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Ronaldinho ends Chelsea challenge

Published: Wednesday 8 March 2006, 0.55CET
FC Barcelona 1-1 Chelsea FC (agg: 3-2) Ronaldinho confirmed the Spanish champions' progress at the expense of their English counterparts.
by Lucas Brown
from Camp Nou

Match statistics


Goals scored1
Attempts on target6
Attempts off target4
Fouls committed20
Yellow cards2
Red cards0


Published: Wednesday 8 March 2006, 0.55CET

Ronaldinho ends Chelsea challenge

FC Barcelona 1-1 Chelsea FC (agg: 3-2) Ronaldinho confirmed the Spanish champions' progress at the expense of their English counterparts.

Ronaldinho produced a moment of magic to confirm FC Barcelona's progress to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League despite Frank Lampard's late penalty which gave Chelsea FC a draw in the second leg of this first knockout round tie.

Superb strike
The Brazilian international crowned another outstanding display with the goal that effectively ended the English champions' hopes of turning around a 2-1 first-leg deficit, slicing through the visitors' defence 12 minutes from time before shooting in from the edge of the area. Chelsea at least avoided defeat on the night as Lampard converted from the spot in added time after Giovanni van Bronckhorst had fouled John Terry, but Barça had already booked their place in Friday's draw.

Contrasting styles
Edmílson predicted the game would be a tactical affair and he was proved correct in the opening half as both teams employed their usual styles of play. While the away side set out to soak up pressure and rely on the counterattack, Frank Rijkaard's charges were typically easy on the eye as they passed and moved forward with their familiar flourish. The Brazilian defender had also said he would be happy to play badly as long as Barcelona advanced, but he was wrong to believe the Spanish champions would ever change their approach.

Cautious Chelsea
With the hosts in front on aggregate, they opened cautiously as if assessing whether José Mourinho's men were going to press or sit back and wait for their chances. It soon became clear that the Londoners were prepared to play a patient game. In contrast, Samuel Eto'o, Edmílson and Thiago Motta all tried their luck in the early stages, before Lionel Messi warmed Petr Čech's gloves from distance.

Enforced reshuffle
Much of the pre-match talk had focused on Chelsea's plans to contain Messi but the Argentinian teenager's night ended prematurely when he pulled up clutching his thigh midway through the first period and limped off, Henrik Larsson taking his place. Barça continued to dominate possession and Ronaldinho was at the centre of virtually everything the home team created. As half-time approached, the visitors began to look more dangerous, however, Damien Duff firing wide and Víctor Valdés blocking Arjen Robben's low drive before Joe Cole flicked a shot over the Barcelona goalkeeper only for the ball to land on the roof of the net.

Attacking substitutions
Chelsea returned from the interval looking to push forward and the introduction of Eidur Gudjohnsen and Hernán Crespo gave them more attacking impetus. Barça carried on with their neat passing game, but continued to find the opposing defence an imposing barrier although Larsson gave the Catalans an aerial presence and set up Eto'o with one knockdown, but the Cameroonian international's effort clipped Ricardo Carvalho, allowing Čech to gather safely.

Crespo chance
The Premiership outfit came closest to breaking the deadlock when Cole got free down the right and his curling cross was met by Crespo at the near post ahead of Valdés, but the substitute side-footed centimetres wide. Ronaldinho then did make the breakthrough, picking up possession from Eto'o, before rounding Terry and clipping the ball low inside the near post as Čech approached.

Lampard leveller
Eto'o might have added a second as he burst clear down the left, but while his shot curled around the Chelsea custodian, it shaved the outside of the far post. Lampard levelled with the last kick of the match, yet the Spanish league leaders had already ensured progress to the last eight, although captain Carles Puyol will miss the first leg through suspension.

Last updated: 08/03/06 10.35CET