic credit for the side which "suffered" from it. Three possible (or even probable) penalties do not mean that the fourth possibility should be automatically conceded.
    But neither does this mean that there is no justification for insisting that investigations be made into Mr. Ovrebo's eyesight, blinkers and qualifications.

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  • 31. At 2:37pm on 07 May 2009, mr_big_nose wrote:

    Agreed, Chelsea were robbed. Only have themselves to blame though. The amount of times Drogba went to ground looking for freekickc/penalties was disgraceful. its cheating. no wonder the ref was reluctant to give decisions Chelsea's way.

    on the other hand though, disagree that Chelsea defended the whole game, they looked the more attacking force of the two teams, whenever going forward they looked like they could score. Barca never never looked dangerous, just nice passing and moving retaining possession but doing much with it. final will be a belter

    Abidal shouldn't have been sent off. never a foul

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  • 32. At 2:38pm on 07 May 2009, 1ronjaw wrote:

    Didn't here Chelsea fans complaining when Malouda did a mid air Gymnastics move in front of Finnan and Rob Styles awarded a penalty at Anfield, which Lampard dispatched and celebrated as if he'd got the draw all by himself.

    Styles still ref's the premiership, so don't expect Ovredo to get banned for more than 1 game.

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  • 33. At 2:38pm on 07 May 2009, LampsRightPeg wrote:

    Why do people fail to realise that the reason Chelsea shut up shop in the Nou Camp is because if you try to play an open and expansive game against Barcelona, they are more than likely going to rip you to shreds... just ask Real!!

    The other thing that nobody (except Robbo) mentions is that for all their pretty football and endless possession, Barcelona were pretty toothless last night. They had one shot on target all night! In that respect, Hiddinks tactics were 60 seconds from being fully justified. His job is to be successful and if that means nullifying an admittedly better team, then so be it.

    Manchester United will probably employ similar defensive tactics in the final, with the small difference being that they can break with breathtaking pace. If Rooney, Ronaldo and co get the chances Chelsea got last night, you could bet your house they'll take a couple. I cant see Barca beating United.

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  • 34. At 2:42pm on 07 May 2009, superPOOL2008 wrote:

    Liverpool fan here - Drogba is a cheat and the way he reacted was not on - I hear that Uefa may consider banning Chelsea from next years competition - So Platani has got everything he wants - the 'dream' final and possibly one less English team next year - thus reducing the chance of an all english final next year at wembley by 25%.

    Even with Drogba's harrassement of the ref and diving (that we have all have grown a custom to) - Chelsea were robbed - The ref did not have a clue.

    Football is huge business and we need to bring in TV replays - otherwise we might loose some of this big sponsorship that makes the PL what it is today!!

    Hate to say this -but I think Man U will be too strong for Barca - unless there is another dodgy ref that takes the CL out of English hands!!

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  • 35. At 2:43pm on 07 May 2009, steve wrote:

    Nice blog Robbo.
    Perhaps if Chelsea had shown the same degree of urgency for 90 minutes that they showed after the equaliser the debate here would be academic. The referee did have a diabolical game and in my view his biggest failing was not booking Ballack for his agressive remonstrations after the last penalty shout.
    Referees and officials can have bad games and last night they had a shocker, this doesnt however condone the behaviour of Drogba et al after the whistle. How many matches has he influenced with his feining over the years and how much more difficult does it then make the job of the officals to separate truth from fiction? Players expectations of officials are unrealistic and week in week out I watch games where the initial view of something is a cast iron decision one way or another, an alternate angle or slow motion however shows that the reality is very different. Officials need to have confidence in their convictions when making a decision and players who cheat or are confrontational do not help their cause with the officials.
    Chelsea needed to put the game beyond doubt and in failing to do this left it open for Barca to nick it.
    I would have liked to have a Chelsea Man U final again purely from the 'bragging rights' it gives the Premiership in europe. The final now scheduled however does offer a far more appealing clash.

    Chelsea players need to take a leaf from rugby union in terms of discipline and respect for officials, perhaps then the neutral viewer will have more sympathy if they are hard done by.

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  • 36. At 2:43pm on 07 May 2009, Scottishscouser wrote:

    absolutely stonewall (what does that mean?
    It's one of those sayings that pundits use to try to fool people that they have an extensive vocabularly of analogies and cliches.

    Like half a yard
    The onion bag
    The back stick

    all very irritating.

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  • 37. At 2:44pm on 07 May 2009, Maradona wrote:

    I'm afraid that even to a neutral like me, Chelsea were absolutely robbed of two penalties last night. However, people seem to be highlighting this more than the referee's general performance, which was absolutely shocking. He made awful decisions all over the pitch, giving fouls where there weren't and not giving them when they were. One in particular on Messi when running at Chelsea's area was a dreadful decision. However, if there were a "rub of the green"ometer then clearly Barca got the majority of decisions their way.

    Simply, the referee cost football the right result in my opinion. Chelsea were the better attacking force over the two legs (possession does not constitute attacking, shots on target do), and the better defensive team on display. Barca are VERY lucky to have made it this far encountering a poor Lyon side (first time they've not won the league by now in 5 years), a really poor Bayern side and then getting their first English side in the semis.

    They'll be absolutely murdered by United, a la Milan 1994.

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  • 38. At 2:44pm on 07 May 2009, Tatloaf wrote:

    The reaction of Drogba at the end and Ballack after the last penalty was turned down were shocking, I thought Ballack was worse and probably should have been sent off. However, anybody who cant understand the reactions have clearly never played football, even in the park!

    Yes Drogba should have scored on 52 mins but missed chances will happen in every single game at every level. What wont happen in every game at every level is a referee miss two absoloute stonewall pens (Pique and Drogba foul), one that he gave a free kick for that should have been a pen and the last one could have been given (although personally I think that would have been harsh). Couple that with a shocking sending off of Abidal (who I dont really have sympathy for as he should have been sent off for the Drogba 'Penalty'), along with not sending off Iniesta when he took his shirt off having been booked (petty but still the rules) you would have to agree with Hiddink. This was clearly the worst refereeing display I have EVER seen by a guy clearly out of his depth.

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  • 39. At 2:45pm on 07 May 2009, dodiesmith wrote:

    Never EVER thought I would be sorry that Chelsea was a riveting game from my point of view. I am Liverpool fan...but of course support any English premier league team in this situation. However, know that ManU and Barcelona will be a much more exciting game in the world, sad to say...
    After holding Barca for 90 minutes, then a goal in extra extra time.... Chelsea did not win in regular time. Poor consolation, I know...but at one point I felt the ref would keep the game going until Barcelona scored....!!!!! the minutes seemed to be ticking away like crazy.

    Let it be...Didier. You played with heart. Some of us understand.

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  • 40. At 2:46pm on 07 May 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Time is healing any great hurt on behalf of the Blues but, on this occasion it's very very clear that they were denied at least a couple of goals and the ref had a shocker. In fact the ref bears more than a passing resemblance to that Scream picture which I'm told was painted by a Norwegian n all. Drogba probably sees that face screeching every time he closes his eyes. I'd be more than happy if the defeat was just but it wasn't. Which is not to say I'm looking forward to the final cos it'll miles better without Prince Didi.

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  • 41. At 2:49pm on 07 May 2009, shinyAllspark wrote:

    Dodgy decisions cost games in virtually every single sport but only in Football do you get a) the kind of reaction Drogba had and b) people actually justifying it.

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  • 42. At 2:49pm on 07 May 2009, kevthered83 wrote:

    I think the ref looks like Ray Wilkins!

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  • 43. At 2:50pm on 07 May 2009, Tieshredder wrote:

    Alright, four very good shouts for a penalty all turned down is very hard to take; the referee was indeed atrocious last night. But the fact is Chelsea are authors of their own misery.

    Drogba flinging himself on the turf like a sniper's just taken him out from a director's box is rapidly becoming one of the most unedifying sights in football. If he concentrated more on doing the job he's paid to do i.e. scoring goals, Chelsea would be in the final now. His failure to kill the game off at 1-0 is at least as much to do with Chelsea's elimination as poor refereeing. Alternatively he could have squared an easy ball to Essien which would have left the African with the simplest of tap-ins. Again, Drogba took the wrong option.

    Barcelona played poorly last night. Their one and only shot on target came in the 92nd minute, and their crossing was abysmal. Chelsea will never have a better opportunity to win a Champions League semi-final tie. Yet they failed to do so because they lost their concentration at key moments. I admit they defended superbly up to the goal but football is a 90+ game. Essien's weak clearance and Ballack's desertion of Iniesta resulted in the goal, which although brilliantly finished was totally avoidable. And the fact that Chelsea only had one (home) goal to show for their efforts left them vulnerable to just this kind of knock-out blow.

    I won't jump on the 'anti-football' bandwagon; teams are absolutely within their rights to deploy whatever tactics they believe will bring a positive result. However, such tactics are very risky; in surrendering possession, you need a pretty thick slice of luck to be successful, no matter how well-organised you are. Chelsea's reluctance to go and kill the game off against a side playing much of the 2nd half with 10 men cost them their place in the final.

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  • 44. At 2:50pm on 07 May 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    If it was Ray Wilkins he'd have only passed the decision on to someone else in a sideways direction. Always a sideways direction.

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  • 45. At 2:52pm on 07 May 2009, Maradona wrote:

    I'm sure the ref's a smashing chap, a lovely bloke and smashing off the pitch.

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  • 46. At 2:52pm on 07 May 2009, queenrichy7 wrote:

    Poor Chelsea should sue UEFA for hundreds of millions of euros.
    That hand ball in the penalty area was a PENALTY. No questions asked.
    Sue UEFA for deliberatley sending a clown to referee or for conspiracy.

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  • 47. At 2:53pm on 07 May 2009, Scottishscouser wrote:

    Time is healing any great hurt on behalf of the Blues but, on this occasion it's very very clear that they were denied at least a couple of goals
    Robbo, I think you mean penalties denied! Who is to say they would score them? Sami Hyypia denied blatent pen in last season's semi. McNulty banged on this morning about Chelsea's lack of luck in Champs league semis in particular Garcia's 'ghost goal.' Perhaps if he thought about the luck they received when a penalty wasn't awarded and cech stayed on the pitch he may think differently. But I wouldn't expect a journo to think past his own ramblings.

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  • 48. At 2:53pm on 07 May 2009, queenrichy7 wrote:

    Drogba can complain all he wants but he cost Chelsea the finals,
    this time and last year. That sitter he missed was a disgrace.

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  • 49. At 2:54pm on 07 May 2009, kevthered83 wrote:

    Ive seen that ref many times before and he usually has excellent games, I guess that makes it harder to take for Chelsea fans for his performance last night and further fuels the conspiracy theories!

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  • 50. At 2:57pm on 07 May 2009, eldemaj wrote:

    We didn't hear a peep out of Barcelona after the consensus missed penalty on Henry in the first leg....I expect this can be explained by the fact that a team of that superior talent expects to score and score regularly regardless of the officiating environment.....Robbo, I guess that 75% did amount to something after all; whatever the circumstances, Barcelona will play in the final!!

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  • 51. At 2:57pm on 07 May 2009, RedWhiteandermblue wrote:

    Fact is football refs are by and large pretty miserable. In the US they range from wretched (NFL) to competent (basketball and hockey) to verging on downright good (baseball). It's the result of the system they're trained with. Baseball officials are very well-paid, full-time professionals who have to work their way up from the minor leagues and keep passing evaluations. NFL officials are accountants spending a day off ruining popular games.

    And Pique's handball was nowhere near as bad as the one the Germans pulled against the US in the I am, obviously keeping the ball out of the goal with my arm, but sort of slightly pretending that I'm not really looking at the ball while I'm doing it so it's not exactly "intentional"... Utter garbage. If you ask me, this whole intentionality component just muddies the waters. If a player can kick the ball into another's arm, good for him...

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  • 52. At 2:58pm on 07 May 2009, mattgeordiecat wrote:

    Great post Robbo, I agree with the vast majority of it.

    A couple of points though.

    1) Drogba has no right to call the referee a disgrace - Didier is a disgrace himself for his constant flopping about, but more importantly, FOR MISSING THE CHANCE THAT WOULD HAVE PUT HIS SIDE IN THE FINAL!!! Didier need not look no further than himself for any blame as to why he will be sat on his backside on May 27th.

    2) Strip John Terry of the England and Chelsea captaincy immediately. Shocking words this morning;

    "I am fully behind Didier for the way he reacted," declared Terry. "The man wants to win. You can see the passion that he played with during the game and the passion afterwards".

    So much passion that he limps off injured, only to chase the referee around like a madman at full time???!!!

    How can the England captain condone that horrendous behaviour??

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  • 53. At 3:00pm on 07 May 2009, JCC wrote:

    Let's talk facts. Over the two games Barca had 34 shots and Chelsea 15 of these Barca had 7 on target and Chelsea 5. So pretty close there. Possession, Barca had 64% over the two games and Chelsea 36%, so that's Barcas. Passing completion is Barca 82% and Chelsea 60%, which is to be expected. Penalty claims, Chelsea have 4 and Barca 2. So a pretty even tie overall and not so unusual to be decided by such a tight margin as an away goal. Why are Chelsea fans moaning, they had a bit of bad luck but were not the best team it was infact too close to call but a bit of Messi magic, four palyers rushed at him and a brilliant stike (remember in the Nou Camp Chelsea only had one shot on target, Barca just scored with theirs at the Bridge and that is the difference).

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  • 54. At 3:00pm on 07 May 2009, pitroddieloon wrote:

    How can Barca be the best team in the world when in 4 games against English opposition they haven't created one clear cut chance?

    All they do is pass it about in the middle of the park? To be good at football you need to win.

    Everyone's saying 'oh english tactics is anti-football'. The fact is Chelsea had 6 shots on target, but for Iniesta's brilliance, Barca created nothing. At all.

    They were dire last night. Chelsea defended well and got forward more. Better team. Simples.

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  • 55. At 3:01pm on 07 May 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Chelsea were robbed, simple as... All these "Neutrals" who seem to think that Chelsea deserved to go out as they didn't let Barca play and score goals are idiots... Defending and Attacking are 2 sides of the same coin. And as for this Barca were better as they had more possesion malarky, if this were the case in football that possesion equates to glory Arsenal would not be baron of trophies for the last 5 years... As for Drogba, a bit of a tit granted but i do sympaphise with the fella...

    Oh and Robbo, quality as ever mush... Hope Utd squash Barca in the final!

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  • 56. At 3:02pm on 07 May 2009, kopiteking wrote:

    hey robbo that pique handball was no more a penalty than the shocking double handball at the riverside by vidic and berbatov last weekend which was not given against united when boro were only 1-0 down un'all, do feel a little bad for chelsea as a liverpool fan i felt they had the better chance of beating united lets just hope barca pull it out for the final, great blog as always robbo you're the only guy on the beeb saying how it was for that game everyone else is jumping on the 3 or 4 penalties bandwagon where lets be honest only the pique one was a cert!

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  • 57. At 3:04pm on 07 May 2009, McBurns72 wrote:

    Everyones on their high horse saying how some of the Chelsea fews reactions were a disgrace as they sit back in their armchairs. Yet no-ones filming and critising you going mental just because someones cut you up driving to the shops. This is a moment of their career that can never be replace due to the actions of another person. You try standing by the pitch and going 'Thanks ref, nice game!'

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  • 58. At 3:05pm on 07 May 2009, MostonHead wrote:

    I loved it, i dont believe a team without morals should go through to a major final, especially not by boring whineing football, the chances were there to be taken and they couldnt finish. Atleast this year it will be a football match and not the Uniteds lads gettin spat on and kicked left right and center!

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  • 59. At 3:05pm on 07 May 2009, pitroddieloon wrote:

    Also Messi is perhaps the most over rated player i have ever seen. if he wants to learn how to influence a match he'd do worse that watch ronaldo's performance against arsenal.

    Ronaldo comes up against big teams, your milans, your chelsea's, your inter's, your roma's etc. etc. and turns the game.

    In each of the big champions league games Messi has been in he has done nothing. To be the best you need to beat the best.

    Talented, but over rated at the moment. Clearly

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  • 60. At 3:05pm on 07 May 2009, dixon993 wrote:

    If the ref is consistant, how can he be that bad? As long as he is as crap for both teams, there isnt really much that can be argued? It was nice to see that didi-dumdums injury healed quick enough for him to spit his dummy out

    Also, if chelsea hadn't sat on 1-0 and hoped, this sort of thing wouldnt have happened.

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  • 61. At 3:06pm on 07 May 2009, kinraddie wrote:

    One great positive in the semi's we should all admire, was Fletcher's acceptance of his dubious red card. I can't say enough how I admired his acceptance. Straight away his face showed that he new that hopes and ambition of playing in the final had gone. He turned and walked off the pitch with great dignity. This was a moment that should be replayed as a role model for all footballers. He is a fiery player who puts his self about, and yet at that moment he brought to my mind Kiplings poem "If" and the lines " If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two imposter's just the same" Good on yur! lad.

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  • 62. At 3:11pm on 07 May 2009, chippy23dec78 wrote:

    I think post 51's got a point. ("this whole intentionality component just muddies the waters, If a player can kick the ball into another's arm, good for him..."). In hockey, for instance, if the ball hits the foot, intentional or not, the ref gives a free hit or penalty corner.

    The only decision a footie ref then has to make is has the ball hit the arm or not. As for it possibly being unsporting to aim at the arm to get a free kick, it's no less unsporting than a defender shepherding a ball out of play like he's a doorman holding back an army of women trying to burst into a department store at the start of the sales, or the keeper coming for a ball with outstretched leg like Cato jumping out of a fridge to attack the Pink Panther.

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  • 63. At 3:11pm on 07 May 2009, aec1902 wrote:

    if i was the ref i wouldn't be having no sushi

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  • 64. At 3:15pm on 07 May 2009, shinyAllspark wrote:

    You try standing by the pitch and going 'Thanks ref, nice game!'
    Or alternatively you take your grievances off the field or not take them out on the camera man aswell.....................

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  • 65. At 3:16pm on 07 May 2009, Broscombe wrote:

    The refereeing in this game stank to high heaven. It was a throwback to the bent refreeing we got from refs bought by Spanish & Italian sides in European Cup days. If you were from Britian, Scandinavia or Eastern Europe you played against 12 men. No one could be that bad and so against the home side unless he was leant on by some top-suit in EUFA. I see he has been gagged, the BBc ludicrously speculates this is because of impending action against Chelsea players. But obviously this is EUFA's usual wall of silence approach, dare the ref ignore them and speak the truth? Compare this ref to the Italian who gave everything at the Emirates, this is the usual type of reffing in Europe, the ref at the Bridge had been got at!

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  • 66. At 3:16pm on 07 May 2009, flaspur wrote:

    Everyones on their high horse saying how some of the Chelsea fews reactions were a disgrace as they sit back in their armchairs. Yet no-ones filming and critising you going mental just because someones cut you up driving to the shops. This is a moment of their career that can never be replace due to the actions of another person. You try standing by the pitch and going 'Thanks ref, nice game!'

    Darren Fletcher?

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  • 67. At 3:18pm on 07 May 2009, Ferdinand wrote:

    Ref "52" questioning John Terry as England captain.

    I couldn't agree more but then I could never understand how he got the job in the first place. This is the man who allegedly parked his Bentley in a disabled person's spot! We all see his behaviour with refs week in week out. Like a mad dog. Terrible role model. That said who else could it be - Stevie Me or drugs cheat Ferdinand? Maybe Joey Barton!

    Football is currently an interesting paradox - it has rarely been more popular/more exciting. Yet the players plumb depths of behaviour which would shame ASBOs. No wonder kids misbehave - on sports fields and on the streets. Drogba and Ballack should be banned from Europe for a season and Terry dropped from England team.

    Someone must make a stand and send a message.

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  • 68. At 3:18pm on 07 May 2009, JCC wrote:

    Drogba, what a plonker: He missed two really good chances, one in Barca and one last night. This is especailly bad in a game of very few chances. He then spent so much time rolling around feigning injury and claiming penalties (Toure's tackle was ace) that the ref added 4 mins at the end. This of course gave Barca the time they needed to equalise. So there really is only one culprit and it is not the referee, it is the man in flip flops swearing into the camera and blaming everyone but himself. Drogabolical!

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  • 69. At 3:19pm on 07 May 2009, The_Master wrote:

    What a captain the England National team have??? Disgraceful from Terry to support Drogba and Ballack on their shameful outburst. Utter disgrace.
    Cappelo give the armband to someone else.

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  • 70. At 3:19pm on 07 May 2009, TimeWorm wrote:

    Its not only UEFA who didn't want Chelsea in the final, it was pretty much everybody not associated with Chelsea Football Club, and this is proved by the bias against Chelsea appearing in the media, and I don't really understand it.

    Being a 22 year old lad who plays center half week in week out at a very amateur level, it was a joy to watch Chelsea defend like that, and restrict Barcelona (who lets not forget are banging them in) to one shot on target all game. Had United or Liverpool done the same thing against Barca no doubt the media would be hailing and praising their 'They Shall Not Pass' ethic in the game. Benitez and Fergie would have been hailed as tactical geniuses. Not to mention if those penalty claims had been against Torres or Rooney then the media and public opinion would have been of a definatly more 'English Club Robbed' persuasion.

    As it is there are very few 'pro - Chelsea' pundits out there (aside from Souness last night on SKY), and all these things are overlooked, focusing more on 'boring' Chelsea and Ballack and Drogbas antics. At the end of the day you could say that Chelsea had chances to put the tie to rest, put they also should of had four penalties and as Frank Lampard says 'I probably would have scored one of them'.

    I think a good way to look at it is to put those decisions in context of your team that you support. Say they were fighting relegation / pushing for play offs or Europe and that was their must win game. And you drew 1-1 with four blatent penalties not given, you'd be livid. I know if those decisions went against Southend I couldn't bear it.

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  • 71. At 3:19pm on 07 May 2009, soccerlifer wrote:

    Bitter pill for Chelsea and their fans to swallow, but they didn't do enough to kill off the game even though they were the better side on the day. But if you give a decent side 70% of possession they are likely to get something out of it - even if it happens at the tale end of the 90 minutes. As for the penalty decisions, Pique's handball was the one really clear incident. The Alves foul on Malouda could have gone either way, depending on the ref's interpretation of when the foul occured. There was definitely lots of contact outside the area before Malouda went down. Drogba's claim would have been a really soft call, and the Eto'o handball at the end was definitely not a penalty - is arms were at his side and he jumped and turned his back to the ball.
    Chelsea should look at two incidents that explain why they won't be in Rome:

    1) Drogba had a great chance to make it 2-0 in the 2nd half but shot straight at Valdez
    2) Essien completely fluffed his clearance after Eto'o's heavy first touch in injury time. The ball fell to Messi who fed Iniesta for the late goal. A better contact from Essien and it would be a different story.

    Anyway, kudos to Barca for hanging in there.

    As for Man U v Arsenal, well, that was just men vs. boys. But all those comments about Almunia forgetting about the England no.1 shirt on account of letting in Ronaldo's free kick are just not right. That was no worse than anything David James as done this season - remember Bendtner's header slipping thru his fingers at Fratton Park last week?

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  • 72. At 3:20pm on 07 May 2009, Scottishscouser wrote:

    Everyones on their high horse saying how some of the Chelsea fews reactions were a disgrace as they sit back in their armchairs. Yet no-ones filming and critising you going mental just because someones cut you up driving to the shops. This is a moment of their career that can never be replace due to the actions of another person. You try standing by the pitch and going 'Thanks ref, nice game!'
    It the hypocissy of Drogba that's getting people's backs up. He's cheated his way through his spell in the Prem and it's come back to bite him. Shame Chelsea fans can't see it and direct their blame at him. Drogba's the reason you are not going to Rome! It's also a shame Chelsea fans are not mentioning 29 fouls committed by Liverpool in the qurters. What the stats fail to show was that it was 20 times Chelsea players conned the ref.

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  • 73. At 3:21pm on 07 May 2009, pitroddieloon wrote:

    honestly, when it really matters, what has messi ever done?

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  • 74. At 3:22pm on 07 May 2009, BarcelonIan wrote:

    After more than 20 years living in Catalonia I have come to love the skill displayed by so many Spanish teams over the years. I still love the hard non-stop EPL games as do most football lovers here.

    I find it very ironical that so many people back home criticised Barca's players for their inability to stay on their feet and their harrying of the referee in a "man's game". Many were worried that the ref would give in to their play-acting when near the box looking for free kicks and penalties. But the ref didn't give in to them yesterday when the main culprits were Drogba and fiends. Enough people have made very intelligent comments about this.

    I just want to say that I feel very proud that my now local team played a brave game trying to break down the type of defense that is more usual of bottom of the Liga teams but with better players. Barcelona is a very big club in world terms and have been able to buy top players throughout their history but in the two legs against Chelsea have used Valdes, Puyol, Pique, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Busquets and Bojan who have all come through their youth schemes. How many other top 10 world club teams can claim that? Cesc was one that got away.

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  • 75. At 3:23pm on 07 May 2009, luckymjenko wrote:

    Sooner or later managers, players and fans will have to accept that as long as humans are involved in football there will errors. For my money the ref made serious one last night Piques blatant handball.
    The likes of Drogba make laugh- heres a guy that is paid over £100,000 per week and spends the majority of his time trying to con the officials how many errors did he make last night plenty and one of them cost his team the tie. Much of the antics are actually condoned by the pundits he used all his experience there. I also love the old one ah, it was on his weaker foot. His weaker foot !!!!! on these guys salaries give me strength !
    I think that the players should have a good look a themselves first a more processional and honest approach from them would be a start and help in cutting down on major errors.

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  • 76. At 3:23pm on 07 May 2009, Tess Sgs wrote:

    #15, yes, Iniesta WAS booked for taking his shirt off. It may not show it on the BBC write-up, but it definitely does on the Barcelona website.

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  • 77. At 3:23pm on 07 May 2009, Vox Populi wrote:

    I think the criticism of Chelsea is over the top.

    It seems that a high profile professional footballer only has to look at someone in a funny way and it's a 'disgrace', and 'obscene'.

    Chelsea had some clear cut penalty shouts turned down. It was the semi final of the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, not the semi final of the Kiddies Amateur Crapshire Tinpot Cup. The reaction of Drogba, Terry and Ballack was understandable. They might never get a chance to play in a game as big as that ever again, particularly Ballack.

    The biggest disgrace this week were the antics of Niklas Bendtner in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

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  • 78. At 3:24pm on 07 May 2009, MAC 606 wrote:

    Post 53, I'm not sure of your source for your info, but yes the numbers you've mentioned seem pretty accurate. But are you (and a few others on this blog)telling me that football should be won by the team who plays best and if that tactic isn't working just change the rules of football until that team wins??? I don't support Chelsea, but even I can see when a team has been robbed of a victory.

    When people keep saying they played better is doesn't mean anything! What has that got to do with winning on fair grounds! They shouldn't have won full stop. If all games were refereed by that guy last night, Arsenal would be on their way to a 5th successive prem title! But that's hasn't happened, and it shouldn't either if they cannot adapt to another teams tactics.

    I personally think that some of these big games just seem to have far too many dodgy decisions that even when it's not my team, it feels uncomfortable watching it, as it just doesn't seem right!

    What Drogba did was wrong, but again... why is he being singled out??? Yes he was the only one to say one swear word, it's not like nobody has never heard the same or worse on TV. He is annoying yes, but people seem to be concentrating too much on this rather than the dodgy decisions made. Ballack himself wasn't even an ambassador for Chelsea, but I can understand all their frustrations. If it had happened to anyone elses team I doubt there would be so much blind ignorance here.

    I wanted a Man u v Barc final like many neutrals but if something like last night has to happen before it comes true then there's something seriously wrong in the game.

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  • 79. At 3:24pm on 07 May 2009, Tess Sgs wrote:

    #65 - "the ref at the Bridge had been got at!"

    And that's why he sent Abidal off with over 20 minutes left to play?

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  • 80. At 3:27pm on 07 May 2009, killakali wrote:

    IMHO, when barca went ten-men down, Chelsea should have tried going in for the kill.

    As for United-Barca, I fancy a 3-1 win to the Red Devils. barca's back line in rome will look like that young Arsenal striker' pants-less night out in town. No Gabriel Milito, Rafael Marquez, Eric Abidal, and Daniel Alves.

    Pep is also still sweating on Henry, whom Spanish papers say could miss the final because of a worse-than-expected ligament injury.

    Their only legit centrebacks - Puyol and Pique - have no pace. Puyol has been relegated as a second-choice squad member under Pep.

    In the aerial battles, Pique and Toure face Ronaldo and Vidic, arguably two of the deadliest headers of the ball in Europe this season.

    Barca are a rich man's Arsenal.

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  • 81. At 3:28pm on 07 May 2009, BarcelonIan wrote:

    Robbo; thanks for the blogs and for reminding us about the basics. the millionaires are just part of football, they have a responsibility to football lovers all over and we should be respected. That's why Guardiola wasn't prepared to have Ronaldinho in his team

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  • 82. At 3:28pm on 07 May 2009, Tess Sgs wrote:

    Robbo said "the shirt tug should be enough to award the penalty" - agreed, but be honest, when was the last time you ever saw one given? We were racking our brains last night and can't remember.

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  • 83. At 3:30pm on 07 May 2009, Scottishscouser wrote:

    The biggest disgrace this week were the antics of Niklas Bendtner in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
    Why, who has he offended? No one! Get a grip he is a young man who made a mistake. Drogba is hypocritical (he cheats and is a disgrace himsel) and in front of the whole world reinforces may of the preconceptions other Europeans have of England. Swearing into the camera, aggressive behaviour towards the ref. Bendtner let himsel down, Drogba let chelsea down and you lot can't see it.

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  • 84. At 3:30pm on 07 May 2009, BlueCapricorn13 wrote:

    As arguments go, there are some pretty pathetic ones on here today.

    Speaking as a Chelsea supporter, I don't think anyone outside Stamford Bridge doubts that the final will be a better spectacle for Chelsea's absence (although my own belief is that United have far too much quality across the pitch to be cut apart by a Barcelona team who, for all their beautiful passing, were shocking in defence last night and have looked poor in their own third of the pitch all season).

    What I don't understand - and have never understood - is this puerile hatred of another English team which, as far as I can tell, is based entirely on the fact that either the club in question finds itself in a position of wealth or, more often, employs a player whose services are almost certainly coveted by his detractors.

    Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably one of the most despised figures in the English game - yet those who denigrate him would be shouting his name in blind worship if he graced their club's colours. Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and John Terry are, I would suggest, no different.

    Amazing, as well, that there should be so many Arsenal fans on this thread who have the gall to gloat. At least Chelsea turned up for the game last night - which is more than can be said for your team the previous evening. I think, in your shoes, I'd be more concerned about the complete lack of respect too many of your players appear to have for your club's badge than I would about whether Chelsea won or lost. Can you imagine the likes of Adams, Keown, Viera, Petit, Pires, Bergkamp, Wright, or, going back a few years, McLintock or Graham tolerating a performance like that?

    It actually doesn't matter, in the end, whether Chelsea won or not. All we ask for, as football fans, is that the outcome of any match is decided by the 22 players involved. Last night the outcome was significantly affected, if not decided, by an utterly inept refereeing performance. The ambition of any referee should be that he is not remembered.

    It's more than fair to say that that ambition was far from realised last night. It's not unfair to suggest that every major decision he was required to make was the wrong decision.

    And I'm not just talking about Chelsea, either. Abidal's red card was a travesty of justice however justice is defined - and as a result of one man's ineptitude he is denied the right to appear in the showcase of European football. The same with Darren Fletcher the previous evening. And through a crazy disciplinary system that must surely now be reviewed by Uefa, the final will also be deprived of one of the most exciting left-backs in the world in Dani Alves.

    I have no doubt that Chelsea will pay a very high price for the behaviour of Michael Ballack and, particularly, Drogba - a price that, knowing Uefa, may even include exclusion from next year's competition. And it is absolutely right that the club and the players involved face some sort of censure. They are ambassadors and role models and their behaviour was indefensible, no matter how aggrieved they may have felt (and based on the game I watched, they had every reason to feel aggrieved).

    Did Chelsea deserve to go through over the two legs? It doesn't matter, really - does it? You can talk about penalty appeals and the fact Chelsea created more clear-cut chances - but in the end, they paid a high price for their profligacy in front of goal. Barca had one shot on target and made it count. End of story.

    For my part, I have enormous respect for Barcelona, their footballing philosophy and for Pep Guardiola in particular, whom I consider to be an articulate, intelligent and supremely professional role-model as well as the brightest young coach in Europe. I hope they and Manchester United give us all a final to remember - this time for the right reasons.

    In the meantime, maybe we can all have a break from the nonsensical jingoism that seems to possess so many posters here and instead have a grown-up debate about football.

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  • 85. At 3:32pm on 07 May 2009, nogginthenogforever wrote:

    Good blog again Robbo!

    Yes they were robbed really , and no, the players still had no excuse for behaviour at the end.
    Part of being a professional footballer, certainly at this level we are discussing, is public image, and whether they like it or not, being role models to the youngsters.

    especially the current England Captain, who seems to have, once again, mysteriously escaped the journalists wrath , even though he was first at the referee when the whistle went, and his comments after the match (which were even factually incorrect, never mind full of utter hyperbole).

    Chelsea had chances to win regardless of the penalties, Drogba himself missed chances in both games he should have put away, but its all too clear that rather than the all conquering Barcelona the media , particularly in this country, would like to portray, they can be made to look quite ordinary by competent defending.

    For all the obsequious praise heaped upon Barcelona, the form team of the Semi Finals was clearly Man United.

    Unless they want to follow the fate of Arsenal, and by a similar scoreline, barcelona will need to improve.

    A lot.

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  • 86. At 3:34pm on 07 May 2009, queenrichy7 wrote:

    Most of us are completely unaware about what games are FIXED in sporting events and which officials are BOUGHT

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  • 87. At 3:35pm on 07 May 2009, Faz wrote:

    re the ref looking like another Mitchell brother, not bad, but he's the spitting image of (and importantly has never been photographed with) the bloke from Aqua (how I remember them I don't know but it came to me last night), which means he's spoilt more than one night in our lives with that annoying "I'm a barbie girl" twaddle scuppering many a night on the dance floor. What's his next incarnation going to be - tax man, dentist, investment banker ?

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  • 88. At 3:35pm on 07 May 2009, Faz wrote:

    Time is healing any great hurt on behalf of the Blues but, on this occasion it's very very clear that they were denied at least a couple of goals and the ref had a shocker. In fact the ref bears more than a passing resemblance to that Scream picture which I'm told was painted by a Norwegian n all. Drogba probably sees that face screeching every time he closes his eyes. I'd be more than happy if the defeat was just but it wasn't. Which is not to say I'm looking forward to the final cos it'll miles better without Prince Didi.

    They weren't denied a couple of goals. They were denied (at most) a couple of penalties. Admittedly Lumpard is pretty good from 12 yards, but it's not that clear cut.

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  • 89. At 3:36pm on 07 May 2009, kevthered83 wrote:

    As it is there are very few 'pro - Chelsea' pundits out there (aside from Souness last night on SKY),

    your kidding me right? Last night alone you had Ruud " I will never say anything bad about Chelsea" Gullit and Jamie "I want to marry my cousin Frank" Redknapp.

    Not to mention Andy Grays bizarre love affair with Chelsea!!!

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  • 90. At 3:37pm on 07 May 2009, 1ronjaw wrote:

    pitroddieloon: Ronaldo has only just started stepping up to influence the big games- He used to go walkabouts in the big games in the premiership, and barring his penalty against Liverpool (which didn't inmfluence the game at all), he hasn't scored against any of the 5 games vs other top 3 this season, nor in their other big game in the league, man city.

    Messi is 3 years younger that Ronaldo, so his influence in games will come with experience.

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  • 91. At 3:38pm on 07 May 2009, aec1902 wrote:

    you can't see chelseas reaction help them in future european matches. You make your luck and i don't think chelsea helped.
    If zola was on instead of drogba, then i think they would have got the second one.

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  • 92. At 3:39pm on 07 May 2009, Scottishscouser wrote:

    I fail to see how a ref that had been bought would send a player off. Sort of defeats the object. And Platini whispers in his ear does he before the game? Get real! What if the ref told him to bog off. Platini would lose any credibility so would UEFA. Or did UEFA advertise for an 'iffy ref?' Keep dreaming about conspiracies. He was just a poor ref. One of them pens was clear, but most teams get denied a clear pen every week.

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  • 93. At 3:40pm on 07 May 2009, Tatloaf wrote:

    Perhaps if Chelsea had shown the same degree of urgency for 90 minutes that they showed after the equaliser the debate here would be academic.
    *They werent behind, why show mega urgency

    The referee did have a diabolical game and in my view his biggest failing was not booking Ballack for his agressive remonstrations after the last penalty shout.
    *Errr, he did.

    Referees and officials can have bad games and last night they had a shocker, this doesnt however condone the behaviour of Drogba et al after the whistle.
    *Also booked
    How many matches has he influenced with his feining over the years and how much more difficult does it then make the job of the officals to separate truth from fiction?
    *Certainly not on his own, ie Gerrard, Ronaldo, Klinnsman

    Players expectations of officials are unrealistic and week in week out I watch games where the initial view of something is a cast iron decision one way or another, an alternate angle or slow motion however shows that the reality is very different.
    *On each 3 blatant penalties and a stupid sending off, get real.

    Officials need to have confidence in their convictions when making a decision and players who cheat or are confrontational do not help their cause with the officials.
    *Their cause couldnt be helped because the shocking decisions made CAUSED the confrontations!

    Chelsea needed to put the game beyond doubt and in failing to do this left it open for Barca to nick it.
    *and im confident, given 3 penalties the game would have been put beyond Barcelona.


    Armchair idiot post who clearly got picked last day in day out in the playground.

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  • 94. At 3:41pm on 07 May 2009, killakali wrote:

    can this backline strike terror into united?

    Puyol - Toure - Piqué - Sylvinho.

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  • 95. At 3:43pm on 07 May 2009, Purebreed wrote:

    Well, just had a second look at the mighty race or is it chase by one Ballck of Germany, had he put in so much effort during the game as he did when chasing down the ref, I am sure Barca were going to be Real Murdered, sorry Madridid, but then, No, he chose to be the conductor in the team Bus stationed in his side's goal mouth area.....

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  • 96. At 3:44pm on 07 May 2009, footyfancan wrote:

    Drogba's behaviour, without a doubt was disgraceful and not only should he be punished, but he should apologize. Robbo, you will not be happy until Chelsea sells Drogba - if he had come out and shook hands with the Barca players, ref etc, with a big smile then you would have condemned him for having no emotion or commitment to Chelsea. Why is their always such a reaction when it is a foreign player? When Wayne Rooney got sent off in Eng v Portugal much more attention was on Ronaldo for winking - so what if he did. No huge reaction when English players do foolish things - Joey Barton as an example, only foreign players get stick. The fact is simple - the main reason English clubs dominate the Champions League is the foreign players. Take away every foreign player and the only English club that would get past the group stage is Man Utd. More facts about foreigners:
    World Cup winners
    Brazil 5 times, Italy 4 times, Germany 3 times and Argentina twice
    The fact that English players have only managed to win the World cup once (43 years ago) - thanks to a poor referee decision makes a strong case for the argument that our domination of European football is thanks to the evil, crybaby diving foreigners like Drogba.

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  • 97. At 3:45pm on 07 May 2009, KingKobe1 wrote:

    And the winner is: FOOTBALL. Man U V Barca in the final is a dream match. The champs versus the current best team in europe. Barca weren't effective last night but this was due to Chelsea scoring early and then trying to cheat or scuff their way to victory. I feel no sympathy for Drogba. He cost Chelsea the league with his early season sulks and despite his ability, his diving and play acting are a disgrace to himself, his team and his role as a supposed role model. He threw himself to the ground for the pen, as did Malouda. I'd give Chelsea 1 or 2 of the handballs but what about Anelka diving to get Abidal sent off?

    Chelsea were a goal up with a man advantage and still can't do the job. No big miss in Rome.

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  • 98. At 3:48pm on 07 May 2009, mrbrightside84 wrote:

    glad to see chelsea knocked out and especially in the way they were. i dont think a champions league final shud be played by such a negative side playing "anti-football". i think every team in the world should take a leaf out of barcelonas book and go for it. it would make the fans much happier and keep them entertained. being a season ticket holder at celtic park i see my fair share of teams playing anti-football against us (every team in scotland) and i hate to watch it at the highest level where you expect more. as for the penalties, the first claim was outside the box if you look at the initial challenge, the second drogba went down far to easily as he has done his whole carreer. the third i must say was an absoloute stone waller however the ref couldnt have seen it. as for the fourth, it was never a penalty, etoos back was turned and the ball was travelling way too fast. as for abidals sending off..... never. anelka tripped himself up and toure came in to cover so he wasn't the last man. as for the behavior of the players after it, a young child who doesnt know any better wouldnt get away with acting like that so why should players who make a fortune like drogba? they are a disgrace and they should be severely punished!!!! c'mon the barca!!!!!

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  • 99. At 3:48pm on 07 May 2009, Thechesco wrote:

    Oh well what goes around come back around!
    Am not a Barca nor a Chelsea fan.

    Barca should have had a clear penalty last week in Nou camp when Bosingwa fouled Henry in the box and also Ballack should have been booked and sent off on a second yellow card after obstructing a Barca play after a nice one - two move at the edge of chelsea box. Though non of the British media saw those incidents in Nou camp a week ago simply because Barca isn't a British club side, which was disappointing.

    Drogba might have push it a little to far in stamford bridge but why is he the only chelsea play that was singled out for his remarks, it isn't as if ballack, lampard and terry did not have a go or threw some word at the Ref but they all got away with their actions, while Drogba is being made the Headline of the News.

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  • 100. At 3:48pm on 07 May 2009, TimeWorm wrote:

    #89 - Hullit was unpredictabily anti-chelsea last night I thought. I think that the pundits weren't pro-Chelsea last night it was just that they couldn't not argue with the poor decisions. And my point was that the media love Man U and Liverpool regardless and seem to be very anti Chelsea and Arsenal.

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  • 101. At 3:51pm on 07 May 2009, Franky wrote:

    Chelsea fan here.

    Invariably I always find something I dont agree with on a Robo post.

    But Today - spot on mate, in every detail

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  • 102. At 3:51pm on 07 May 2009, Platt777 wrote:

    Once again those pampered princesses over at "The Bridge" were pipped to the post in the dying seconds of Football's biggest cup competition & are now left asking themselves for the second year running - who can we blame this time?! If ever there was a dictionary definition of the old phrase "money doesn't buy you class" we we need not look any further than the mindless thugs who call themsleves the Blues. Not since that ill fated lotto winner Mickey Carroll have I begrudged the wealth & status of any man quite as much as this bunch of reprobates.

    One word springs to mind after watching what appeared to be another predictable anglo - dominated Champions League tie end in pulsating drama: Bottle

    Those plucky Catalans might have lacked all of the spark that lit up the Bernabau at the weekend, but one thing that wasn't missing as the the clock struck ten, was Bottle. In a repeat of last years events, the rest of Europe can point & laugh at Chelsea's inadequacy as the one thing that an Oilgarch's billions can't buy is the one thing that seperates them from greatness.

    True the error-strewn man in the middle became an object of riddicule from the moment he graced the pitch in Lance Armstrong's Tour de France winning Lyrca's. But let's face it, both sides can quite rightly pick holes in the happless Viking's performance. Eric Abidal will now watch the Final from the stands after being shown red for not helping Nicolas Anelka fasten double knots into his sprawling shoe laces. Andres Iniesta will be waking up with bruised shins this morning after "Fat Frankie" made it his sole mission (as I certainly didn't notice him constructively shifting the ball all night) to kick lumps out of the crafty little playmaker. And then for the Panto's main villian - Monsiuer Drogba. In the background I hear the echo of 19 Premiership Managers up & down the country uttering the words "what goes around comes around". Over the course of the season, we have been forced to watch this parasite re-inact scenes from the movie Full Metal Jacket as he hurls himself to the ground as if taken out by a vietnamise sniper. Perhaps he should consider last night to be fate's way of teaching him a brutal lesson. There is & never will be a place for his kind in this gentleman's game.

    The irony was that the Chelsea player losing the plot as he blamed the referee for their exit was the Chelsea player most to blame for their exit. But for an appalling piece of control in the opening two minutes, his spurned double chance in the Nou Camp, and inadequate finish in the second half at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea would have progressed regardless of the referees inadequacies & Didier Drogba must be held wholly accountable. On the plus side it has at least spared the blushes of Engalnd's "Lionheart" John Terry. How we feel for this corinthian of the modern game. If only he would've shown as much whole hearted aggression in catching up with Lionel Messi or throwing himself infront of Andreas Iniseta's pin point winner...Still while there's an under qualified match official or a slippery when wet surface in Moscow, or even a Dutch impersonating excuse of a football manager - it'll always be someone else's fault hey Johnny!

    In true Rafa style here's some facts that might make this pill a little easier to swallow for the Chelski:

    - Thierry Henry should've had a penalty at the Nou Camp. Decisons - Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't.
    - Chelsea (the home team) afforded Barcleona 71% of the possesion - Did they really not expect Barca to have one shot on goal.
    - Didier Drogba, the same man sent off in last years final for a violent altercation with the opposition must learn to accept that his history of pro-longed cheating (caught on camera) will continue to influence referee's decisons (see Christiano Ronaldo, Andy Johnson etc.) until he changes his attitude.

    In summary, Barcelona will face Manchester United in Rome for one reason - when all around them were loosing their heads, Barca held their nerve. WIth 10 men they went forward & showed a relentless win to win. Compare their humility & that show by Darren Fletcher the night before & indeed Andrei Arshavin at the weekend with the dispicable behaviour of Ballack, Terry, Lampard, Drogba et al & ask yourself - did an injustice really take place in the nations capital last night.....

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  • 103. At 3:55pm on 07 May 2009, maid1947 wrote:

    Chelsea v Barca

    I firmly believe that the commentators who dismiss the role of EUFA in this as "conspiracy theories" and not credible are being very naive, what is not credible is that an international referee aided by two assistants could have been so wrong on so many occassions, the sending off of the Barcelona player was simply a clumsy attempt to redress what had become an embarrassingly obvious bias. Blatter and Platini openly detest the Premier League and British football and could not stomach a second successive all P.L final. The ref only needed to have been given the message that he should protect the "beautiful game" of Barca against the "over physical" English team, that seed was being sown all week in the build up to the game. The ref has the fourth official in his ear all
    the time, he was given the message and he got it, Blatter & Platini got their way.

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  • 104. At 3:59pm on 07 May 2009, DferPolarBear wrote:

    So all agreed, no conspiracy, awful referee (actually all four of them). What now then? All is fair in love and war?

    I believe that mistakes should be used as lessons so they don't happen again. Was this notion prompted by the Chelsea - Barca match? No. It is sound advise that applies to all aspects of life apart from football, because we've been here so many times. Goal's given that never crossed the line, players sent off for non-fouls, goals not given that did touch the line, shirt tugging, diving and rolling about, ranting and raving, I could fill the page.

    There must be an underlying consensus that all of these errors and the unfairness is acceptable. Maybe because the majority of them happen to other teams and not our team. Our team does suffer, but at the appropriate statistical fraction it seems, so that's OK then. Life IS unfair, but football isn't life and doesn't have to be.

    The only reason I can think of for keeping football so ambiguous in it's officiating is to make good odds to gamble on.

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  • 105. At 3:59pm on 07 May 2009, shinyAllspark wrote:

    the time, he was given the message and he got it, Blatter & Platini got their way.
    And that accounts for Chelsea being inept in defence at the worst time and conceding the goal in the last dying seconds because...................

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  • 106. At 4:00pm on 07 May 2009, john wrote:

    in response to post 59 - pitroddieloon - Do you honestly believe that Messi is over-rated? Thats the funniest post I have seen in all my time blogging on sites like these.

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  • 107. At 4:00pm on 07 May 2009, Rovers Return - HKR AWAY DAYS wrote:

    #15 - no, he did not get booked!

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  • 108. At 4:02pm on 07 May 2009, Oxfordfox wrote:

    In my mind, the referee in the first leg was almost as bad as this one. Chelsea should have come home with yellow cards coming out of their ears - they kicked Barca off the pitch and got away with it. Last night was shocking but overall it's not far off balanced out.

    While we're at it, I hope Fletcher stays at home - it was a clear red card and penalty. The fact he touched the ball doesn't change the fact that he brought Fabregas down in front of goal. His touch didn't take it away from Fabregas, but he then wrapped his legs around him so he illegally denied him a goal scoring opportunity. Straight red - what Wenger's doing saying it was harsh I don't know...

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  • 109. At 4:03pm on 07 May 2009, Faz wrote:

    Chelsea v Barca

    I firmly believe that the commentators who dismiss the role of EUFA in this as "conspiracy theories" and not credible are being very naive, what is not credible is that an international referee aided by two assistants could have been so wrong on so many occassions, the sending off of the Barcelona player was simply a clumsy attempt to redress what had become an embarrassingly obvious bias. Blatter and Platini openly detest the Premier League and British football and could not stomach a second successive all P.L final. The ref only needed to have been given the message that he should protect the "beautiful game" of Barca against the "over physical" English team, that seed was being sown all week in the build up to the game. The ref has the fourth official in his ear all
    the time, he was given the message and he got it, Blatter & Platini got their way.


    Let me guess......

    The US government blew up the twin towers?

    The C.I.A killed J.F.K.......and Marilyn Monroe?

    A man once invented a car that could run on water and was bought out by the oil companies?

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  • 110. At 4:04pm on 07 May 2009, Broscombe wrote:

    79. At 3:24pm on 07 May 2009, Tess_sgs wrote:
    #65 - "the ref at the Bridge had been got at!"

    And that's why he sent Abidal off with over 20 minutes left to play?

    Yes, because he ignored everything he thought he could get away with and/or excuse, however a foul when last man he couldn't, it has been drummed into them by EUFA; if it had been in the area like the shirt tug in Drogba.....I rest my case!

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  • 111. At 4:06pm on 07 May 2009, palace_mark wrote:

    As much as it pains me to say (spot the sarcasm if you will) i am glad that Chelsea lost. For too long have they been on the right end of dodgy decisions!! Drogba goes down quicker than a Kings Cross madam, and to be fair, last night he made the gelled tumbler look honest!
    I am looking forward to the first drought free summer in memory this year, what with all the tears that the blue's fans shed in the shed end last night. Oh sweet sorrow......every cloud eh?

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  • 112. At 4:11pm on 07 May 2009, BlueCapricorn13 wrote:

    On a side issue, loathe though I am to deflect the debate away from the predictable Chelsea-haters, is it just me or does anyone else think that substitutions should not be allowed in the final ten minutes of a game?

    To my mind, it's nothing more than gamesmanship and it gets on my wick...

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  • 113. At 4:11pm on 07 May 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    HAHA Conspiracy my **** Chelsea are out fair and square, get over it! Can I ask any real Chelsea fans if they are proud of Drogba? Not just last night but the last few seasons? Do they really like to see him squirming on the deck every time a legal tackle goes in? He is more dramatic than Pacino, proper Oscar winning acting. The ref last night was well aware of how Chelsea cheat their way through games, and it bit them on the backside last night, and I`m glad that they have been found wanting. Justice was done.

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  • 114. At 4:12pm on 07 May 2009, Broscombe wrote:

    82. At 3:28pm on 07 May 2009, Tess_sgs wrote:
    Robbo said "the shirt tug should be enough to award the penalty" - agreed, but be honest, when was the last time you ever saw one given? We were racking our brains last night and can't remember.

    But they should, only then will defenders stop doing the tug-and-let-go and we will see more goals resulting. Comments like "was that worth a penalty" miss the point of penalties which is to give the attacking side an advantage near goal where the defending side should be more aware that a foul will therefore result in a penalty.

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  • 115. At 4:14pm on 07 May 2009, john wrote:

    in response to post 85, if you watch a lot of Premier League and La Liga football this season, you will know that there has been a clear differance between the two.

    The Prem has been dominated by defenses all season long, take a look at the top scorer charts - we are down at 15 for the topscorer. La Liga has been an 'attacking football festival' with the only team that looks capable of defending being Barcelona (albeit only when they are at full strength). I've never seen a season with so many 5-0, 6-0, 7-0 wins or 4-4 draws!! But Barca have not had to play against any team that defends as well or as organised as teams like United or Chelsea, while they play open teams like Arsenal all season long. Of course Barca struggled. Even United and the best of England struggle against Chelsea.

    Now before I carry on, you will note that I have not said that one was better then the other and I wont. Thats a differant discussion.

    But, to simply write Barca off is a fools game. Its not going to be easy and I doubt we will get the free-flowing game that we all hope for in finals. Look at how Barca struggled to break down ten man Arsenal in the final a few years back, while even with ten men we (Arsenal) had several chances to kill the game. The key for me is how quickly Barca settle and whether they can dominate midfield and keep control of the ball. I've always felt Barca's weakness was down the flanks with their two fullbacks. I doubt they will contain Ronaldo - something Madrid fans will no doubt enjoy! But I am sure Fergie will know where and how to exploit Barca's weakness too.

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  • 116. At 4:16pm on 07 May 2009, billycollie wrote:

    In fairness its hard to feel sorry for chelsea,they proved that they can score goals in the quarters against liverpool, so why go at the negative approch against barca,I will never know

    As for Drogba total disgrace but ive come to expect that of him in recent years if he isnt faking injurys he is putting pressure on officails(as do all the chelsea players,Terry being the no 1 culprit for this)

    I just think there attitude is and has been all wrong since jose M took over.

    If they had of held on last night and won they would of been doing there usual big game celebrations of dancing about like clowns rubbing it in to the oppisition and that is not in the interest of sportsmanship.

    At least no we can look forward to a good exciting final with (and being a pool fan this isnt easy to say)two great attacking teams going all out to score goals

    dare i say it the way the game should be played.

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  • 117. At 4:20pm on 07 May 2009, mambo wrote:

    Great blog Robbo, the funniest I have read from you.....that was all sarcasm I hope..

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  • 118. At 4:20pm on 07 May 2009, Scottishscouser wrote:

    Blatter and Platini openly detest the Premier League and British football and could not stomach a second successive all P.L final.
    I think you will find it's English football they detest, even then I think you're off the mark. How could Platini or anyone else risk aproaching a ref with a brown paper envelope. too many people would know, things have a habit of leaving a trail.

    Anyway, only one of those appeals was a defo pen, the handball. Drogba fell forward after beeing pulled back. I think that would make me think twice about giving it. He's the only thing in the universe that defies the laws of physics.

    In Derbies Liverpool and Everton fans shout for a pen everytime someone comes within 2 millimetres of another player in the box. It doesn;t mean just because there were 14 appeals that 14 pens should have been given. If you take the 3 of those pen appeals, The Malouda one, Drogba one and the last one in time added on and put them in 3 seperate games, I doubt even one would be awarded. Therefore just because they all happened in the same game, it doesn't just follow that they should be given. Yes, it adds to Chelsea fans' feeling of injustice because of the defo denied pen but doesn't mean conspiracy theories are warrened.

    Like I said earlier direct your blame at Drogba. if it wasn't for him 4 mins wouldn't have been added on. You would have rightly then gone through and deserved it.

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  • 119. At 4:20pm on 07 May 2009, DenistheGenius wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 120. At 4:21pm on 07 May 2009, whatbill wrote:

    So the only real clear cut penalty decision happened when Barca were unfairly down to 10 men. Poor refereeing yes, but in terms of travesties of justice we're hardly in Birmingham 6 territory.

    What will (and presumably did) hurt chelsea the most was that in the second leg they dominated the chances, should have finished Barca off, and thoroughly deserved victory.

    If they'd taken it on the chin, got themselves off the pitch and criticised the ref in the post match interviews, I think we'd be talking about how unlucky chelsea were and how bad the ref was. But instead we are talking about their behaviour, which has alientated a lot of neutral goodwill and (as usual) made them look bad. They may not care about this but they will care if players are hit with suspensions. And if Drogba is leaving at the end of the season, he hasn't exactly sold himself to would be buyers, has he?

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  • 121. At 4:22pm on 07 May 2009, Jordan D wrote:

    I'm an Arsenal fan, and I sat in the Emirates until the bitter end on Tuesday night fed up with my teams performance. By rights, I should wanted to Chelski to be out on their ear last night. And yet, I'm left feeling robbed because they were robbed. If Barca had beaten them fair & square, that's great. But the ref ruined the match and left a horrible taste in the mouth.

    Poor show.

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  • 122. At 4:23pm on 07 May 2009, deschloro wrote:

    You feel sorry for chelsea robbo? REALLY?????

    I don't. And i'll explain why.

    They should have had 1-2 pens but...:
    for the last 25 mins barca's defence consisted of dani alves who was having a shit night and was booked so he had to be careful, gerard pique who wasnt good enough to get on Man United's bench, yaya toure who is a young, inexperienced central midfielder and sylvenio who was deemed not good enough by arsenal years ago and was only playing because marquez was injured. I'm sorry but if chelsea showed any ambition at all at that point they would have scored. They didn't.

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  • 123. At 4:23pm on 07 May 2009, tupper-of-the-track wrote:

    Answering my own post (Number 15) and those who have commented (eg 76, 017) it looks like he WAS booked - according to the official UEFA website, who's match report makes scarce mention of the penalty controversies, sursprise surprise....
    but, post 38 (Blue Hatter) he hadn't already been booked so wouldn't have been sent off.

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  • 124. At 4:24pm on 07 May 2009, deschloro wrote:

    You feel sorry for chelsea robbo? REALLY?????

    I don't. And i'll explain why.

    They should have had 1-2 pens but...:
    for the last 25 mins barca's defence consisted of dani alves who was having a poor night and was booked so he had to be careful, gerard pique who wasnt good enough to get on Man United's bench, yaya toure who is a young, inexperienced central midfielder and sylvenio who was deemed not good enough by arsenal years ago and was only playing because marquez was injured. I'm sorry but if chelsea showed any ambition at all at that point they would have scored. They didn't.

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  • 125. At 4:26pm on 07 May 2009, pitroddieloon wrote:

    To goonermadrid:

    Well can you please give me some justification why Messi is dubbed the new maradonna, or the best player in the world. Sure, everyone that can spell youtube can see what talent he has. He is brilliant. Undoubtedly.

    But he chokes in big games. All the talk before the first leg, was 'oh my no ashley cole how are Chelsea going to deal with Messi'? They didn't have to. Over both legs he did nowt.

    Perhaps in the future he will be the best in the world but until he shines on the biggest stage he does not deserve that tag, thus over rated.

    Maradonna did it on the biggest stage in the world cup. Zidane did it frequently. Ronaldinho a few years back was a big stage player. Ronaldo at the moment. Torres in the Champions League, Premiership and Euros

    Messi is not the best player in the world. Maybe one day he will be. But he certainly is not now

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  • 126. At 4:32pm on 07 May 2009, chippy23dec78 wrote:

    #84 BlueCapricorn13. You hit a lot of nails on the head there mate. I might be able to shed a bit of light on why a lot of supporters 'hate' other clubs; it's often an irrational (some would say rational) mix of club rivalries (some local, some built up over the years) and jealousy and occurs in many countries. It affects different types of supporters (young, old, male, female). I suffer from it myself. Tried once to see if I could go a week not thinking horrible thoughts about Spurs. Gave up after about an hour. Couldn't function properly. Putting my fingers in my ears didn't help either.

    It's a hypocritical state of mind too. I would have been livid if my team had lost like that last night. (As it was, we were so stuffed by Man Utd. there was no way we could've blamed the ref). I admit I had a chuckle when Barca scored yesterday but at the same time felt sorry for players like Cech and the thousands of decent supporters who went through the mangle at the end there.

    The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that I know more people who 'hate' their rivals than people who are indifferent to them. Must be the circles we move in.

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  • 127. At 4:37pm on 07 May 2009, GodKeano16 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 128. At 4:39pm on 07 May 2009, john wrote:

    pitroddieloon youve clearly not watched Spanish football? I take it you havent seen the 'El Classico' games against Real this season - arguably the biggest club rivalry in football. You havent seen his performances against Bayern Munich?

    You also seem to forget that he is 22/23 and was only about 18/19 when he rang rings around Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

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  • 129. At 4:41pm on 07 May 2009, 17eIvIoN wrote:

    Firstly, Chelsea should have had 1 penalty and not had to play against 10 men but Terry let alone Drogba is a disgrace. Cappello should come out and remove the England captaincy from him, and Chelsea should be forced to play games behind closed doors or something it was disgusting.

    Messi however looks no threat to Man Utd, Ronaldo does sulk moan and strut but he appears in the big games, Champions League final last year and the game against Arsenal two nights ago he stood up and was counted.

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  • 130. At 4:42pm on 07 May 2009, FrankSinclair wrote:

    Robbo - comment 44. You mean the Assistant Referee then?

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  • 131. At 4:48pm on 07 May 2009, pitroddieloon wrote:

    Yes i acknowledge the fact that he can be devastating in the Spanish League, and his ability to ghost past people is extraordinary.

    And yes, Real Madrid is a high-pressure derby game in Spain, but honestly both Real Madrid and Bayern have fallen so far from their previous heights. Liverpool absolutely demolished Real, without conceding two. When Messi comes up against English defences he is contained easily.

    If Gerrard, Drogba, Rooney, Ronaldo had as quiet a night as Messi did last night, it would definitely be more of a talking point.

    Messi hardly got a kick. Ashley Cole marshalled him superbly and also managed to be pro-active in Chelsea's attacking play.

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  • 132. At 4:53pm on 07 May 2009, john wrote:

    in reply to post, BlueCapricorn13 - I admit that I have a hatred of Chelsea that goes way back to my first experiences of football and transcends any hatred I have for Tottenham.

    Do I feel sorry for Chelsea, no I dont. They had the chances to kill the game but didnt take them. They could and should have won the 1st leg. Its a fact that I have had to put up with as an Arsenal fan for five years. We play well but dont kill the game. The Carling Cup final is a perfect example between Arsenal and Chelsea is the perfect example. When you dont take your chances, then you have no-one to blame but yourself. Atleast Chelsea fans can hold their head up and say they gave it a good go.

    But Chelseas performance on the pitch and their reaction afterwards to losing are two differant issues. The reaction of the players has no place in the game - just as much you could say as the incident involving Cesc and Hull in the FA Cup. One still wonders why he went on to the pitch when usually players not involved in games are tucked way up in the stands 'having a drink and a chat in comfort'!

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  • 133. At 4:53pm on 07 May 2009, collie21 wrote:

    You don't have to like Drogba, but I am honestly shocked at the witch hunt that is turning out for him, while any comments about Terry and Lampards behaviour seem to have dissappeared? It wouldn't be a race thing would it?

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  • 134. At 4:55pm on 07 May 2009, Cart_Horse wrote:

    Carlsberg don't do Champions League Semi Finals... oh wait a minute, maybe they do!!

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  • 135. At 4:56pm on 07 May 2009, bluehellsbells wrote:

    Robbo, you hit the nail on the head with your assessment of Hiddink - quality.

    I am a Chelsea fan but could you honestly imagine any other (especially) premiership manager acting that way? Ferguson - who I do admire - would have totally exploded with rage, Arsene Wenger, well he probably would not have seen anything - Seriously, I cannot think of anyone else who would have acted with such dignity AFTER seeing the re-runs of incidents that could have (in my eyes did) have such a major impact on the result.

    I would love for him to remain at Chelsea but would actually have even more respect for him, if he goes back to Russia and sees out his contract as he appears to be doing.

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  • 136. At 4:56pm on 07 May 2009, mrbrightside84 wrote:

    #125 pitroddieloon. how much bull can you talk? messi is by far the best player on the planet right now. he has 36 goals this season and as for saying he doesnt show up in the big games? what about 6-2 v real on saturday when he tore them to shreds? or how about the fact that he is the top scorer in the champions league this season? doesn't this plus the fact that barcelona score three times more often when he is in the team than when he is not, prove it? yes he is only 21 and i feel he will keep getting better. i suggest u start watching the spanish football and pay more attention to whats happening in the champions league!

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  • 137. At 4:57pm on 07 May 2009, Melwoodlikethis wrote:

    Hiddinck got the tactics spot on, brilliant, but unfortunately it was like watching Stoke (apologies Stoke fans) especially in the away leg, where long ball after long ball was humped up to Drogba whilst keeping ten men behind the ball for at least 40% of the game.
    Chelsea players are highlighting the ref's mistakes, and there were a few for both teams, but they need to take a long look at themselves. If they had taken their chances when they had them then the ref's game was incidental, it would be game over Chelsea - Utd final.
    But they didn't as history will now show.

    Their behaviour after the match is inexcusable. UEFA must learn from Rugby Union where 30 big strong men play team tag wrestling with a ball and the ref is in total control commanding total respect no matter what happens, why? Because there are penalties incurred if you dont behave.
    Soccer players get vast amounts of money and still behave like spoilt brats when things go against them, or develop the habit of rolling in the grass everytime they get near the box (Drogba???).

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  • 138. At 4:57pm on 07 May 2009, bandanaboy wrote:

    you could not help but feel sorry for Chelsea whenthe Barca winner went in .
    But thankfully the behaviour of the Chelsea players -JT ,FL ,Ballack and Especially Drogba at the final whistle washed away any feelings of sympathy.
    Thanks lads

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  • 139. At 4:58pm on 07 May 2009, soccerlifer wrote:

    Now people say Messi can't play on the strength of two games against Chelsea. I think that's disrepectful to Chelsea's defensive efforts that succesfully clipped the wings of Messi - and Iniesta,Xavi, Eto'o.
    There's a reason why Chelsea only got forward sporadically yesterday, and that's becuase they set out to deny Messi and co the time and space to do what they do best. Messi only showed glimpses yesterday, but that's because Chelsea did a marvellous job of keeping him quiet.

    Yet, when he got his foot on the ball in the 92nd minute, with Chelsea defenders all around him, he still had the presence of mind to slip Iniesta a perfect pass. Game over.

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  • 140. At 5:00pm on 07 May 2009, john wrote:

    pitroddieloon I think you need to ask yourself what counts as a big game? Surely playing Bayern Munich in a CL Quarter final is a big game? Or is your definition of a big game only 'when a team plays United or Chelsea in a Semifinal or final'.

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  • 141. At 5:02pm on 07 May 2009, JP wrote:

    Brilliant blog, pretty much spot on, although I do have sympathy for Drogba.

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  • 142. At 5:04pm on 07 May 2009, Tim_London wrote:

    This is my first comment on a BBC site. I have never been motivated before, but today is different.

    I am not a Chelsea fan, but I think we all have to admit that the performance of the referee was more than incompetent. It is an epoch-defining moment when the name of UEFA, and indeed Norway, have been dragged into disrepute. In the future the words 'Norwegian referee' will draw laughter or fear. No disrespect to that beautiful country, but last night was a shuddering insult to the fans who pay money, or the naive people who think that sport should be based on fair rules. A bit like Maradona in 1986.

    But I have a question for Phil McNulty. Phil ! What has happened to the old values of journalism? Your blog was a moralistic judgment about what you felt was right and wrong. But this was an occasion when a UEFA referee clearly turned down four penalty appeals that should really have resulted in probably two penalty shots. I suggest that journalists should *investigate,* dig up the important questions: why was this referee so off the mark? What does it mean for football and UEFA in the future? What is this referee's history? Will Chelsea sue? We don't need a Blue Peter style summary of appropriate behavior. We want incisive journalism.

    For once, Robbo's blog seems like proper journalism. Phil's blog ducks the issues.

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  • 143. At 5:04pm on 07 May 2009, EmersonMarks wrote:

    Credit where credit's due to old helmet head, Cech.

    He got a great hat-head onto the ball that resulted in Ballack's last minute volley.

    Never mind, Chelsea. There's still the FA Cup Final to look forward to.

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  • 144. At 5:08pm on 07 May 2009, guinnessisgoodforyou wrote:

    If you look at all 4 incidents as they happen during the game and take your first reaction, that is what the ref has to deal with aswell. If there my any doubt he cant give a penalty.

    My reactions were -

    Malouda first foul outside the box, it went into the box but first foul penalised. I was not thinking Penalty

    Drogba shirt pull, I have to say my first reaction was penalty and if the ref had doubt he should of consulted his assistant. But does the doubt come from the reputation of the player. It doesnt help but as a Utd fan Ronaldo gets the same treatment and can be hard to take, but they create that reputation sometimes it goes for you sometimes it doesnt.

    Pique hand ball - this is a tough call definite ball to hand, however Pique didnt move it away. again my first reaction...penalty and again the ref should of been assisted as his view would have been partially blocked by Pique's back and Anelka running across

    Eto'o hanball - No penalty for me. The ball has been smashed at him from 5 yards away and he hasnt moved his hand to the ball, could not move it.

    Referees dont get replays and need support in big games from their assistants. Whether he tells his assistants that he will call any major penalty decisions and leave them to support him out of the box is another question.

    in my opinion Chelsea should of had 2 penalties, (Barca should of had one in Camp Nou) can understand there was elements of doubt but none of this excuses the reaction at the end. If all penalties scored 2-2 on aggregate chelsea out on away goals....HoHum...

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  • 145. At 5:14pm on 07 May 2009, FrankSinclair wrote:

    The opprobrium is virtually all about Didier 'throw him out of the game' Drogba. I do think he's let the club down - but for another reason. He has, almost (but not quite) single handedly, taken the media attention away from a superb team performance and instead focused it on him and others' behaviour at the final whistle. He behaved really badly and I can't defend it but as a Chelsea fan I can understand it. He may have missed his best chance of a final and a medal in the biggest club competition in European football; he was part of a team proving a point against the so-called best club side in the world; was seconds away from a significant victory in which he'd played a positive role and he suffered a sporting injustice. But by acting the way he did he's given fuel to the anti-Chelsea machine, for that is what it is, led by the media. And for the many Arsenal contributors - a self-regarding bunch who feel they have a monopoly on virtue in the game - least he didn't spit on a member of the opposition coaching staff.

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  • 146. At 5:14pm on 07 May 2009, Maradona wrote:

    Best player in the world right now? No question, it has to be Cronaldo.

    Messi has flattered to deceive to often in the BIG games. To whoever thinks Bayern were a top side - check the German league table and tell me how many German sides have made CL QFs the last few years - hardly any. Barca have had a very easy draw till getting Chelsea - and Messi was absent all game. He has the talent for sure, but Cronaldo has outperformed him in the big games. It's why a match up in Rome should provide the definivative answer (hopefully!).

    As for whether Messi is the "new Maradona" (version 67 TM)... like all the others before him that never lived up to the hype, he isn't fit to lace the right boot (or glove!) of El Diego.

    It would also help if he could score from more than 15 yds, but his shooting from distance is generally shocking - unlike the gelled tumbler (Robbo's best work btw!).

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  • 147. At 5:17pm on 07 May 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Quite agree that the Pique handball was the most shocking of the 4 decisions. The others were more debatable but could've been given. And by the way, just cos we can sympathise with Drogba doesn't mean we have to pat him on the back for a job well done. It's nothing to do with race, collie21, it's to do with the fact that the bloke was about as out of order as it's possible to be without actually being Eric Cantona. If Terry's backing the striker then he needs his head checking. It's one thing celebrating a goal in the face of West Ham's barracking half-wits in a small section of Upton Park (not good either, mind) it's another thing standing by the sort of stropping that would make a teenager blush. Ridiculous.

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  • 148. At 5:18pm on 07 May 2009, ingeniousbillo46 wrote:

    I Dont know if this is relevant here; but Guus Hiddink finally tasted defeat in the worst way; referees incompetence.

    In 2002 He managed an overrated South Korean team that beat Italy after the worst referring decisions ever. They had about two goals disallowed, penalty appeals dismissed as well as some wrong offside decisions. The referee display was the worst I have ever seen.

    Moreover, in the QF of the world cup, they faced Spain who scored about two goals that were not given, as well as penalty decisions not given and so it meant that South Korea went to the semis due to some outrageous referring, so I am happy that Guus Hiddink finally got what he deserved

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  • 149. At 5:20pm on 07 May 2009, Peter Burrage wrote:

    Iniesta WAS booked. It even came up on the screen. Stop looking for no-events. Iniesta's booking will not have any reflection on the final as he was not on the suspension tightrope like Alves and Alex.

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  • 150. At 5:22pm on 07 May 2009, raphylamps wrote:

    It is obvious that most of the readers and posters on this blog are anti-Chelsea, and i am not going to complain but for those people saying Chelsea were too defensive and didn't try to score, then why were so many possible penalties? Any football fan knows that if you get a penalty, you have a great chance of scoring. He also know that if the opposition illegally prevent you scoring in their area, a penalty is awarded. Had one of those penalties been given, Lampard would have scored (resulting in a definite win for chelsea) or missed it (but some of the frustration would have gone at receiving a penalty). But against the masters of attack, Chelsea can not be accused of playing for a 1-0 win!
    Fine, they defended deeply, fine, Barca had much more possession, but one shot on target against Chelsea's several is pathetic. But if having four reasonable penalty claims rejected is considered parking the bus, what on earth is going all out attack?

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  • 151. At 5:24pm on 07 May 2009, Peter Burrage wrote:

    Those doubting Iniesta's booking -

    90 + 4 YC A. Iniesta

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  • 152. At 5:25pm on 07 May 2009, mrbrightside84 wrote:

    #146 maradona. i dont think you have watched much spanish football this season. messi has scored several goals from distance. last season yes ronaldo was the best in the world but this seasons title WILL go to the little argentine maestro. maybe he cant lace maradona's boots (or glove(luving it cos im a scotsman btw)) yet but remember we have another 12 years or so of messi's brilliance. remember last season man utd v barcelona, despite the fact than man utd got through messi was a far better player over the 2 legs that cronaldo. he has more goals than ronaldo in this seasons champs league and although against not the best opponents, united havent had a hard time of it either, being a celtic fan i should know!

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  • 153. At 5:25pm on 07 May 2009, Faz wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 154. At 5:28pm on 07 May 2009, All2Frank wrote:

    Best team on the night and over both legs as a whole lost. Simple as. Beautiful football?! Over BOTH legs combined Chelsea had the lion's share of the chances, and for the most part kept Barca at bay. Posts about defending the 1 goal lead are absurd because of all the chances (and penalty shouts) they had after going 1-0 up, as opposed to Barca's shooting from distance.

    They overeacted after the match, but so are the Chelsea-haters now, leaping at the chance to say it was an embarassment to English football, etc. I come from Brazil and in South America matches this important with such controversy regularly spill over to much nastier scenes, as they do all over the world (ie Valencia v Inter a couple of years ago)? That doesn't make it right, but that ref deserved an earful.

    Hope Barca go on to win it, without the ref's help.

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  • 155. At 5:30pm on 07 May 2009, GodKeano16 wrote:

    Interesting that this is not the first "incident" involving chelski, Barca and the ref... 2005 and Anders Frisk anyone?

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  • 156. At 5:30pm on 07 May 2009, georgesbest wrote:

    ALL who said that chelsea were sure to lose for defending in both games are surely forgetting the evident success they had last night. Holding the best attacking team in the world to one shot on goal while creating a number of clear cut chances themselves demands respect; in fact that is one of the greatest defensive displays over two legs i have ever seen. And, how many teams dominate Barcalona in chances on goal.

    The fact is that chelsea's defense was too strong for Barca's attack, and their attack was too good for Barca's defence.

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  • 157. At 5:31pm on 07 May 2009, DenistheGenius wrote: was my opinion stricken from the record because i called the Chelski Oil Empire "souless" or because i suggested that Captain Fantastic is a horrible example of what a team/national captain should be?

    is this moderator Norweigian, by chance? ;)

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  • 158. At 5:33pm on 07 May 2009, mountie31 wrote:

    Its simple I know it wont happen but there should be a replay of the game.

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  • 159. At 5:33pm on 07 May 2009, DenistheGenius wrote:

    ...not to suggest that Norweigians always get it wrong (at ease!), but to wonder aloud if last nights ref has found a new form employment with BBC.

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  • 160. At 5:36pm on 07 May 2009, GodKeano16 wrote:

    Hmm I also wrote something earlier slagging off Johnny Tearful... Maybe, now that he has some more spare time on his hands, he's actually turned to moderating?

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  • 161. At 5:39pm on 07 May 2009, newnomi wrote:

    Chelsea deserved to be beaten for bringing their particular brand of ugliness to the beautiful game. I'm happy it happened. Now for ManU v. Barca. Football would have lost if ugly Chelsea were going to Rome.

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  • 162. At 5:48pm on 07 May 2009, soccerinteg wrote:

    SHAME on you guys for making DROGMA into a big DROMA.
    How about Terry and Ballack's drama - snorting, nagging and berating of the Norse referee?

    It looks like Drogba is make into a scapegoat. Is it because he is the most expendable black goat around to be sacrificed and explained for Chelsea loss. Naah its the jingoistic media bullying again.

    Guus would have been perfect, IMHO, if he had used the same strategy and strong lineup (Anelka/Drogba duo) at Chelsea in Barcelona.

    Drogba should develop his left leg without which he won't be a complete lethal striker.

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  • 163. At 5:49pm on 07 May 2009, UnitedBoy28 wrote:

    I dont understand all this talk about chelsea being the better team because they "stifled" barcelona. They were overly negative in my opinion, allowing to a team to have so much possesion at home is a really disappointing tactic for such an expensively assembled squad to take. So I have no sympathy when a team as good as barcelona take the only clear chance they got in the second leg, and it was a stunning finish aswell. Agree with most assessments of the penalty claims, piques handball should of been spotted. But these things constantly happenin in football. Evey right to be agrieved about it, but talk of conspiracies and all that is just ridiculous. Ref had a bad day theres nothing that can be done about it

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  • 164. At 5:50pm on 07 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    I would agree, Ovrebo must be punished and UEFA can't clean up their dirty hands on this match. UEFA must be responsible !!! and they must gift a fair compensation to Chelsea. Or they are become blind and deft !!!

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  • 165. At 5:51pm on 07 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    Ovrebo may be next terror or killing target of Chelsea fans like Frisk.

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  • 166. At 5:53pm on 07 May 2009, Angiox wrote:

    I assume that you have no complains about the referee in the first match (Barcelona-Chelsea), several Chelsea players deserved to be sent off during the first match and, therefore, they wouldn't play the second one (Essien, Ballack, Malouda,...). However, it seems that the first 90 minutes had never happened, just the second match, just the second referee...

    Gus Hiddink never saw something like this... Tiny memory then, I remember Corea against Spain in a World Championship and, ups, Gus was Cores's manager.

    So, please stop crying like children and begin to assume that Chelsea did not deserve being in the final.

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  • 167. At 5:55pm on 07 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 168. At 6:05pm on 07 May 2009, rudijay wrote:

    Referees should have to tolerate all kinds of abuse for getting things so badly wrong while they refuse to use technology.
    All players want is the correct decisions and therefore the correct result.
    Technology could at least guarantee the major cockups are rectified.

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  • 169. At 6:06pm on 07 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    DROGBA is a hero because he "fight" for something 'OUT OF SPORTIVITY'done by Ovrebo. If UEFA back this Bad referee, then UEFA will no more be a Fair Organization for it members. POOR of Europe Football Community which have this Association. hohoho..............

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  • 170. At 6:06pm on 07 May 2009, BS35Gas wrote:

    Through everyone getting caught up in Chelsea's injustice and the disgrace that was their actions after the final whistle. People seem to be forgetting that Barca will be without Abidal for the final after a shocking dive by Anelka, Drogba should have put away that sitter and could have been clean through after about five minutes, but somehow contrived to mis-control a brilliant through ball, and as a result of Abidal being sent-off Chelsea had 20 minutes to put the game to bed against ten men and a weakend Barca backline and failed!

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  • 171. At 6:14pm on 07 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    Sent out Abidal doesn't mean that Chelsea has lost three penalties. It's a different ball game guys ! This shows more evidence that the referee is incompetence and UEFA must be responsible !

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  • 172. At 6:19pm on 07 May 2009, olympicgoat wrote:

    You have to remember though - even if the penalties had all been given, John Terry would just have missed them all anyway!

    Barca totally don't deserve to win, but Chelsea's dire play in the first leg of not even attempting to try for an away goal came back and bit them, and rightly so in my opinion. It's all very well to say that it's impossible to get a win against an in-form Barca at Camp Nou, but for a team competing in the last 4 to be crowned the best in Europe, you shouldn't be afraid to have a go at them.

    Extremely lucky for Barca to have got through though, and without Alves, Marquez, Abidal and possibly Milito, Ronaldo and Rooney will have a field day with their defence in the final.

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  • 173. At 6:24pm on 07 May 2009, Michael Casserly wrote:

    You and all the other English men need to stop being apologists over rubbish, you cannot expect a team to defend for 180 minutes and go through to play the finals that is extremely obsurd. I do not care who has this silly chat about winning ugly or pretty, a team of Chelsea's calibre; the experince, the depth and the power that their players have, it is much more criminal for them to play 180 minutes with 10 defenders. That is not football, for you to say otherwise is bull crap and you
    know it. For you to actually right in your column that Chelsea deserved to win that game is beyond adacity. When I listen to the Chelsea's apologists speaks all I hear is the Jamie Foxx song "Blame Blame It on
    Rrr-eeee-eefff", as far as I am concerned when it comes to those fouls you guys are talking about, talking about those fouls is pretty much silly chatting, simply becuase Chelsea are the ones who are the ones who
    choose to play with so much power and strength in their game; you and Chealsea are just mad that Barcalona have chosen that they are not going to be bullied and pushed around like little boys, even Messi was up for the fight when he put Terry on the floor (letting him know you have to shot me to get ball). The other reason why Barcalona deserved that draw, Gradiola tactical decision to play Toure at centre back and Pigue
    in midfield, that is where Barcalona won the game, that made a whole lot a dfference.

    These are things you shouold be talking about they have meet hard luck, no other football team have had more good luck than Chelsea.

    Please just be objective stop subjective to silly talk, talk hard like when you speak about Arsenal, and yes I am a Arsenal fan and yes I do not agree sometimes with what is said but I could never
    say that your opinion were never sincere.

    Have a good day.

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  • 174. At 6:29pm on 07 May 2009, spurs_hopeful wrote:

    Drogba deserves everything uefa throw at him. It was a disgraceful act for anyone who is called a professional. especially one who is in the media spotlight. you can imagine now that millions of school kids will be trying to re-enact this in the play gorund or during school matches. Note aint big and it aint clever!!!

    Drogba should take more responcibility for is position. I usually watch matched with my 5 yr old daughter but thank god she wasn't watching that disgrace.

    I was looking fwd to an all english final again as it send a msg to the world that english football is the best in the world. Before drogba's outburst i was feeling sorry for Chelsea, but after that i really had no sympathy for them at all.

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  • 175. At 6:32pm on 07 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    Arsenal fans is always talking rubbish ! we are chelsea fans need to express our opinion. You are out our our environtment Emperor Mad !

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  • 176. At 6:37pm on 07 May 2009, Tigereagleeye wrote:

    I like your comments, but I think that Barcelona deserved more the win. Chelsea was more worried on playing physical and in defending, relying only in the counter attacks. Many English teams play like this and that's why they dominate the Championship league competition these years. The other cluns aren't use to play that physical and seem to get frightened and play cowardly. The entire Barcelona midfielders and Forwards were afraid and were quickly letting go ther ball. Not even Eto could control the ball, because Chelsea players were just too big and strong, playing physical football. But the strategy does work for the English teams. I think Barcelona has, learnt a lot from this game and when they play Manchester it will surely be a wonderful game. Just hope both teams play well and that the best one wins.
    Chelsea had there opportunity to kill Barca and they failed. Even when Barca was with ten players they just focused in defending, physical contact and counterattacking. All they did was to kick the ball as far sa they can and let Drogwood and the other strong guys fight for it which worked well, for them, but failed to capitalize. That's football!!!

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  • 177. At 6:41pm on 07 May 2009, yoponz wrote:

    yay! Comment number 177!

    Erm...Chelsea robbed??

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  • 178. At 6:43pm on 07 May 2009, Steve Heath wrote:

    Although chelsea where unlucky to loose last night, the real winner here is football. I for one do not like a team that sits back and defends for 180 minutes. I know people will say "they have to" against barca, and yes they do, but all that proves are that they are the weaker team. And as for drogba shouting at the ref because he didnt get a penalty for diving, he should have scored numerous times so he has only himself to blame! what a n00b

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  • 179. At 6:46pm on 07 May 2009, greatandre wrote:

    What's Drogba has done is to ask for a Fair decision from Ovrebo to his team however what's referee has done is to defend and cover their hidden conspiracy agenda, "not for All English Final" in the name of "business strategy". FAIRNESS is always the opposite of BUSINESS. UEFA must not be understood about this !

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  • 180. At 6:49pm on 07 May 2009, neohorridhelen wrote:

    "169. At 6:06pm on 07 May 2009, greatandre wrote:
    DROGBA is a hero because he "fight" for something 'OUT OF SPORTIVITY'done by Ovrebo. If UEFA back this Bad referee, then UEFA will no more be a Fair Organization for it members. POOR of Europe Football Community which have this Association. hohoho.............."

    Sportivity? wtf is that

    Drogba is just a bad loser in a team of bad losers.

    If people want to complain about the standard of refereeing then there are proper ways of doing it.

    If the super-rich super elite teams want to create a cadre of highly professional referees then they will have to put their money where their mouth is and fund the professional development of officials to a greater extent than they do. They won't do thak of course because they prefer to spend their money on overgrown children like drogba and ballack and john terry.

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  • 181. At 6:55pm on 07 May 2009, Rovers Return - HKR AWAY DAYS wrote:

    "Iniesta WAS booked"

    Aye crossed wires, checked on BBC page earlier and it did not show. Meh who cares now anyway?

    Good blog Robbo.

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  • 182. At 7:00pm on 07 May 2009, thecanio wrote:

    I feel for Chelsea. They very much dominated the game even if Barca had most possession. Personally I think Ovrebo did two mistakes and that was the two handball episodes. The Malouda incident started outside the box and for me it seemed as he fell when he saw the white line... When watching the replay you see the marks on the ground starts at the line and he falls just inside the line... A strict ref could even given him a card there... That said, Alves should be very happy to not getting booked in the first half...
    I have to give the ref credit for not giving the home team the advantage of the home ground, but to be honest maybe he was trying too hard to be neutral....
    All in all I think Barca deserved to be in the final, but not the way they played in the semis...
    The best final for me would have been Arsenal vs Barcelona or Chelsea vs ManU. The first game because of the individual finesse and attack minded teams, the second because of the nerve...
    Hopefully Barca gets their game together and defeat united in Rome...

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  • 183. At 7:12pm on 07 May 2009, Football_Honesty wrote:

    Football fans are known for their bias and team loyalties but in the case of last nights game you can only say Guus Hiddink got the tactics 100% right and Chelsea should be in the final.
    Real Madrid tried to out play Barcelona and lost 6-2. Arsenal tried to out play Man Utd and lost 4-1. Football isn't always about skill it is about outwitting the other team and playing to your own strengths. I am sure if England win the World Cup playing "ugly football" every English supporter will be happy.
    So for all the people who say or think Chelsea got what the deserved just think on this could be your team next year being rob of their place in the final of the biggest tournament in club football in the world or it could be England in 2010. The fact that some teams play very actractive football and we all enjoy watching them, but we all enjoy one thing more than this and that is seeing our club captains raising trophys above their heads.

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  • 184. At 7:17pm on 07 May 2009, donttellthemissus wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 185. At 7:29pm on 07 May 2009, neohorridhelen wrote:

    "183. At 7:12pm on 07 May 2009, Football_Honesty wrote:
    Football fans are known for their bias and team loyalties but in the case of last nights game you can only say Guus Hiddink got the tactics 100% right and Chelsea should be in the final."

    if his tactics were 100% right, then chelski WOULD be in the final. The fact is they are not. Despite some poor refereeing decisions, which affected both teams, Chelsea had chances to put the game beyond doubt, but didn't take them, and would have had more chances if they hadn't played anti-football. They were always vulnerable to the possibility of Barca eventually getting a decent cross in. More over when Barca went down to 10 men they played with 2 at the back for the most part- but Chelsea made no real effort to alter their tactics to exploit that.

    Chelsea lost and should look to themselves for having done so.

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  • 186. At 7:29pm on 07 May 2009, kinglofthouse wrote:

    We don't often agree but here for once I do. You tell me-what is "good football?" To my mind it's good passing, good dribbling, great tackling, reat defending, great goalkeeping and yea great goals more than anything. Why is it now that the team that can pass sixty times in the centre circle with some fancy dan footwork thrown in is labelled "the best"?. Have they moved the goalposts? What am I missing here? I have two things that I hope support my view.

    1 Gordon Banks's save from Pele
    2 Bobby Moore's tackle, same game.

    Why do these instances stick out? Because they are all part of what makes this game the game it is. Maybe Bobby Moore should have been booked for "spoiling". He probably would have been right now.

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  • 187. At 7:34pm on 07 May 2009, xyMarshall wrote:

    First, the integrity of the sport of Football is, in my opinion, in question here, first and foremost. Compared to other sports, for example: Basketball, where 3 officials refer the game (on a smaller court/field, compared to Football) or; Gridiron, where you have a profusion of officials, you have to wonder at the resistance of football's administrators to progress the game. Because, the fundermental reason yesterday's game degenerated into the farce it did stemmed from a refusal to acknowledge that 1 referee, assisted by 2 "lines-persons", isn't adequate to refer the modern game.

    So, FIFA or UEFA can hand out all the suspensions they want to Drogba, Ballack et al, they will not have done anything to really address the problem. Therefore, whether it's a matter of deploying more (active) referees or refering for video-evidence, something, far more tangible, other than the obligatory suspensions ought to to be done.

    Second, any (away) team that retained 71% possession of a game, as Barcelona did, always deserve to win that game. Who, what true footy-lover, would want to see the negativity, deployed by Chelsea yesterday, in the final. Can a 29% possession rate, by a team, that cost half a billion to build and, playing at home, be considered anything other than negative. It merely gave us an insight into the sort of match the Final might have turned out to be.

    Third, and finally, it was lamentable that Jamie Redknapp brought the matter of the referee's nationality, no matter the context, into question. I hope he apologizes, unreservedly.

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  • 188. At 7:36pm on 07 May 2009, TNeile wrote:

    Was Chelsea robbed? When you leave the back door open with your wallet on the table, the keys in the ignition of your car and go have a snooze for 90 minutes, you almost deserve to be robbed. In more than 180 minutes, to score only one improbable goal, not scored by any sort of hard work but by one masterful piece of inspired play by one individual (cheers to Essien, though I also remember his first season when he broke Ivan Campos' leg with a vicious tackle...goes around, comes around) is almost as criminal as anything that's been alleged here. You deserve to be beaten by another improbable goal. I've seen many Chelsea players cheat their way into victories, including Lampard and Ballack. Drogba, don't make me laugh. When professional wrestlers shout threats and epithets into the camera with their faces lit up with rage, it's funny. This guy does it and it's sad. Hiddink, though, is true class. He's the real deal. I already had respect for him, but it doubled after this match. Many people in all four of the semi-final teams, have the right to feel aggrieved over one thing or another.

    Seen situations like the Pique non-call often. Fifty percent of the time, it's called. Fifty percent of the time, it isn't. Webb probably would have called it. Riley probably would not. It was undoubtedly ball to hand. To call it would have been as harsh on Barca as not calling it was on Chelsea. Essien clears the ball from his penalty area, none of this would have mattered a bit. And where were the multiple yellow cards for Drogba's diving offenses? What hurts these guys most is when someone challenges their sense of entitlement. That's the root cause of their horrendous lack of emotional discipline, year after year. Except for Lampard, of course. He seems to be a bit more mature.

    I enjoyed the hell out of that match, no matter how dull Chelsea tried to make it.

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  • 189. At 7:37pm on 07 May 2009, kinglofthouse wrote:

    Football Honesty
    It's your sort of theinking that gets me. Why isn't tackling a skill? Why isn't great goalkeeping a skill? Why isn't great heading a skill? Etc etc. Tell you what-let's abandon "goals"-let's just have a panel of three people (maybe Simon Cowell and two of his mates) and give points for style-well your view of style anyway. In other words give it to Barca now because they are "pretty" to watch. If I have to watch that centre circle sixty passes stuff much longer, I'm off to watch fishing on the radio.

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  • 190. At 7:44pm on 07 May 2009, BestSpam1979 wrote:

    Somewhere in the world, Scolari is laughing til it hurts.

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  • 191. At 7:51pm on 07 May 2009, Faz wrote:

    There's a lot of talk on here about "fact this, fact that"

    There's only one fact in all of this......

    Chelsea 0-1 Barcelona

    It's over!

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  • 192. At 7:55pm on 07 May 2009, Faz wrote:

    I mean know what I meant!

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  • 193. At 8:02pm on 07 May 2009, SummersIron wrote:

    54. At 3:00pm on 07 May 2009, pitroddieloon wrote:
    How can Barca be the best team in the world when in 4 games against English opposition they haven't created one clear cut chance?
    Eh? In the first leg, Eto'o was through on goal, and Bojan headed over from six yards out. About as clear-cut as it gets. Over the two legs they had more shots and slightly more shots on target.
    Yes, it is annoying when they pass it around in the centre-circle for ages, but it tires the opposition out and allows them to find men in space. Chelsea didn't need to do this because Barcelona were defensively naive, and their defense all play like midfielders. Toure especially seemed to think he was still playing in CM. Only Alves's pace kept Barca in that game, despite his poor crossing.
    But in an attacking sense, over the two legs, Barca were a lot better at it than Chelsea.

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  • 194. At 8:05pm on 07 May 2009, wedontknowfootball wrote:

    well said robbo.

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  • 195. At 8:22pm on 07 May 2009, backinwhite wrote:

    Interesting how Chelsea's two biggest protesters, Ballack and Drogba, were the two people who had it in their hands to win the game for Chelsea. Drogba's miss and Ballack turning his back and ducking rather than risking being hit by a football when Iniesta scored were two pivotal moments in the match that were in Chelsea's control. Barcelona players fouling them, and referess not giving decisions were outside of Chelsea's control.
    Still, it's easier to blame others rather than hold your hand up and admit to your own failings.

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  • 196. At 8:26pm on 07 May 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Good point #196.
    Forgot that Ballack's closing down of Iniesta on the goal was woeful. One minute left and he trotted out like a poodle just out of the parlour. Wheater-esque.

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  • 197. At 8:27pm on 07 May 2009, DenistheGenius wrote:

    #180 makes an outstanding point - all these trillion $$ teams can call the whambulance until they turn blue (Chelski blue). why don't they put some of their vast fortune into developing more educated refs and implementing technology for the good of the game?
    what's that you say? you'd rather spend it all on self-interests you greedy b***tards? then you've only got yourselves to blame!

    and did anyone care to notice that Fletcher only got a wee touch on the ball because he's pulled on Cesc's shoulder first?! when did pulling arms, shirts, shorts become ignored by refs as part of the beautiful game? yet another plague on the game that we'd do well to fight against.

    (if i've said something "unacceptable" in the above, then i simply give up on the BBC)

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  • 198. At 8:37pm on 07 May 2009, chelseawererobbed wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 199. At 8:49pm on 07 May 2009, backinwhite wrote:

    and if Chelsea were "robbed" at least they can afford it!

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  • 200. At 9:07pm on 07 May 2009, toonjakey89 wrote:

    While Chelsea have every right to feel hard done by, I for one am celebrating the fact that Barca won in the end. Yes they had 70% possession and only made 1 shot on target with it, but that has more to do with Chelsea's tactics than Barcelona's incompetence - the second that Chelsea lost possession they had 10 men back, packing the 20yards outside of their own area, making it impossible for Barca to do anything.

    While there are those who argue this is good tactic nous from Hiddink, isn't this the same team who have whinged and whined many a time over the last few years about teams "parking the bus"?? It seems petulant to me that Chelsea complain about it, and then employ the same tactic as soon as it suits them!

    Personally, I would love to see an attacking final with Man U playing as Barca did last night - attacking with pace when they are allowed, and then chasing the ball hard as soon as they lose it. How football should be played in my humble opinion, and not a repeat of that dull final from last year. The best two attacking teams bar NONE in the world going at it hammer & tongs. I cannot wait for Rome.

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  • 201. At 9:12pm on 07 May 2009, samsupercfc wrote:

    dorgba may have taken it a bit far but i think most people would have felt and done the same if put in that situation! getting rid of drogba would be the worst thing chelsea could do, he is vital to our success as good be seen last night, drogba was at the middle of every oppurtunity and is a class act, if a little childish!

    The refereeing was an absolute disgrace and i think UEFA have an awful lot of apologising to do to us chelsea fans!

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  • 202. At 9:18pm on 07 May 2009, DefendAndAttack wrote:

    Just as bad as Drogba and Ballack's actions last night was John Terry defending Drogba:
    "I am fully behind Didier for the way he reacted," declared Terry after the game.
    What?!!! This man is supposed to be the captain of England, a role model for kids to look up to, and yet he thinks coming back onto the pitch after you've been subbed (which is an offence in itself) to physically indimidate and verbally abuse the ref is acceptable!
    I have to say that as a neutral I'm delighted that Chelsea lost, given the way they conduct themselves on and off the pitch. They may have all the money in the world, but they continually prove that you can't buy class.

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  • 203. At 9:38pm on 07 May 2009, starFloridian wrote:

    I could not believe the poor quality of the refereeing in this game, in which Chelsea, by any measure, were robbed. No excuse for the histrionics of Drogba, who should have put the game away at point-blank range, but there were three pretty obvious penalties refused by that inept referee. I thought Barcelona outplayed Chelsea most of the game, but they were very fortunate to win in the end. That referee needs to be sanctioned pretty severely - his red carding of the Barca player was also suspect. Up the Villa!!

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  • 204. At 10:22pm on 07 May 2009, Gunishment wrote:

    Chelsea robbed? Probably ... but the Drog-boy cried wolf a little too often. Not to mention his 2 misses.

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  • 205. At 11:16pm on 07 May 2009, findegorgorito wrote:

    Well I also think that Chelsea should have been given the one penalty yesterday. On the other hand Bayern Munich should have never got a penalty against Valencia in the 2003 final (for instance). Also many Chelsea supporters seem to have forgotten the harsh game Chelsea played in Barcelona; That Ballack should have been booked, sento off, and then would have not played yesterday; that Pujol was unfairly given a yellow card that prevented him from playing; that one tackle left Henri unconscious on the floor and nothing happened; plus the penalty that I didn't expect would be awarded... anyway, the point is that refereeing should change and move on with the times and have a referee watching some monitor for those situations when it is really worth having a second look... on the other hand, the decision on that Alves' tackle to Malouda, and after watching it on telly, can still range from: "no doubt a penalty" to "it's not even a faul in the first place"

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  • 206. At 11:27pm on 07 May 2009, lionjonchris wrote:

    Robbo I don't understand your logic in overturning the red cards for abidal and fletcher because they will be missing the game of their lives? What about all the Chelsea players, who will wrongly be missing the game of their lives too. Why shouldn't this match be replayed? Why shouldn't Man Utd do the decent thing and refuse to play Barcelona, who clearly do not deserve to be in the final. But nothing will happen, nothing ever does, UEFA hate England, live in the dark ages and are corrupted my money! Oh and by the way Robbo, Drogba didn't have a sitter to tap in - perhaps you should watch it again more carefully. Give the guy a break for God's sake

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  • 207. At 11:31pm on 07 May 2009, englandcomeon wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 208. At 11:36pm on 07 May 2009, schnickelbop wrote:

    Alves on Malouda: first contact was outside the box - free kick, them's the rules as far as I know.
    Pique's handball was the only stonewaller for me.

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  • 209. At 11:38pm on 07 May 2009, englandcomeon wrote:

    a role model for kids to look up to, and yet he thinks coming back onto the pitch after you've been subbed (which is an offence in itself) to physically indimidate and verbally abuse the ref is acceptable!
    I have to say that as a neutral I'm delighted that Chelsea lost


    Steady on son, I would personally liked to have had a go at the ref myself, and I didn't even invest a season trying to reach the final and 360 mins against Barcelona, never mind the kids, if this sort of thing is repeated the game will be dead, as that looked just like a fix and don't be surprised if it comes out one day, all sport id riddled with match fixing, betting rings and doping. I've never seen such a travesty, get off that high horse, I think that was the reply of a man who know his team has been "done" and nobody will stand for that (at least nobody with half a backbone)

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  • 210. At 11:53pm on 07 May 2009, NQFury wrote:

    In all the brouhaha of DD's tantrum the continuing poor behaviour of Princess John Terry and Cranky Franky Lampard has been overlooked. Life as football is a great leveler - what goes around comes around, if you behave like churlish brats, officials lose patience and often don't pander to your whims when there are close calls. Princess John and Cranky Franky spend too much time bullying officials when the slightest thing doesn't go their way. Word must get around the ref's rooms that Chelsea are difficult and disrespectful of the officials and just a bit up themselves - result is that marginal decisions probably won't go your way. It didn't break make heart nor did I feel a sense of injustice when AI popped the ball into the top corner 93 mins into stoppage time. Send the Chelsea squad on a Royal Marines recruit training camp for six weeks in the summer, toughen up up so than deal with their disappointment. I wonder how they'll behave when Everton do them in Wembley in a couple of weeks?

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  • 211. At 00:29am on 08 May 2009, dliodor wrote:

    Compare the class of Pep Guardiola with all that went after with 5 mins to go he was seen to put his arm around Hiddink in an embrace that was all about recognising that despite 2 awful refereeing displays it was still a heavyweight contest worthy of a semi final. The chelsea display at the end was more appalling than any incompetence of a Norwegian and it was a pleasure to see Pep and his cules triumph over an oligarch's mercenaries ,roll on the final between the two finest clubs in the world.

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  • 212. At 00:39am on 08 May 2009, United - The best team in league history FACT ! wrote:

    At the end of the day, histrionics aside Chelsea were simply found to be NOT good enough to go through to the final. That is a cold hard fact and all the tantrums won't change it. However, is Gus Hiddink really such a tactical genius ?? Really ? because if tactical genius means basically sticking the whole team on the back line and doing everything possible to play in a negative fashion with time wasting, acting, diving and persistent fouling and then hoofing it up the ground for a hopeful goal or wishful penalty then that would make the manager of just about any side in the bottom half on any league with less talent than the opposition a tactical genius. Barca came to play, Chelsea came to spoil, and in the end they spoiled the game ...for themselves. I wonder with all that expensive talent at their disposal what would have happened if Chelsea had attacked with their usual power and spirit ? I reckon they would have been in the final now because let's face it, Barca are not really that good and have a suspect temperament, but watching the first leg was like going to the dentist, Justice has been served up to Chelsea on a very cold platter and unfortunately they got all they deserved. Hopefully next year they will realise they got it all wrong and come out to play ?

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  • 213. At 01:48am on 08 May 2009, Arctic wrote:

    Thing is Barcelona aren't that much better than Chelsea are they? The arrogance they display when a team goes their ground and refuses to let them score cutesy goals irritates the crap out of me.

    But having said that Chelsea need to be taught a lesson in sportsmanship. When you lose, learn to do so with a bit of grace and without the flagrant disrespect to match officials. He got some things wrong? He's human and FIFA still prefer to live in the dark ages when it comes to technology that could help make a ref's life a bit easier.

    And what about this irrational rule that says human error can't be noticed after a game? If we notice that referees are human and make mistakes, that might force us to use technology to help them?

    This rule has been repeatedly shown to be archaic, out of touch and absolutely unjust to players every year it's been in place. And to think they've tried to force the same nonsense on our league game too.

    If a player is incorrectly sent off it does nothing but good to recognise the fact and revoke a ban. Saying that players must serve bans for things they haven't done hardly infuses an attitude of respect.

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  • 214. At 02:06am on 08 May 2009, Wot Kuyt 'e did wrote:

    When big strong men spend half their time falling over in the penalty area, you have to wonder who really is a disgrace.

    Drogba was more preoccupied with how next to hit the turf than with scoring goals, which he should have done with ease last night if he'd set his mind to it. I do believe Chelsea were the "better" team, but they should have confirmed that for good long before the 93rd minute.

    I think 2 out of 3 refs might have given a penalty for when the ball struck Piquet's hand, but I can understand why he didn't. Most of the other shouts were as much Chelsea playing for the Euro-ref tendency of blowing whenever anyone falls over, but they were not very convincing.

    I wasn't concerned with either team and watched it in France surrounded by 40/40/20 Chelsea/Barca/neutral supporters. When I read the comments on the English blogs I've got the impression we watched a completely different game. From this perspective it seems English club supporters feel they are "owed" results & decisions - as witnessed again in Ferguson's comments pressuring the ref to overturn Fletcher's red card.

    But maybe it is only the PL clubs that have the privilege "to justify a departure from procedure", to quote UEFA general secretary David Taylor?

    It is far from endearing to neutral foreign observers.

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  • 215. At 02:39am on 08 May 2009, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    Well, now that there's a bit more distance since the game and thousands of opinions have been aired, what's the conclusion?

    As A Man Utd fan I wanted Barca in the final but at the end of the game I was gutted for Chelsea. They were robbed! It wasn't the usual case of 1 debatable penalty decision but 4.

    No.1:It was debateable but many refs would have given it.
    No.2:For me, was a definite penalty. Drogba was pulled back AND tripped.
    No.3:Almost unanimous sgreement that this was a blatant handball that prevented Anelka getting past the defender. How could the ref AND the assistant ref both miss this?
    No.4: Most people would say ball to arm. No penalty.

    This game makes the strongest argument I've seen for the use of video technology. I have never been a big fan of this but on the evidence of the injustices in this game something must be done.

    Drogba will be banned and his behaviour was not excusable. However, I understand where the emotion was coming from.

    As for those who criticise Chelsea's approach to the two games......go learn something about football.

    Great teams have balance between attack and defence, and can vary their formations, personnel and tactics to suit different situations. Barca only have 1 game plan and their weakness is defence. With 30% possession Chelsea dominated this game. You don't have to have the ball to dominate. All the incisive attacks (and most entertaining moments) were Chelseas.

    How many times had they 1 on 1 or 2 on 2 situations with Barca defenders and really should have had the game sewn up regardless of the penalty claims.

    Chelsea were comfortably the better team over the 2 legs, got their tactics and game plan spot on and in the end it was daylight robbery!

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  • 216. At 03:14am on 08 May 2009, Beowulf's Dad wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 217. At 03:15am on 08 May 2009, thommydoc wrote:

    I don't normally subscribe to blogs...but yours is outstanding. Perfect assesment of the Chelsea Barca game ( I would say that as I agree with you!).
    My dad took me to Stamford Bridge in 1955. I had no choice. Abramovic did. But I think he cares. And he could afford his round in the Bluebell.
    Keep it up Robbo. I hope those tight buggers at the BBC are paying you properly.

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  • 218. At 04:45am on 08 May 2009, hkaulsay wrote:

    A team loses out on a champion's league finals spot, due to the gross incompetence (putting it mildly) of the ref. It's akin to a surgeon amputating a wrong limb... the mistakes were that bad! It's understandable that if he were in doubt, walk over to the 4th official, see the replay, and then make a decision, but not once was this done. The better team lost out, and UEFA should really be answerable for the refs they chose for such games. And in a game with such high stakes, we blame the players for losing their cool? It's not right they did it, but was the behaviour from Drog or Ballack really that bad. Would Man U players not done the same? What the point is here is under the same conditions, and this is a very rare case to see 4 penalty appeals not given, would any other team not have reacted the same...given a CL finals spot at stake? The players are always held responsibe, given yellow cards, made to apologize, suspended from games for their actions.They pay the price! What happens to the refs? Nothing, and are free to mess up again next time! A final question...if most of us we to perform at our jobs in the same way Overbo did, would we still have our jobs?

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  • 219. At 07:07am on 08 May 2009, Bigdog wrote:

    Well, as a Chelsea supporter and football fan who was at the game I am now ashamed of my club and country. However great the disappointment (and it was huge), to make threats and possibly even death threats against a referee or anyone else concerned with a game is outrageous and cannot be tolerated in any fashion.
    I made what I thought was a light-hearted comment myself about the referee earlier in this blog but with hindsight and in light of the current situation that was a mistake, however unintended it was. I can't believe how this whole episode has spiralled out of control and it seems to me that things now need to change. There is just simply too much pressure on one individual. The introduction of technology in the form of a 4th official using video evidence now seems inevitable. It is generally used to great affect by other sports - Rugby springs to mind - and I think we need it here. To say it slows the game down has less bearing when you think how players arguing with the referee over contentious decisions can extend for several minutes. I also think sin bins should be introduced to curb bad behaviour on the pitch, but that discussion is probably best saved for another time.

    In the mean time, my apologies to Mr Ovrebo on behalf of myself, my club and my country. He does not deserve to be treated in this way and I hope he can overcome this situation and return to normal life.

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  • 220. At 08:19am on 08 May 2009, CypriotJohn wrote:

    Chelsea as a whole should be disqualified from European competition for the next 3 years, at least. Ballack assaulting a referee, Drogba behaving like a crazed buffoon, Bosingwa with slanderous talk,Terry condoning it all, so called fans making death threats, its a disgrace! Thing is we have seen it all before from this bunch, remember Mourinho with his accusations regarding a referee that resulted in the ref hanging up his whistle? The whole set up at Chelsea is nothing short of disgraceful. UEFA need to sort them out this time.

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  • 221. At 08:31am on 08 May 2009, NeilG42 wrote:

    In the meantime it'd be nice if Uefa did pull their fingers out of wherever the ninnies leave them and overturn the red cards for Abidal and Fletcher that were so witlessly given. Neither of them lads should be missing one of the games of their lives. It's silly and easily fixable.

    Truer words were never spoken. BOTH sending offs were a joke.

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  • 222. At 09:35am on 08 May 2009, HoldenIBM wrote:

    Sick and tired of self-righteous "Rugby League / Union fans" coming on to football blogs and stating that all football players are yobs and hooligans and that a "jolly good leaf should be taken out of rugger player's books, old chap..." Go to Google. Type in "rugby player charged", and hit search. See how many of these exemplary sportsmen are charged with assault, sexual violence, drunken thuggery, etc, etc, etc...As for Chelsea: for good or evil, they entertained us, didn't they? And that's all that counts in these dull days of economic depression.

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  • 223. At 10:02am on 08 May 2009, gt29201 wrote:

    Robbo, best assesment i've seen. As a Man U Fan I am pleased to be playing Barca that Chelsea, I would rather lose 2-1 in a good game than wait for 120 mins of the same as last year and hope we get the luck in the Penalty shoot out.

    I think the behavour of several of the Chelsea players is inexcusable, I don't care how much the ref got wrong (or Did he actualy get as much wrong as we are saying)? The fact is as proffesional footballers on 100K + per week we should expect more. If a police officer was to react like tht to jo public who constalt abuses Him/Her we would be asking for his/Her head.

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  • 224. At 10:27am on 08 May 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    CypriotJohn: "Chelsea as a whole should be disqualified from European competition for the next 3 years, at least"

    I think they should go further... give every chelsea player a community order... or better yet let Chelsea play in Europe next year but they have to play in flip flops (ala Drogba) for every game... or better yet divers boots!

    Or maybe... and just maybe, the whole thing wasn't as bad as all that, they acted like prats and have been rightly condoned for thier pathetic actions... As for this talk that they are role models for kids, as a father of 2 myself i prefer to leave the parenting to ME and not a footballer... Call me old fashioned!

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  • 225. At 11:00am on 08 May 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    217. At 03:15am on 08 May 2009, thommydoc wrote:
    I don't normally subscribe to blogs...but yours is outstanding. Perfect assesment of the Chelsea Barca game ( I would say that as I agree with you!).
    My dad took me to Stamford Bridge in 1955. I had no choice. Abramovic did. But I think he cares. And he could afford his round in the Bluebell.
    Keep it up Robbo. I hope those tight buggers at the BBC are paying you properly.


    At last a true intellectual and a right savvy bloke too! I might be needing an agent, ThommyDoc. You'll beneeding the extra money if you're paying Chelsea season ticket prices.

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  • 226. At 11:00am on 08 May 2009, Chippelsea wrote:

    Love the article, but one thing rankles...

    I am English and proud of it. I support an English football team and have particular teams that I hate. I will, however, always support the English team over another country, no matter how much I dislike them. So, I will be cheering on Man U in the CL final, it blows my mind to hear Englishmen supporting a foreign team playing an English team. Come on everyone, back the English to win, I know it will be painful next season with the gloating that comes with that, but it is flying the flag.

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  • 227. At 11:19am on 08 May 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Don't bring all that up, Chippelsea, or we'll need a brand new messageboard. Suffice to say I will be neutral on the final but hope to be royally entertained by the likes of Ronaldo, Rooney, Messi and Henry. I expect, however that someone we've not given a moment's thought to - like John O'Shea - will be the matchwinner.

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  • 228. At 11:27am on 08 May 2009, Jammy wrote:

    i'm a united fan but i think chelsea were robbed. They really deserved to win, though not every team that deserves to win wins. I think this stuff about conspiracy may or maybe not be true. The ref made so many blunders but i think if chelsea had utilised the one man advantage they had, they would have scored a second goal and be settled rather than relying on the ref when we know that they take decisions when they feel like whether right or wrong. Personally, i wanted us to play barca than chelsea and it happened. Tom Henning Ovrebo has put himself in the spotlite whether we agree or not, he will still be selected by Uefa for big games. Chelsea fans should take heart and hope they win the Fa cup.

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  • 229. At 11:29am on 08 May 2009, raszobbo wrote:

    UEFA will GIVE the CL cup to Barca. So be prepared for another robbery!!!

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  • 230. At 12:06pm on 08 May 2009, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    Robbo, any truth in the rumour that FIFA are introducing a new line on the pitch, parallel with the half-way line but 25 yards out from goal?

    I hear they'll cal it the "Messi" know, that invisible line that Messi runs over and back across all night when faced with a quality English defence!

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  • 231. At 12:36pm on 08 May 2009, Spitfire wrote:

    Two things Robbo!

    One, Almunia's performance the other night proved he is more English than believed. Blinder in one game, blinded the next.

    And the second, You ALWAYS hear a pint drop!

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  • 232. At 12:37pm on 08 May 2009, BigKoko2004 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 233. At 12:56pm on 08 May 2009, highlowsell wrote:

    Again no one mentions the use of instant replay - if this had been done it would have been blatantly obvious the Pique incident was handball. Where is the stress in stopping the game to have a look and ensure a correct decision. UEFA (and most others for some reason)think this will disrupt the continuity of the game. Nonsense. There are only a few instances where this should be used. Goal mouth incidence ie has the ball crossed the line and handballs in the box. The people stopping the introduction of instant replay have something to hide. There are no sensible arguments against it and it should be introduced immediately before we have another farcical situation such as the Roy Carroll incident when he 'saved' the ball from 'going in' from a full meter behind the goal line.
    Chelsea were robbed cos some Finish bloke didnt want them to go through - too much power in the hands of a single fool.

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  • 234. At 1:04pm on 08 May 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Oi Don't diss the Finns! Even if the blokes have girly names (Jussi, Kimi, etc.) Ovrebo is Norwegian and cos of the insanity of some fans he needed security with him all the way back to his homeland... what you might call a fjord escort.

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  • 235. At 1:04pm on 08 May 2009, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    @233: Funny how many people refer to that Spurs 'goal' at Utd when making a case for video replay. The fact is that video replay would not have been invoked in that game!

    The ref/lineman and Spurs players were all so far down the pitch that none had any ides that the ball crossed the line and there was no major appeals at the time.

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  • 236. At 1:09pm on 08 May 2009, shergarlives wrote:

    What nobody seems to have mentioned as far as I can see is how well the crowd took this. Perhaps they, like me, were just to numb.

    But can you imagine what would have happened with a similar situation in Rome, Athens or Istanbul (and, possibly, Barcelona)?

    Perhaps Platini and Blatter should take a look at such possibilities b/4 appointing a junior league official for such a big match again.

    By the by, I've looked at the penalty challenge on Drogba and I think people are getting blinded by the shirt pull. Drogba rode that but then went over the defender's leg i.e. he was also tripped!

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  • 237. At 1:43pm on 08 May 2009, RedBlueArmy92 wrote:

    Well if no one else is going to say anything... Robbo: "Fjord escort" class mate... pure class.

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  • 238. At 2:01pm on 08 May 2009, LoveQPR wrote:

    Didier Drogba!!!

    Yes his reaction was understandable but if he spent more time on his feet and less time behaving like a brat then he probably would have scored and put Chelsea through.

    The ref was shocking for both teams and shouldn't be allowed to ref big games in Europe again.

    But maybe, just maybe what happened at the Bridge was karma.

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  • 239. At 2:27pm on 08 May 2009, norbski wrote:

    Premiership footballers once again showing why you need a strong stomach to watch a match (and resulting melee) now.
    It's been said before but I'll say it again, they need to learn from their rugby counterparts who are paid significantly less than them, endure an infinitely higher level of contact and still show respect for the referee (and each other after the game).
    Why? Well 10 minutes in the sin bin helps.
    There is also the cry of 'advantage' when the ref spots an infringement which means play continues which could translate into football with the player trying to score the goal rather than looking like a puppet with the strings cut.
    Finally the kit rugby players wear stop shirt pulling but the replica industry won't have that and who wants to see the average football fan in a skintight kit?!?!?
    All this could be achived in a weekend, if the ref stated at the start of a match that only the captains can talk to him and after a few games being abandoned due to lack of players remaining on the pitch due to dissent, the prima donnas might start doing what the are paid for and play some entertaining football.

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  • 240. At 2:47pm on 08 May 2009, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    @HoldenIBM: "Sick and tired of self-righteous "Rugby League / Union fans" coming on to football blogs and stating that all football players are yobs and hooligans and that a "jolly good leaf should be taken out of rugger player's books, old chap..." Go to Google. Type in "rugby player charged", and hit search."

    You're failure to understand the difference between RL and RU makes you look foolish. League is a game played by thugs who are endlessly in the media for the reasons you point out. Union has none of this and is on a different level in terms of the point you make.

    It's the model to aspire to but unfortunately it probably comes down to the background of the individuals who play the game and in that sense football players are closer to the Rugby League brigade.

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  • 241. At 4:07pm on 08 May 2009, stretfordendred wrote:


    Ferguson pressurising the ref?

    Dont think so, (for once) he was accepting of the decision, I dont think calling him one of the best refs in Europe is pressurising him?

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  • 242. At 7:38pm on 08 May 2009, davis wrote:

    I'm beginning to doubt the existence of the Blue Bell. I was in a bar full of neutrals myself, and the Iniesta goal was greeted by one of the biggest cheers I've ever heard. I don't think any neutral wanted Chelsea to win after the sickening experience of watching Drogba dive everytime he lost the ball... the guy is such a joke! Everyone in the bar cheered when he was finally taken off. Honestley, its guys like him that give footballers a bad name. Why can't they respect the officials like in other sports? I don't buy the "because theyre so passionate about winning" argument... Don't passions run high in the Six Nations? I guess not!
    Also, Barca play football, Chelsea just try to stop their opponents playing football. Thats why everyone enjoyed the result except Chelsea fans and BBC pundits who think it's their duty to support the English team no matter what. What sense does that make when the teams have so many overseas players anyway? It doesnt matter how many chances each team created, it's about the way they play the game. Also, Barcas players were far better behaved after the injustice of having their man sent off for no reason. Neautral fans felt sorry for them... then had to witness Chelseas supreme unsportsmanlike behavior to the referee for the rest of the game.

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  • 243. At 7:43pm on 08 May 2009, davis wrote:

    And another thing... has any Chelsea fan stopped to consider the fact that if their team didnt spend half the time trying to work the referee with their ridiculous antics... THEN THE POOR GUY MIGHT HAVE ENDED UP MAKING CALMER DECISIONS AND THEY MIGHT HAVE GOT A PENALTY!

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  • 244. At 8:16pm on 08 May 2009, Tim_London wrote:

    I think it is a shame so many of these comments are from people who want to say different clubs are better than others. The main point is that ALL of football loses from incidents like this.

    OF COURSE the actions of players like Drogba were ugly and should be punished.

    But the POINT is that a major event - with millions of pounds at stake - was brought into disrepute through universally-acclaimed incompetence. I totally support the statement of person 218 who asks if a surgeon amputated the wrong limb what would we do? If we hired a plumber and they wrecked your house, you would sue them or the professional body they belong to. I expect Chelsea or some of the players to make their own lawsuit soon against UEFA for failure to deliver what they were contracted to do, with obvious financial loss to those affected.

    To all people who say Chelsea deserved to lose because they were negative:
    (i) if they were so negative then how come they had 4 penalty appeals turned down and had more shots on target than Barca?
    (ii) when England won the Rugby World Cup in 2003, they played a gritty and defensive game against France before opening up against Australia. Did we call England negative then?
    (iii) there was no suggestion of Chelsea being 'negative' against Liverpool !

    And no, I'm not a Chelsea fan. I was actually born in Blackburn (ouch). I just feel sick that a supposedly open and fair event was settled by total incompetence. It makes me lose any desire to watch football.

    Please, everyone, let's unite to make football a fairer game. We can't allow any more insults like this game happen again!

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  • 245. At 11:11pm on 08 May 2009, starFloridian wrote:

    When all is said and done, it is only a GAME, and the participants are paid far too much money for playing in the sport that has deteriorated into a tabloid version of the game that greats like Stanley Matthews and Billy Wright, and lesser-known and low paid players like Pongo Waring and Eric Houghton of Aston Villa memory, participated in. Pongo, after scoring a goal, would just trot back to the centre circle without tearing off his shirt and sliding across the turf towards the fans. Eric Houghton, acknowledged at the time as the hardest deadball kicker in the league, would put the ball in the net from the penalty spot and not follow up the ball in order to pick it up as a prize for doing what any professional footballer should do from that range. The national game is not what it used to be, more's the pity!

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  • 246. At 01:03am on 09 May 2009, Joaco Pires wrote:

    I'd say that Chelsea didn't win because: A)they didn't even try to attack in the away game. B)didn't score on most of their numerous chances at home and C)they didn't get some calls. But they weren't robbed. The Abidal card was none existant and Henry could've gotten a penalty call in the home game. I'd say that this is another reminder that Ref's need video assistance. I mean, if 60.000 people see something and 1 man doesn't how can that be the final say? It's not like they're playing for nothing, there's to much honor and money in play to leave it all to a single man...

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  • 247. At 04:47am on 09 May 2009, DennyCraneWHU wrote:

    Oi Robbo,

    What's this "in front of West Ham's barracking half-wits in a small section of Upton Park"? I wasn't at Upton Park last Sunday morning, our Oz TV time.

    And as for the ref needing a "fjord escort home", I think you need stronger pills, lol.

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  • 248. At 10:23am on 09 May 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Aw come on! I was right pleased with the 'fjord escort' for Ovrebo.

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  • 249. At 11:44am on 09 May 2009, ManiacInRed wrote:

    Drogba and most of the other Chelsea players are an utter disgrace to English football.

    Players who spend most of the game conning the officials into giving wrong decisions shouldn't complain when the officials actually make wrong decisions.

    Drogba is hypocricy personified

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  • 250. At 05:14am on 10 May 2009, Federer=Elegance wrote:

    Ya well as a Barca FaN,trust me it was like a climax after making love to the best looking woman in the whole world,Chelsea deserved it ,only because they havent learn the lesson of playing or not-yet-selling DD.

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  • 251. At 03:04am on 11 May 2009, mrcparsons wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 252. At 10:26pm on 11 May 2009, ArsenalIndian wrote:

    I'm not sure how legendary United were on Tuesday, Arsenal were frankly rubbish and would have (indeed, have) lost to the likes of Stoke, Villa and the other Manchester lot playing like that.

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  • 253. At 11:06pm on 13 May 2009, Squiddy2003 wrote:

    For the Malouda foul I'm really surprised people don't know what advantage means and who advantage has to be given to. After Alves' first foul the ref played on, allowing advantage to Malouda. Advantage means that if Alves eventually cleared LEGALLY then the foul would still be given in the original case because no advantage was taken. But when a second more serious foul was made the benefit of the advantage means the second foul can be given instead - in the position of that second foul, not of the first. It was a second foul. Straightforward.

    Abidal has admitted that he made contact and took Anelka down and that it was a worthwhile foul for the team, otherwise Anelka was straight through on goal. No argument is possible here with this admission.

    With the Drogba\Abidal penalty call, everyone sees the leg go across Drogba at first but he stays on his feet. Everyone sees the shirt tug, but Drogba stays on his feet. People seem to be struggling to see Abidal's leg going across Drogba's thigh as Drogba is about to surge forward one more pace. With the shirt still in Abidal's hand, Drogba inevitably goes down in a plain and obvious penalty. Drogba stays on his feet under two offences, but is accused of going down easily. When the third foul occurs while the 2nd foul is still going on tehre can be no argument against a penalty, nor any argument that Drogba stayed on his feet too long, but is criticised as if he didn't at all.

    The Pique penalty is a no-brainer.

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