Since Fernando Torres's €57.5m move from Liverpool FC to Chelsea FC 15 months ago he has struggled for goals – but he had the last laugh on Tuesday night at Camp Nou.
With Chelsea clinging to an away-goals lead over FC Barcelona, pinned back deep in their half, Torres broke clear, ran into the home box, rounded Víctor Valdés, and sent the London club into only their second UEFA Champions League final.
Considering Chelsea were at one stage 2-1 down on aggregate and down to ten men with John Terry sent off, it was an unlikely victory, sealed by a brilliant Ramires chip just before the break and a Lionel Messi penalty miss early in the second half prior to the decisive Torres intervention.
"It was an important moment for the club, especially for all the supporters who came to Barcelona, there was unbelievable support from the beginning," Torres told UEFA.com. "We had a very tough game, we knew that, and when Ramires made it 2-1 just before half-time, that gave us some hope. After Messi missed the penalty, we started to believe it could be our day, because they were missing chances.
"We only had one more [chance], the situation when I scored the goal, it was one against one with the keeper, I knew I couldn't miss. It was the goal that gave us a pass to the final, so I am very happy about that."
The sense of personal pleasure is clear for the Spain striker, who only replaced Didier Drogba with ten minutes left. "I chose to come to Chelsea and it is a very happy day for me," said Torres, who also played an important role in his club reaching the FA Cup final. "Now we have the chance to win two trophies this season, the Champions League is the more prestigious one. It is a very important day for me, hopefully it was a new beginning."
When Torres came on he, like Drogba, was in an unfamiliar full-back position as Chelsea defended en masse. Asked what manager Roberto Di Matteo had told him, Torres explained: "Just keep the position where Didier was playing because he was completely dead. It was my first game as left-back, so it was a nice experience!
We knew we needed to play like this against Barcelona because Barcelona are a better team than anyone, they have the best players in the world," Torres added. "So the only chance we had was to stay compact and try to score on the counterattack; it was the perfect day for us."
The only downside is that Terry, Ramires, Raul Meireles and Branislav Ivanović are all suspended for the 19 May final against FC Bayern München or Real Madrid CF at the Fußball Arena München. "It's a strange feeling," Torres said. "Everyone is happy, because we are going to be in the final, but the players who are going to be suspended are a bit sad. Everyone is tired, a different feeling, but at the end of the day we are going to realise what we have done, maybe tomorrow when we are in London and training together.
"This season looked like it would be frustrating, no trophies, maybe no Champions League qualification. Now, with three weeks to go, we are in two finals, and have the chance to finish in the top four and achieve Champions League qualification. Everything can be great but we still have a very hard three weeks."
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