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Bitter recriminations at the Bridge

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Phil McNulty | 01:40 UK time, Thursday, 7 May 2009

Tom Henning Ovrebo is a psychologist by profession - and Chelsea's Didier Drogba provided an unpalatable close-up study in human behaviour for the Norwegian referee amid bitter recriminations at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea appear eternally doomed in their quest to fill the largest empty space in their trophy room - a Champions League title. They can throw the game's largest cheque book at it, they can change players and they can change coaches, but they still cannot change their luck.

Claudio Ranieri's tinkering squandered a semi-final against Monaco in 2004. Luis Garcia's controversial "ghost goal" did for them against Liverpool in the last four a year later and John Terry's slip in a Moscow downpour resulted in him missing what could have been a winning penalty against Mancheser United in last year's final.

This season's hard luck story will centre on a burly and balding official whose failure to make the big calls correctly drove the high maintenance Drogba over any acceptable line of behaviour as Chelsea were denied another final appearance against United by Barcelona midfield man Andres Iniesta's decisive away goal in injury time.

Yes, Ovrebo had a shocker and proved wholly inadequate to take control of a game of this pace, passion and magnitude, but even his regular refusals of presentable penalty appeals must not excuse Drogba's disgraceful actions on the final whistle.

Drogba has to be restrained by stewards from confronting the refereeChelsea had just cause to take issue with Ovrebo's decision-making.
Guus Hiddink's team can rightly feel hard done by in a tie they had won until Iniesta, like a desperate boxer taking one last swing, lashed a 20-yard finish high past Petr Cech with 90 seconds left.

It was a puncher's chance and Chelsea took the knockout blow.

Conspiracy theorists will claim an implausible sub-plot was that Uefa did not want another all-Premier League final and Ovrebo had somehow sub-consciously pleased his bosses by denying Chelsea at every turn, thus ensuring Barcelona gave the final a Catalan presence.

The key exhibits were his decision to place a first-half foul on Florent Malouda outside the area when it plainly took place inside and his waving away of two handball claims against Gerard Pique and Samuel Eto'o after the break. Various perceived fouls inside the area were also all met with firm rejections.

All this grassy knoll-style chatter is nonsense of course and Hiddink was careful in the extreme to ensure he did not bite, contenting himself with the not inconsiderable claim that this was the worst refereeing performance he had ever seen, an observation he was perfectly within his rights to make.

Frustating yes. Sinister no.

Ovrebo was plainly ill-suited to the task but it should also be remembered he harshly sent off Barcelona's Eric Abidal and Pep Guardiola's side actually cut it rather fine by leaving it so late to cancel out Michael Essien's magnificent bludgeon of a strike after nine minutes.

And whatever Ovrebo did, it did not give Drogba the right to march on to the pitch at the final whistle, clad in his Chelsea kit and flip-flops like some enraged holidaymaker, and subject the referee to an out-of-control verbal barrage accompanied by some fairly threatening body language.

Drogba, who was splendid until he went off injured late on, was still pursuing Ovrebo in wild-eyed fashion despite receiving a yellow card, shouting expletives into a television camera for good measure.

It was a desperate display from Drogba - a revisiting of the lack of self-discipline that saw him sent off at a pivotal moment in last season's final. The word inside Stamford Bridge after the game was that he may well face hefty Uefa punishment and he deserves every last bit of it.

Human nature being what it is, a disappointment on the scale Chelsea had just suffered in both timing and impact - coupled with a burning sense of injustice - means adrenalin will inevitably be pumping and raw emotions will be on the surface.

Imagine how John Terry felt at being robbed of a shot at redemption after that penalty miss? Imagine how Frank Lampard felt at failing to get the chance to win the major honour that still eludes him?

They will have hurt just as badly as Drogba, if not worse, but they did not charge at Ovrebo, or have to be held back by anyone who happened to be in the vicinity.

But when Hiddink insisted he understood Drogba's behaviour, it is to be hoped this is simply a case of a manager defending his player rather than condoning what we saw at the final whistle.

In truth, Stamford Bridge's technical areas were poorly policed all night. Guardiola was asked to move away from Hiddink's territory - Chelsea's boss even appeared to be buffeted when Iniesta scored - while Barcelona's space occasionally resembled Piccadilly Circus in Friday's rush hour.

And the saddest aspect of the Drogba debacle is that it took all the attention away from so much that was good from Chelsea, who deserved a place in the final.

Chelsea were outstanding. They may not have matched Barcelona's passing, but they were the more potent team, creating the better chances before the Catalans kicked them in the teeth with their only shot on target all night.

Lionel Messi was kept to the margins, Eto'o was totally anonymous and Chelsea keeper Cech was kept out of harm's way by a superbly-marshalled defence, in which Terry was immense.

Barcelona may have weaved their pretty patterns, but such was the solidity of Chelsea's strategy that they did it in areas that were never going to hurt until the most savage wound of all was inflicted in the dying seconds.

Lampard was inspirational in midfield while Drogba demonstrated the other side of the great enigma with another powerful display up front that proved a constant source of nuisance to Barcelona's revamped defence.

It was display that did Chelsea huge credit and one that should have been rewarded with a place in the final.

Barcelona were unimpressive, and their victory came at a price with both Dani Alves and Abidal, the latter unluckily, suspended from the final.

On the compelling evidence of a tumultuous evening, the more effective side is out and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson may just be a little happier to be facing Barcelona than Chelsea.

Chelsea were just moments away from the outstanding result their effort and guts deserved - instead they were left with the bitter after-taste of defeat and the potential consequences of another loss of control from Drogba.


Page 1 of 10

  • Comment number 1.

    No excuses for chelsea players behaviour, but the ref was an absoloute disgrace and as ever there will be no come back for him.

  • Comment number 2.

    It was far from inexcusable.

    An inept referee has ruined his season. Drogba may never get another chance to play in a Final.
    How would you feel if someone had taken something so important away from you for nothing?. You don't understand where he's coming from. So until you get some empathy, don't be so definitive, And if you can't handle a little swearing, you need to take a look at yourself and consider if you're in the real world.

  • Comment number 3.

    As I recall, both Lampard and Terry did actually charge at Ovrebo after the final whistle, and Ballack did so before it. None of that trio deserves to be absolved of blame in the worst display of ill temper and petulance I've seen since Arsenal's assault on van Nistelrooy back in 2003.

  • Comment number 4.

    As a neutral I am glad that Barcelona went through, however I do feel a little sorry for Chelsea, and it is surely a further nail in the anti-television replay brigade's coffin.

    That said, Drogba's behaviour was inexcusable - I actually thought he was going to assault the referee. Michael Ballack wasn't much better when he got booked - he flapped around the ref like Jim Carrey pretending to be a giant bat in Ace Ventura! Shameful.

  • Comment number 5.

    Clearly Chelsea appears to have been treated very harshly. I felt for them as they should have won the game last night.

    On any given weekend in World football you would expect some off those pens to be given at any game, any level.

    However, Didier Drogra is a complete disgrace. The injustices I felt Chelsea had suffered were washed away by the disgusting way some players, but mainly Drogba, acted at the end and actually made me happy Chelsea had lost out.

    I was embarrassed and angry that a team representing English football was showing the World how classless they were. Chelsea have shown their ugliest of sides, I feel it will be a long time (or a few transfers) before many at home or abroad let them forget the fact.

  • Comment number 6.

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  • Comment number 7.

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  • Comment number 8.

    This is really 2 separate issues. One is the reaction of Chelsea players (and Drogba in particular) after the final whistle. And the other is the absolutely dreadful referreing (including the assistant referees). The Chelsea players should undoubtedly have kept their emotions in check (as some did - see Ashley Cole for instance), but you have to have some sympathy with them after being denied so many stone wall penalties. Drogba I have no sympathy for - they should throw the book at him.

    As for the refereeing team, the referee has demonstrated that he is unfit to referee CL games and he should be removed from the list immediately, and also from next year's World Cup list. Nobody has mentioned the part played by his assistants. Why did neither of them see any of the incidents in question. Their job is to assist the referee, so how come they were blind too? UEFA need to look closely at the standard of refereeing (after the poor performance by the referee in the United - Arsenal game as well) and find a solution, because it's a shame that both semi-finals have had more publicity for the referees than the games themselves.

  • Comment number 9.

    Firstly, yes, the ref got some decisions wrong - for both sides. This is part of football. However, players have a wider responsibility and there is no excuse whatsoever for Drogba's actions, or indeed those of England captain John Terry at the final whistle. What kind of example are these people setting ?
    Drogba is a fine striker but I am sure his well known record for theatrical play acting and falling over earns him little sympathy - if only he had chanelled his post match passion into effort during the game he may have had more influence on the outcome.
    I hope UEFA are strong and act firmly on Chelsea's behaviour - Ballack, Drogba and Terry should all receive hefty fines and suspensions.

  • Comment number 10.

    Firstly, I'm not a football fan, but feel compelled to express my disappointment in the decisions made in both uefa semi-finals. I understand that all players should respect their officials, however I understand how frustrated they are when it was clear in both games that the referees had made decisions that were incorrect, based on replay evidence.
    Why is it that Football doesn't us replays as part of their decision making? It's used in Rugby, so why not Football. I don't think it would spoil the game or take too long. Their have been longer disruptions from players disagreeing with the referees over what they think were bad decisions.

  • Comment number 11.

    Chelsea, like so many other teams, need to look a bit closer to home for their lack of progress. Yes, decisions in the game were wrong but that happens in nearly every game. Look at Ronaldo's blatant dive that won the free kick he scored from in the other semi . The sending off in that game and the Barcelona sending off.
    It's not conspiracy. It's football.

  • Comment number 12.

    Drogba's fury was due to the fact he missed 2 sitters at crucial times in the 2 legs and his failure to convert his chances is the main reason why Chelsea are out.

    Refereeing decisions aside, there is a way to conduct yourself as a professional and that is not the way to do it. Drogba behaviour was disgraceful and he should be reprimanded heavily both by the club and UEFA.

    On a positive note for Abramovich. He wont have to supply everyone with a flag to take to the final or the embarrasement of fans sending their allocatin of tickets back.

  • Comment number 13.

    I seem to remember Sami Hyypia being denied a blatent penalty in last year's semi. So Chelsea have benefitted from luck too Phil. Having said that, the ref did have a very poor game, however, that match was not a good advert for English football. Drogba is a disgrace to the game as is Terry and Ballack. If Drogba hadn't gone down like a ballet dancer, he would have got his penalty but he had to make it that little bit more theatrical didn't h?. For a 90Kg man he goes down like he's been shot that's his downfall.

    Chelsea gambled on and played a defensive game, they lost. The conspiracy theory is laughable, and it's a disgrace to somehow say Norwegian refs are not up to big games. I suppose it comes down to the 'Engerlish' do it best do they? It's an insult, plenty of refs from all over the world have bad games. I seem to remember Everton being denied a champs league group place by the 'top' Italian ref.

  • Comment number 14.

    Time to introduce video evidence. It would take fourth official 30-40 seconds to make decision.2 calls per team per game and none of this would have happened.

  • Comment number 15.

    True the refereeing was horrible, true Chelsea deserved the penalties (at least 2 of them),and also deserved the place in the final, but everybody is missing probably the most critical point here.

    Chelsea never looked like scoring at Camp Nou, not because they couldn't but is seemed they didn't want to(an away goal last night would have been worth its weight in whatever is the most valuable thing in the world!)

    When you're on top, you need to deliver the KO blow, not take a swing and then stay back, hoping the opponent doesn't have enough to rise again.

    No denying that the ref denied Chelsea the victory, but anybody who relies on a ref's decisions rather than their capabilities to win, gets shafted at some point.

    About Drogba, he needs to be in control. The emotion is understandable, the outpouring isn't.

  • Comment number 16.

    The Wednesday: 'You don't understand where hes coming from.'

    This is true because none of us have ever played in a champions league final, but believe it or not there are people outside of football who care about things just as much as he cares about getting to the final of the champions league, and they fail too, but its a little something called professionalism. It doesn't matter how much of a superstar he is, he is still an exhorbitantly payed PROFESSIONAL, and to be quite honest with you hes just embarrassed himself. You don't see a lawyer verbally abusing and intimidating a judge if a verdict goes against him.

    And as for your swearing comment, its called having a bit of class.

  • Comment number 17.

    I understand the frustration of going out but going down in the penalty area is not a penalty unless you are fouled.Chelsea played totally negative football over the two legs.Yes I agree one of the handballs was a pen but if Drogba would have used his strength to power on he could have scored.Also John Terry was the first player at the end of the game to tackle the ref-once again showing his wonderful leadership.
    Anyway maybe its better going out now rather than losing another final to United.

  • Comment number 18.

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  • Comment number 19.

    I hope that Chelsea manage to find the snipers who were active at the game last night. Drogba went down as if he had been shot everytime he got anywhere near the Barcelona penalty area.

  • Comment number 20.

    Shameful player display by Chelsea at the end.

    Conspiracy theory when ref sends a Barcelona play off the pitch? Explain.

    Awful anti-Barcelona commentary by Green and Lawrenson too!

    Upshot is justice is served! Come on Barca!

  • Comment number 21.

    2. At 07:22am on 07 May 2009, The Wednesday wrote:
    It was far from inexcusable.

    An inept referee has ruined his season. Drogba may never get another chance to play in a Final.
    How would you feel if someone had taken something so important away from you for nothing?. You don't understand where he's coming from. So until you get some empathy, don't be so definitive, And if you can't handle a little swearing, you need to take a look at yourself and consider if you're in the real world.


    Sorry to go off point. Why don't you ask Darren Fletcher how he felt on Tuesday night...

    Even though he had been robbed. There was no harrassing of the referee. No swearing into a camera. Drogba summed himself up when he was fairly tackled in the first half. Didn't get the penalty and immediately flung himself back to the floor like a spoilt child. Instead of hauling his 6 foot frame off the ground and actually trying to win back a ball the HE had lost!

    THERE IS NO EXCUSE for Drogba's and Ballack's behaviour towards the referee. No matter how poor his decisions were. How much does Drogba earn? He was 6 yards out with the keeper to beat. If he wants to blame anyone for not going to Rome, he should have a look in the mirror.

  • Comment number 22.

    Sorry Phil, I thought Chelsea played a spoiling game and ruined the match as spectacle. Then again, they did what they had to do in the circumstances. They were efficient, clinical and stopped Barcelona playing but it wasn't pretty. The ref was a disgrace and some of the Chelsea players should be punished but Barca had a player sent off when he never even touched Anelka and also had a good appeal for a free kick just outside the area denied in the 2nd half.

    For a neutral the result set up the final WE wanted to see. Now let's see some football!

  • Comment number 23.

    Bad calls are part of football and all teams get them.
    Worst reaction of the match was Ballock's flip-out at the end.
    His assault on the ref was worse than Drogba's and the call he was screaming about was absolutely spot on.
    The German should be disciplined and fined for his outrageously intimidating behavior.
    Chelsea should be embarrassed. Ref aside, another goal would have taken Chelsea through. Boo hoo.

  • Comment number 24.

    your right there are no excuses when it comes down to discipline!! it's hard to keep your cool when you think sumone is trying thier hardest to stop you progressing!

    Although Drogba should take a look at his on flaws before attcking the ref he shouldnt need to rely on the ref to give a penalty to score when he had 2 clear cut chances and fluffed them, it's not the refs fault he couldnt finish his dinner!

    but i hope uefa dont throw the book at him because he was distraught and i believe he should apologise to the referee.

  • Comment number 25.

    There is no point complaining, whinging or moaning, about what happened last night, we are out and there is nothing that can be done about it.

    But I will make a pre-emptive strike against those people who claimed last week that Chelsea are anti-football, and because they can't help themselves, will today be queuing up to condemn Chelsea on this blog, and with no sense of irony, claim that football is the winner.

    These so called purists have never played football, or indeed any competitive contact sport at any sort of decent amateur/professional level, and therefore have such ridiculous misconceptions about the game and sport in general. They somehow think that possession and pretty passing, without chance creation, is a utopian form of football. That defending with skill, tactics, guts, bravery and determination have no place in football. Even if in the end it leads to more chance creation.

    Well if nothing else was achieved last night, at least Chelsea blew this purist theoretical nonsense out of the window, by making the so called Barcelona 'dream team' look very ordinary.

    How Man U must now be licking their lips at the prospect of another CL title after what they saw last night.

    There is no excuse for Drogba's behaviour, there can be no debate, and UEFA are in their rights to see fit to punish.

    But there will be the same usual ignorant posts on here today who will also condemn Ballack, Terry and Lampard et al at Chelsea. They will condemn them because of their anti Chelsea bias, they will condemn them because they have no understanding of how a cocktail mixture of perceived sporting/professional injustice, raw emotion, passion and adrenalin, will inevitably lead to an outbusrt of anger and dismay.

    And ultimatley they will condemn them because these same people know absolutely nothing about sport.

  • Comment number 26.

    Proffesional footballers these days are a disgrace. If you or i were to do what drogba did with someon in the street what do you think would happen? If there was a policeman around do you think he'd let you continue or do you think he'd arrest you? so why should he be able to be so aggresive on Tv? These footballers see themselves above anyone else.

    The likes of manchester Utd and Chelsea get alot of facourable decisions week in week out in the Premiership because of who they are. Next to a team like Barcelona, really there not that big! They should now start to give interviews to any player wanting to join the premiership, with the last and most important question being: When things are going you way will you act like a spoilt 5 year old and storm around throwing your arms about to get attention?

  • Comment number 27.

    As a Manchester United fan, I watched hoping for a clash in Italy with Barcelona. However I have to say that the final result was a complete farce. Whilst I agree that Eric Abidal should not have been sent off, Chelsea deserved at least 2 penalties. Ovrebo looked like a fish out of water at times, in a game with more passion and play than the Danish league could ever offer, in clashes such as these surely we need big league referees?? As for Drogba, once again he has shown himself to be completely lacking in self control, and I hope that he is duly punished for his behavior, though I think that Ballack ought to look over his shoulder too incase UEFA take him to task over his attempted 'piggyback!' in the last few minutes...

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm pretty sure there will be a number of people coming on to this blog to make excuses for Drogba, Ballack etc, saying that 'it was in the heat of the moment' or talking about how it was an understandable reaction to such a poor refereeing performance (and boy, was it poor). The fact of the matter though, is that these players are paid ridiculous amounts of money to do their job, and their job does not stop just at playing football. It is also about good conduct and representing the club - whatever the provocation.

    I do feel sorry for those Chelsea players (and their fans) who managed to maintain their dignity at such an intense time, but have to say that I'm glad that we won't be seeing Drogba or Ballack in the final. Also surprised at Hiddincks response - always had him down as having more class than that.

    Since the end of the 1st leg, right up to injury time last night, it had been Barca who were embarrasing themselves with their conduct. especially their accusations towards Chelsea following the 1st leg. Drogba handed a little of the moral high ground back with his 1st half display and then ensured after the final whistle that the unlikely winners of the tie have emerged with virtually all the credit.

    Just to say it again though: desperately sorry for all the Chelsea fans. Progress to the final would not have been undeserved and realise that there will be alot of gutted Londoners this morning.

    If its any consolation at all (probably not), I don't think we'll be seeing the Norwegian ref a high profile match again.

  • Comment number 29.

    I know this is going to make a lot of Chelsea supporters angry, but I just want to point out that it all evens out in the course of a year. I didn't hear them complaining when Liverpool were accused of 29 fouls in the second leg of the last round. I never hear them complain when Drogba and Anelka (who seem to spend more time playing the refs than the ball) constantly dive when someone breaths on them and yet they still get awarded a pen. If you want to be angry, be angry that you had a man advantage for 25 minutes and couldn't capitalize on your lead. At the end of the day, that's all anyone will remember.

  • Comment number 30.

    If Drogba didnt roll around on the floor so much after been tapped ever so slightly there would not of been so much injury time for Barcelona to score.

  • Comment number 31.

    Dider Drogba and John Terry need to look at their own conduct on the field and their own attitudes towards their fellow pros and referees before they get on their soap box and preech about anyone else in the game.

  • Comment number 32.

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  • Comment number 33.

    My enduring memory of Chelses this season is of their players being huddled around a referee, match after match after match. Thats a shame, because they can play great football. If only they would let their football do the talking.

    Drogbas dives were quite frankly, ridiculoius and not even good acting!

    The day their manager tells them to play football instead of playing the referee will be the day Chelsea become great again

  • Comment number 34.

    Football will always be a farce with this refereeing system. Pity.

  • Comment number 35.

    The referee should not be allowed near a CL match for some time now. Chelsea had 2 clear penalties, and one potential penalty, the Abidal dismissal was a joke, and the decision to not book Iniesta for removing his shirt only insignificant due to Iniesta's discipline earlier in the competition.

    Whilst I'm happy we're playing Barca, I feel sorry for Chelsea who did enough to merit a place.

    Oh, and Drogba to miss most of next seasons tournament I'd wager

  • Comment number 36.

    "The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame."

    Only one week ago, Barcelona were being criticised for their moaning about Chelsea's physical approach and defensive tactics. The boot is now on the other foot, so what happens? We moan about poor refereeing decisions and the like.

    It would be interesting to see how critical we would have been about the referee if Chelsea were the team that had scored the last minute goal to progress to the final. The headlines would be all about what a sensational goal it was, not a poor referee.

    OK, I feel for Chelsea. Some bad decisions, that, if gone the other way could have sealed their place in the final. But, there are other factors besides moaning and whinging about a referee. What did cost them is a failure to convert any of the many chances they had (especially Drogba's second-half miss), and poor defending at the end.

  • Comment number 37.

    For what it's worth, here is my opinion.

    The referee was as good (and as bad) for both teams. Should Abidal have been sent off, NO? Should Chelsea have had a penalty......probably however whereas the foul on Malouda could be argued to be in the area but also started outside the area, Mr Drogba has only himself to blame. the boy who cried wolf springs to mind! If he didnt THROW himself to the ground so often and so blatently, I think Chelsea might have got one of those decisions. He cheats too often and I am afraid to say that it has finally caught up with him so there is no sympathy here for that particular individual, however saying that, Chelsea did deserve the victory but as we all know, the best team does not always win so let's stop the moaning about who deserves what.

    Now to the players conduct. I seriously hope that all of the players who either verbally attacked the referee, made him take a step backwards or put their hands on him are banned for a series of games. It was shocking and as an Englishman, I was ashamed to see it happening. The obvious culprits were Ballack and Drogba. How Ballack was not sent off for the way he acted and chased the referee is unbelievable. The English FA imposed a "respect" campaign in regards to the referees but I guess the players forgot that last night. As for Drogba, I would be embarrassed if he played for my team. He deserves a huge ban for several things such as coming back on the pitch to give the ref hell, the constant whinging and then the antics to the tv camera. I hope that all fans across the country boo him (including Chelsea fans) until he leaves the premiership. English football does not need someone like that who drags football down. He is a disgrace and Chelsea should cash in now but also make him make a public apology.

  • Comment number 38.

    Phil interesting blog.

    For a minute I thought you where going to be biast!

    You correctly acknowledged the decisions that affected "both teams".

    I would like to point out to the fans, you where so confident that this was going to be a all English final, well there you have it...Man. U vs Barcelona.

    Gentleman never forget that the wonderfull game of football is round, it can go either way and never over, until the final whistle.

    Well done to Barcelona, 1 man down, 1 goal down and playing until the final whistle.....

  • Comment number 39.

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  • Comment number 40.

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  • Comment number 41.

    For me, that game had everything. It lived up to expectation in every way, including the controversy which we all knew would inevitably surround it.
    I don't think people should get too carried away with Drogba's reaction at the final whistle. That was raw emotion pouring out of him and although not being a great advert for the game, it certainly highlights the passion and I found it pretty entertaining.
    If the ref was a horse they'd have probably put him down by now. I'm not sure I remmeber seeing another game where the ref seemed to get every major decision wrong.
    Man Utd will already know how to beat Barca and it'll be comforting for them to know that Barca really do have no plan B.

  • Comment number 42.

    UEFA need to stop using refs from bush leagues. The ref should have been from Italy, Germany, Holland, France or Portugal. They would have far more experience dealing with the environment of a CL semi-final and the kind of players involved. A ref from Norway just isn't going to be good enough.

  • Comment number 43.

    What was it Hiddink said during the week? Something like, "You won't see my team cry.....". Well, I'mm sorry Mr Hiddink but I think I just did. I also think the Chelsea players only have themselves to blame. They fall over when an opposition player as much as breathes on them so it's only natural that a referee will view penalty appeals with suspicion and probably err on the side of the opposition. At least we can now look forward to an entertaining final.

  • Comment number 44.

    How would Drogba feel if the Chelsea fans surrounded and abused him? After all, it is essentially Drogba who cost Chelsea a place in Rome by missing two absolute sitters, one at the Nou Camp and the other at the Bridge. I cannot defend the referee's performance but it should never have got to the position where Barca had a chance to equalise. Goals win matches, not referees.

  • Comment number 45.

    Firstly what i have to say is that the best 'footballing' side have gone though to the final after last nites match. Secondly, yes Chelsea were unlucky not to go through.

    In response to saying that Terry and Lampard did not confront the referee or chase after him is wrong Phil. I think that is a bit of a pro-english players view on your part. John Terry was the first person in the referees face after the final whistle if i recall correctly and Frank Lampard was not far behind him. Or maybe i was the only person that seen that?

    Drogba was a disgrace last nite after the final whistle and for someone who was supposedly 'injured' going off was very quick footed to march onto the pitch and chase after and confront the referee shouting obscenities. He should get a hefty ban for that it was disgraceful. One more thing Phil apart from Drogbas strength in beating Pique and Toure (who isnt even a defender) in the air for a few flick ons i seen not much else impressive from the Ivory Coast man. He had one good chance which he fluffed by hitting it straight at Valdes and Drogba certainly was back to his diving best and his forte for feigning injury. For someone who has not much else but his strength and some pace (not a lot tbh) he is very over rated atm in my opinion.

    Shocking decisions? Okay there wer a few. Only TWO major ones in my opinion. Abidal's sending off was shocking as everyone can clearly see he hasn't even touched Anelka. The second being the handball by Pique. Yes that should have been a penalty in my view but the others that Chelsea fans are complaining about for me were just not penalties. In the first half the supposed 'foul' on Malouda in the box was yes in the box and a free kick was given instead but it WASN'T even a foul! Malouda dived and Drogba in the second half simply fell over when he saw the ball was about to run through to Valdes. The final 'penalty' shout was also not a penalty Eto'o did not hand the ball when Ballacks shot struck him and if it had been given it would've been harsh on Barca.

    I would've hated to see another Chelsea - United final as i think it would've been rather tedious and dull as in the final last year and the FA Cup final previous they were not great games except if you ask United or Chelsea fans then they were probaly Classic encounters. This year I feel i will enjoy watching an attacking Barca team against an attacking United team. Looking forward to it!

    p.s. Rafa pleeeeeeeeeease buy Andres Iniesta!!! LOL


  • Comment number 46.

    Didier Drogba earns £115,000 a week - more than I will ever see in a year. He'll get over his disappointment.

  • Comment number 47.

    TheWednesday: "And if you can't handle a little swearing, you need to take a look at yourself and consider if you're in the real world."

    This is probably one of the most ridiculous things I have read. Drogba was on international television, swearing straight at a camera. Really, if you think that it is inexcusable for this type of behaviour in front of children watching throughout the world, you are no better than the idiots who disgracefully abused Sol Campbell.

  • Comment number 48.

    Where do I start, lets look at the penalties 4 possibilities, for me the only one that looked solid was the foul on Drogba in the first half, the 2 handballs were not intentional and therfore by the letter of the law were correctly not given. The Alves fould was dubious although the initial foul was outside the box....... which brings me to my next point.

    How can Drogba expect to recieve any kind of decision with the weekly play acting we get from this man! The slightest touch and he rolls around the ground like an over paid extra in a world war 2 film.

    Didier Drogba has been cheating and conning refs for years now and now finally it has come to bite him and his team on the backside. His behaviour after the game was childish and alot of teams up and down the country will be smiling today thinking "how does it feel to be cheated Didier???"

    Which moves me on to Ballack...... if you watch the Abidal sending off, there seems to be some unsporting gestures towards the referee to help make his mind up. Looking at the replays Anelka tripped over his own leg and Abidal will now miss the final. With all the talk of Fletchers harsh red on tuesday night this is a similar injustice with the situation not helped by an overpaid whining German. His behaviour after the last penalty was disgracful and UEFA im sure will be punishing him and his play acting team mate.

    To me Chelsea as a club have no dignity, even Guss Hidink who refused to critisise his own players on the behaviour has gone down in my estimation. Money can buy you many things but by the looks of things down at the bridge, it cant buy DIGNITY or RESPECT.


  • Comment number 49.

    Chelsea fan.

    I knew it was a bad omen when the Malouda penalty (let's call the incident by its correct name here) was given as being OUTSIDE the area. All throughout the rest of the match as the penalty appeals were waved away, i knew we would not be making it to the final and would end up moaning about the ref.

    It was a joke, let's not hide from the fact that the referee had an absolute STINKER, no, worse than that, I would go so far as to say i have NEVER seen such bad refereeing - and this coming in Europe's 2nd largest showpiece match.

    5 penalty shouts - of which AT LEAST 3 were good. Nothing given. The Abidal Red was a joke, among many, many other poor - no TERRIBLE decisions. People saying that on balance the ref was unbiased and did Chelsea a favour by wrongly sending off Abidal, DO ME A FAVOUR! What would you rather have if that was your team? 11 men on the opposition or just ONE of the penalties given where it was required to be.

    I didn't actually see Drogba's behaviour after the whistle because the TV was off by that point. Ballack was a bit too emotional chasing the ref after the final [least plausible] shout was turned down (it's his last shout at making a UCL Final so i can understand that to a point, he wasn't physical, but emotional - fine him, ban him from next year's CL - I doubt he cares because he won't be there anyway). But Terry wasn't as bad as people are making out, and captains are the one player that are supposed to be allowed a word with the ref...

    it sounds like the Drogba incident was quite funny in all fariness. Let's be honest we all know Drogba is a bit of a plonker and a liability when he gets worked up, and he can't be defended for that. But no doubt there will be some kind of discipline to follow. In fact I'm sure if that was your team that got robbed, Drogba was probably doing to the ref what you would have wanted to!

    Anyway, all that huff and puff - blood, sweat and tears to get there, 90 minutes of refereeing comedy capers to wipe it all away.

    See you next year, but please get some decent refs in this time!

  • Comment number 50.

    I do not like Chelsea one bit, but I have to say they did have a few penalty claims, but the way the players spoke to the ref after the match is not acceptable, it brings shame on british football and especially Chelsea.

    Well I look forward to watching Barcelona & Man utd in the final..

  • Comment number 51.

    No sympathy for Chelsea. No doubt their fans will forever blame a conspiracy theory, but I didn't see the referee disallow any Chelsea goals scored from open play. He had nothing to do with them conceding a goal in the 93rd minute and ultimately it was their style of play that cost them. Nobody will miss their appaling attitude in the final. When Anelka tripped over his own feet, Ballack ran to the referee waving his hand in the usual, for him, gesture of 'send him off ref', not caring that a fellow professional would miss the final. Well now it is him that won't be there. Never mind a UEFA conspiracy, all neturals will be glad to see two teams who actually want to play football and score goals in the final.

  • Comment number 52.

    Great determination to win from Chelsea . We must not forget that this is just a game, though the referee did what ever he did he is human so also Drogba.Painful as it might be Drogba SHOULD be able to control his temper.

  • Comment number 53.

    More penalties...MORE PENALIES...not less...if any event had happened in middle they would have automatic free kicks.....the referee lacked guts

  • Comment number 54.

    To be honest, something is bothering me of late. There are plenty of complaints about referees, and some comments about referees being the almighty on the pitch but it shouldn't be that way. Referees are human, i.e. can have their own motives. All it takes is for a foreign referee to not like English teams, and that's it, Chelsea, Man U, etc's night over. It's not right.

    I'm a Brit living in the Czech Republic, and to be honest, the British are not liked by a lot of nations, for no good reason other than, "you side with the Americans" or "you are too rich and powerful" etc. Transfer that person into a referee and you have a prejudiced official.

    The next thing is corruption. Czech police are easily bribed, not that I would do it, but it's normal here for the police to take a bribe. It's the same in a lot of European countries. If a policeman (an official) can be corrupted, why can't a referee?

    I hate to say it, but we've reached a point where the referees are taking liberties. Tuesday's sending off of Fletcher, and Wednesday's mess. And dare I mention Maradona? It's time to introduce cameras. You can argue that cameras have no place in football, but I think if the technology was around when the game was invented, it would've been used and the game would've adapted to it. We need cameras...

    Just think how many world cups England would've won with cameras in place!!

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    'Frustating yes. Sinister yes', say what you like Mr bbc but I at least consider it naive in the extreme for you to duck the issue so quickly, why don't you have the nads to say it as you really see it. Given recent and distant history we in England know only too well the sentiments of our 'euro cousins'. This was a stitch up, and that is as nailed on as at least 2 of the penalty decisions this incompetent puppet saw fit to wave away. Don't get wrong I don't give a monkey's about chelsea, man u, the gooners, liverpool or any of that bunch. I feel they get what they deserve, God knows they get every other decision they need domestically but it shows clearly to those prepared to look and speak without fear of the sack that football is morally bancrupt. Too much money made by the few for the few and no chance for the rest of us. There, print that :) Up the Villa

  • Comment number 57.

    Alan Green is the worst commentator around, he should be pensioned off asap. I find 5Live hard to listen to when he is giving his 'opinion'.

    Barca deserved the game over two legs, they played football.

    How much has Roman spent to see histeam play not to get beat.

    Strongest league in the world but no way ear the best footbaling one.

    I just pray Man Utd have a go, we might see some proper football, however we all know they will flood the midfield & try to nick it as well.

    A victory for football

  • Comment number 58.

    Being a West Ham supporter it's very upsetting to see Lampard & Terry not qualifying for the Champions League Final as it would have meant alot to our Tony Carr at West Ham United FC.

    It was a very cruel/upsetting way to lose the semi-final, if only Chelsea could have done better at the NOU CAMP, instead of going for the 0-0 draw which was their own undoing in hind-sight.

  • Comment number 59.

    Stop Drobga & Malouda diving and you may get a few more decisions.
    The only penalty was Piquet.
    Lampard outstanding? - didn't even know he was playing!!!

  • Comment number 60.

    Number 25.

    I can assure you that just because a poster is rightly condeming Drogba, Ballack, and Terry for their conduct at the end of the match last night does not mean they know nothing about football or sport or have never played it.

    I can only assume you are a Chelsea fan wanting to "justify" their disgraceful behaviour. Drogba needs to seriously look at his own conduct. His constant diving, play acting and petualnt aggression towards officals leaves him open to criticism. Those in glass houses and all that. Drogba lives in a £3million glass mansion and the only thing his outburst will do is open up all the flaws in his own conduct for criticism.

    On a side note. Chelsea were the victims of poor decisions last night, but all teams have been on that side. I can remember Chelsea having a number of fortunate decisions against Liverpool in recent years. The handball at Anfield at 0-0, the Maluda penalty last season. Man Utd v Spurs the other week, Arsenal vs Liverpool in the CL last season. But you didnt see the players from those sides screaming in the referees face after the game. These players think they are above the law and being "emoitional" is no excuse for that behavior whoever you play for.

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    Ridiculous to suggest partiality. The referee also red carded a Barcelona player wrongly. The match, the teams and stakes involved and the atmosphere were obviously too much for the referee.

    Definitely one of the penalty claims if accepted by the referee could have won the game for Chelsea but the harsh facts are: 1. Chelsea simply defended all the time and as Gullit and others pointed out, you find it difficult to do every minute for 90 minutes. It is the reason that all top teams score in the last few minutes against lesser teams. 2. Barcelona were down to 10 men. Celsea could not capitalise 3. Drogba himself had a marvellous opportunity, which he wasted. Had he taken it, nothing that the referee did would have mattered. Chelsea played a dangerous game, almost succeeded but alas did not.

    The away goal rule is a democles sword. ManU went out a few years back under similar circumstances against Porto. The only way you beat it is either you score an away goal yourself or score more than one in home game. Chelsea did neither.

    There is no justification for the behavious of Ballack and Drogba. They should be banned not for a few early round European matches but for a few matches at the later stages so that the punishment carries weight. Chelsea are turning out to be poor losers and referees are simply being hounded by them when do not win. This is simply unacceptable.

  • Comment number 63.

    Yes the referee was very poor last night - but is that anything new in football? And remember he was poor for both teams - Abidal was sent off for nothing. Or does having an extra man for half an hour count for nothing?

    Chelsea embarrassed themselves and should rightly be hammered by UEFA once the dust settles. Drogba and Ballack were a disgrace and should have a good look at themselves. Grown men? Spoilt brats more like. Utterly pathetic and completely without class. They got what they deserved.

  • Comment number 64.

    Tom Henning Øvrebø is from Oslo. Where did Platini spend 2 days last week?

  • Comment number 65.

    Eto'o handball was a nothing and in the case of the Alves foul the referee may have allowed play to continue after the first foul and then brought it back when Chelsea gained no advantage. The other two penalty claims were cast iron - as were the golden opportunities of scoring twice missed by Chelsea. Barca were the more accomplished team on the night.

  • Comment number 66.

    Chelsea, over the course of the two legs, did deserve to go through. Most notably in the Stamford Bridge tie, where an aggregation of strange decisions counted more than they usually would. A stifling, restrictive away leg became a grand opportunity for Chelsea at the Bridge.
    Funnily enough, this is part of football. Pele's Beautiful Game is downright ugly to watch at times and Chelsea, for all the talent and resources disposed to them, are often the worst offenders. What they DO succeed at, is constantly showing that the highest paid team sportsmen in history, are collectively some of the worst 'sports' when it comes to behaviour. Terry is still England captain (somehow)- his comments on 'give and take' are not what kids should be learning. Drogba Ballack and Lampard are all potent and inspirational players- but the way they behave, not just tonight but seemingly every time things go against them, is disgraceful and they ought to be rightly punished.
    Does anyone else recall the wonderful Chelsea-Barca tie of 2000? Perhaps some of this adventure and spirit is lacking 9 years on...

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    as a man utd supporter i probably preferred Barca in the final before this match, but watching the match Chelsea played very well and deserved thier place, however the ill-discipline of Ballack when he was booked, Drogba at the end, and don't forget Terry and a few other chelsea players were storming the referee, none of which were called for even if the referee did have probably the worse ever refereeing performance that i can actively recall.

    That does not excuse chelsea however and whilst we all know they were/are disappointed any resulting punishments that come their way will be throughly deserved.

  • Comment number 69.

    FatClyde - No 11. > hope you were watching the same semi on Tuesday night!!!
    Van Persie clearly impeded Ronaldo - hence the free kick...

    Drogba is a sore loser...he was more responsible than most for Chelsea's loss cos he missed a SITTER which he kicked tamely at Valdes' legs..

    Sad that on most European nights his Arguing is better than his finishing.

  • Comment number 70.

    No arguement, Chelsea deserved at least one, if not more, penalty decisions. But ultimately they had chances to kill off the game from open play during the match and simply didn't take them. Thought they were the better team on the night, but that's football.

    Also no arguement, UEFA should review both Ballack and Drogba's behaviour and censure accordingly. No doubt this will happen.

    But if UEFA are able to review these incidents and act retrospectively, why can't they review Fletcher's sending off from the evening before? Have any of the suits at UEFA given ANY indication as to why there is no appeal process for straight red cards in the semi finals of what is their biggest club competition? There is 3 weeks to go until the final - ample time to review, speak to the referee and adjudicate.

    Every football association in Europe has an appeals process, and yet Europe's governing body doesn't? It is inconsistencies such as this which at very least provide fuel for the conspiracy theorists.

  • Comment number 71.

    The referees in both semi finals will not enjoy watching the replays of their games. In the Manchester v Asenal game it did not affect the game, but in the Chelsea v Barcelona game, I believe that he did affect the final outcome. If these two are supposed to be EUFA's in the top three, then I think that EUFA need to reconsider how they train referees. Was he scared, no I don't think so. I also feel that the sending off of the Barcelona player was harsh, and he will miss the final.
    THe reaction of the players towards the referee on completion of the game were fully justified, both Lampard and Terry talking to him, then walking away, realising trhough the disappointment that it was not going to change the result. For Drogba to come on to a pitch, and act in that manner is not forgiveable, his participation had finished when he was replaced.
    Having said that, I hope that Manchester stuff Barcelona, not because I am a Man U fan, but to show that the Premier league is still the best in Europe, probably to the detriment of the National team.

  • Comment number 72.

    Terry should not be the England captain and never should have been.
    Barca must be pretty embarrassed at getting through in these circumstances.

  • Comment number 73.

    Conspiracy theorists may say that the referee was influenced to ensure we don't get an all English final, that using a ref from a smaller nation would give him an excuse for his 'mistakes' and that the sending off was done to make this less obvious.

    But the fact is Chelsea didn't take easy chances to score a second, and if you don't take your chances you can't complain too much. If they had done, there wouldn't be anywhere near the controversy we've had about the referee's decisions.

    Drogba said it was a disgrace, no more of a disgrace than his diving, rolling around and attitude.

    Chelsea should be looking more at the footballing issues than the political ones for the reason they were knocked out.

    The good thing from all this is that we're getting a European final as it should be - between the best teams from each of the two best leagues in Europe.

  • Comment number 74.

    JT (england capt) was first at the ref on the final whistle, Lamps also had a go at him, same for Ballack & Cech. How come Drog is being singled out here?? Yeah, we know he went too far, but the whole teamm should be criticised.

    The match was too tough and the reef made up is mind not to give any pens, cfc should have finished the game off in open play and not rely on the ref awarding a pen.

    And again, they all shoulld be blamed and not just Drogba. Belleti,Anelka (should have been subbed), Lamps, Essien,Terry all had goal scoring chances and should have made the game safe.

  • Comment number 75.

    Chelsea's one goal was never going to be enough, barcelona still only needed one goal. Yes they defended well but they as the commentator said, they will chase the ball the whole game, be tired at the end, make one mistake and barcelona will take it. Chelsea had the ability to meet Barcelona head on and go out and beat them, instead they tried to hold on to what was always a flimsy lead against one of the competitions top scoring sides. Im sorry but its one thing to do that at the camp nou, but on home soil it would have been nice to see a proper Chelsea performance.

    Penalties and what if's dont win games and if memory serves it was the ex Chelsea man himself Jose Mourinho who said - in football the team that wins always deserves to.

  • Comment number 76.

    Well, a well written text about how Chelsea lost their place in the CL-final. However I don't agree with the autor at all. Im neither a Chelsea or Barcelona fan and I did not really care who would face M.U but the context of this text is just to much Blue. Barca performed well and managed to score the vital goal with just 10 men on the pitch. Considering the penalty claims I have seen many many more "clear penalties" being waved on during this PL season. Sure Chelsea could have "won" one penalty but that would almost have been equaly harsh.

  • Comment number 77.

    "Imagine how John Terry felt at being robbed of a shot at redemption after that penalty miss? Imagine how Frank Lampard felt at failing to get the chance to win the major honour that still eludes him?

    They will have hurt just as badly as Drogba, if not worse, but they did not charge at Ovrebo, or have to be held back by anyone who happened to be in the vicinity."

    Terry was the first one to charge over to the ref at the final whistle, what are you on about?

    The chelsea conspiracy theory that UEFA didn't want an all English final : )

    'Send off a Barca defender unjustly while chelsea are winning 1-0. I think it has legs.

  • Comment number 78.

    Let us gets a bit of perspective

    The ref had a really poor game and there were some good shouts for a couple of penalties, but let us not forget that under pressure Chelsea missed crucial penalties last year in the final. Everyone assumes they would have scored these 'penalties'

    Chelsea played to their strengths superbly but still didnt manage to score a second goal in open play against 10 men, including a centre back partnership that had never played before and had a midfielder alongside Pique

    It is the Champions LEAGUE. So Chelsea may have played better than Barcelona last night, but if you look at the entire tournament Barcelona have been consistently better than Chelsea.

    You can argue that the actions of Drogba and Co were due to the heat of the moment and I doubt they react like that when shopping at Tesco! But it is still totally unacceptable behaviour and should be punished. Disappointment and frustration are all part of sport (and life) and professionals need to set an example, not react like children.

  • Comment number 79.

    Drogba either swears to referees that he has been fouled or swears at them. I agree with an earlier post that he had the opportunity to clinch the tie but failed miserably. In the frustration-aggression hypothesis forwarded by many leading psychologists - maybe even shared by the Norweigen ref who is one! - humans displace and misplace their aggression. Drogba is angry with himself and his world and so decided to take it out on a scapegoat. What a coward. He limped off the pitch while sporting an expression that suggested he was in severe agony. Remarkable how he then had the energy to abuse a referee. Pity for Chelsea fans he cannot channel this energy on the pitch and be a better player.

  • Comment number 80.

    I am Sunderland support and I would give anything for our players to show a fraction of Drogba's passion. Had it been Sunderland in a Champions League semi (and yes I know!!!) our players would have just shrugged and given a non-committal shrug. I was also impressed with Didier's grasp of everyday English language, I'm sure all the outraged viewers, etc, have never heard never mind uttered such a word!

  • Comment number 81.

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  • Comment number 82.

    Even the most ardent Chelsea fan can't deny sitting on a one goal lead was ever safe - even against 10 man Barcelona. That said, the penalty shouts were valid on two occassions at least. The red card was rediculous for Abidal.

    Iniesta was the best player on the pitch by a country mile, though Chelsea defence deserve a lot of credit. And lets not forget Essien's wonderful goal that any player in the world would be proud of. One hopes he is fit for the whole of next season.

    As for Drogba, I agree that a combination of two excellent chances over both legs probably came back to haunt him mentaly. And with all the penalty shouts being dismissed, it is easy to see why he lost his rag. This may well explain his actions but certainly doesn't excuse it.

  • Comment number 83.

    Drogba wasnt alone, John Terry sprinted towards the ref at the final whistle and Michael Ballack did also. Regardless of who is in charge they seem to have this indiscipline. When I was watching I didnt see one Chelsea official or management staff try and stop their players getting to the ref, somebody should have got a grip of them or at least tried

  • Comment number 84.

    Only a man down for 10 minutes?

    Should've been 60.

    I don't know where this guy learned to ref, since Norway isn't even professional.

  • Comment number 85.

    I'm extremely angry at the officiating level of Chelsea/Barcelona game, it was awful and appalling. If the Norwegian was the best Europe could offer on such a big game, UEFA surely does not know its job.

    I'm not a Chelsea fan, but as a lover of the beautiful game of football, what happened was an eye sore. Questionable calls and dodgy decisions both on Tuesday and Wednesday ruined the two games.

    By the way, Drogba should be sanctioned further, his action was inexcusable, you don't condone such indiscipline, the referees' ineptitude left enough bile in the mouth. He should know better.

  • Comment number 86.

    As Celtic Supporter, I have sen this standard of refereeing for the last 40 years. Come to Scotland and you will be amazed at the bias towards Rangers.

  • Comment number 87.

    Drogba's behaviour was unacceptable. As a parent watching the game with my kids in North America, or indeed over breakfast down under I would have been sickened by the foul mouthed behaviour of players who know that they are role models around the world. Thankfully, mine were safely tucked up in bed.

    Chelsea were unlucky and the referee had a terrible game. (Like some others I think Drogba's previous counted against him - that is human nature on the part of the ref and not crooked as some of the more inane comments above suggest.) At the end of the day though as a neutral I will look forward to watching Barca-Manchester United.

    PS Compare and contrast Drogba and Fletcher. Surely the United player would have been entitled to go off on one a la Didier? Instead he took the decision calmly even though it was a wrong one.

  • Comment number 88.

    This referee isnt fit to run the line on Hackney Marshes!
    Last night was the worst display of a referee ever. He bottled EVERY major decision & managed to send off a player without just cause. He got it wrong at both ends, & no matter what Drogba, Ballack or Terry had to say to the referee, it was chelseas fault for not scoring more than one goal.
    That is the simple answer.
    Goals win games.
    No one is ever safe with a 1-0 lead and Chelsea proved this in spectacular style at the bridge. they missed some great chances and to concentrate on the fact that they didnt get a penalty as the reason they are not in Rome for the final is churlish to say the least. with a bit of luck, the players involved will be handed lengthly bans by uefa, as a fine will not hurt a club with pockets as deep as chelsea.
    Magnanmous in victory & gracious in defeat. Barcelona might only have had one chance to get to Rome, but they took it & took it well.

  • Comment number 89.

    Thats a very intelligent piece, Phil.I think its obvious there is some kind of jelousy against premier league clubs by UEFA. A game os such magnitude should have officials that are experienced in high octane football not from Norway. I think the conspiracy theory maybe right because they dont want and a Premier league club to win the CL back to back.
    However, in as much as Drogba's behaviour is inexcusable, other chelsea players are equally giulty as well and i think Phil appears to concentrate on Drogba alone. Ballack and Terry were equally horrible on the night.

  • Comment number 90.

    Im sorry but Chelsea deserved nothing out of this tie.

    For a team that spends so much on players - for a team that have so many skillful attacking players - you'd expect them to show more ambition at home.

    Fair enough away from home, you'd expect them to keep it tight - but to play "counter attack" football at home is embarassing to say the least.

    Liverpool showed more ambition both home and away against Barca- even though they dont have the flair Chelsea possess.

    Even then, we were still labelled boring and anti-football team -

    Chelsea's performance are being labelled as heroic for doing exactly the same. Joke

  • Comment number 91.

    Firslty Drogba should look at himself first he missed two golden opportunities over the two legs.

    Secondly only one of the so called penalty shouts was a certain penalty which was the Pique handball which came after Abidal had been worngly sent off.

    Chelsea tactic last night appeared to be to boot it up to Drogba who would then flop on the floor and get a free kick so I don't think they have the right to moan about any incoorect decisions.

    Teams have gone defensive a the Nou Camp before but have atleast tried to play football, Chelsea only seam interested in hoofing the ball away, diving, and fouling. In the end they went out on away goals, they should have made more of an effort to get one themselves.

    In the end Chelsea can feel hard done to yes but not to the extent to which people are making out, I expect had the reverese happened then Chelsea would be defending the events.

  • Comment number 92.

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  • Comment number 93.

    Hey what about the penalty Barca should have gotten at the first leg? And Ballack should have been sent off too at Nou Camp. Both side were hard done by the refereeing decisions.

  • Comment number 94.

    I never will understand why players protest to the referee during games as the ref never changes his decision once he's given it. I therefore find it incomprehensible that a player will demonstrate to the ref AFTER the game has ended. What does he hope to achieve?

    I hope we'll all focus on the two cracking goals and put the negativity of the game behind us.

  • Comment number 95.

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  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    Although any of the penalty decisions could have been given and Barcelona would have had no complaints, strangely enough on an individual basis I can understand why none of the decisions were given:
    (1) the first offence for which a free kick was given clearly started outside the area hence no penalty.
    (2) for both the hand-balls there was no movement of the hand towards the ball which were hit from close range, therefore ball to hand rather than hand to ball and hence technically not penalties (and I didn't think the second one even hit a "hand", more the armpit).
    (3) the Drogba tangle with Abidal was just that, a tangle and Drogba as usual went down far too easily for such a powerful man.

    I do however believe that the referee for such a big game should come from a country where the refereee has regular experience of big, importnant games.

  • Comment number 98.

    I am a Chelsea fan so I might be writing this with a certain degree of bias. Yes the behavior of Ballack & Drogba was not good and should not be encouraged. However can we call it inexcusable of unforgivable?

    Think how many times you have ranted at a train conductor for just missing a train. Or the number of times that you've let out a torrent of bad language at a step you've just stubbed your toe on. Then imagine the situation these players are in.

    Drogba who has always said that he felt a serious feeling of guilt and personal responsibility for getting sent off in last years final (rightly so) and not being there to take a penalty. Or for Ballack; and aging player who has come runner up in two champions league finals, a world cup final and a european cup final. This match clearly meant more to these players than I think a lot of us can begin to imagine. The frustration of missing your train is multiplied by infinity and the pain of stubbing your toe is moved to immeasurable levels. This would be the case if iniesta's goal had gone in and the match before had been unremarkable. But if there was a clear reason why you were not 4-0 up when that goal was scored. If you had put everything you had into something that meant so much and it was a referee's incompetence that had denied you victory; can you honestly say that you would not act in a similar fashion? I am not so shocked at the players that did abuse the referee I am more dum founded and respectful at those that some how had the control not to.

  • Comment number 99.

    ""It was far from inexcusable.

    An inept referee has ruined his season. Drogba may never get another chance to play in a Final.
    How would you feel if someone had taken something so important away from you for nothing?. You don't understand where he's coming from. So until you get some empathy, don't be so definitive, And if you can't handle a little swearing, you need to take a look at yourself and consider if you're in the real world.""

    Mate are you out of your mind it is not acceptable verbally abuse and psychically threaten anyone, i think the both of you need to grow up. Also if Drogba had not b"een rolling around the pitch for half the bloody game Chelsea could have won it with out the need of a bloody penalty.

  • Comment number 100.

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