Champions League Chelsea

 
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It wasn’t until more than a century after they were formed that Chelsea featured in the final of the top European club competition - the trophy formerly know as the European Cup. Prior to the 2008 final of the Champions League Chelsea had failed to make it past the semi-final stage. This is despite a huge and unprecedented recent investment in team-building by the clubs owner, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. As those who regularly watch Chelsea live in person or via online football streaming will testify, the match in Moscow felt substantially overdue.

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Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League
 

Chelsea’s history in the Champions League is surprisingly short in comparison to it’s main domestic rivals. It wasn’t until the 2004/5 season when Jose Mourinho led the Blues to their first league championship for half a century that Chelsea qualified ’for real’ and entered the Champions League as champions. They did have recent experience of the ‘premier league European football’ via the extended qualification criteria that exist. However, their best attempt saw them reach the quarter finals in 2000 when, under the guidance of Gianluca Vialli, they won a tough initial group which included AC Milan and Galatasaray, and followed Lazio through the latter stage group only to lose to a strong Barcelona side over two legs.

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When Roman Abramovich took over in 2003, Chelsea were managed by Claudio Ranieri - The Tinkerman as he became known for his constant changes to the starting eleven from one week to the next. Their league finish allowed them to enter the competition at the 3rd qualifying stage which they eased through. Chelsea went on to win their group and then beat Stuttgart and London rivals Arsenal to reach the semi-final. Unfortunately, Monaco proved a test too far and Chelsea went out with their victors progressing to the final where they were to lose against Portuguese side Porto. Managing Porto to that victory was one Jose Mourinho who even at the time was being linked with a move to England. His disappearance after the final whistle, missing his team’s celebrations, seemed to confirm this and shortly after he was confirmed as Ranieri’s replacement at Stamford Bridge.

 

Mourinho’s impact was instant. Apart from the domestic triumph’s, Chelsea’s European form saw them progress through another group stage as winners and subsequent victories against giants Barcelona and Bayern Munich gave them another semi-final berth, this time against Liverpool. A goalless draw at Stamford Bridge saw an all or nothing match at Anfield decided by a single goal that is disputed to this day. Luis Garcia struck on 4 minutes but his stab at goal following Cech’s block of a Milan Baros shot was hammered clear by William Gallas. However, the referees assistant indicated that the ball had crossed the line and a goal was awarded. Liverpool went on to win one of the most entertaining finals in recent years against AC Milan.

 

In 2005/6, Chelsea again progressed beyond the group stage albeit playing second fiddle to Liverpool. A subsequent knock-out stage defeat at the hands of eventual winners Barcelona was only slightly tempered by the fact that Barce beat fierce domestic rivals Arsenal in the final.

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The following season, another good run was on the cards. Some form of revenge was exacted by winning a group that included Barcelona. Wins against Mourinho’s former employers Porto and Valencia gave Chelsea a chance of further revenge, this time against Liverpool in another semi-final. Yet again, Liverpool triumphed although it did take a penalty shoot-out.

 

Mourinho’s surprise departure early into the 2007/8 season saw Avram Grant take the reigns. Despite early concerns, Chelsea saw Champions League progression again through a group win and continued successes against Olympiacos and Fenerbahce. A distinct sense of deja vue must have greeted the semi-final draw against Liverpool but Grant guided Chelsea to something that the Special One couldn’t - a Champions League final. The jubilation at the 4-3 victory over Liverpool was slightly dampened as England and Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard was still in mourning following the death of his mother.  

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The all-English final - opponents were Manchester United - was set up in Moscow. After falling a goal behind, Chelsea fought back and it was fitting that the equaliser was scored by Frank Lampard himself. Extra time could not separate the teams and the dreaded penalty shoot-out came around. Chelsea had the chance to win the match, and captain John Terry stepped up for the vital kick. Incredibly, he slipped and failed to score. Manchester eventually won 6-5 to break Blues hearts. Less than a week later, Grant’s contract was terminated and former Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari took over.

 
2008/09
 

The 2008/9 Champions League campaign saw the Blues see mixed results in the group stages. A fine 4-0 win over Bordeaux was followed by a disappointing nil-nil away draw at lowly Romanian outfit CFR Cluj. The next two matches were against Italian sleeping giants AS Roma but the 1-0 home win was quickly forgotten as a 3-1 defeat in the Stadio Olympico was compounded by a red card for playmaker Deco.

 

Chelsea ultimately made second in the group behind Roma and progressed to the knock-out stages where they triumphed over Italian side Juventus only to be faced yet again in the Champions League by Liverpool. A spectacular 3-1 win at Anfield was the pre-cursor to an amazing night at Stamford Bridge where 8 goals were shared. They then faced Barcelona and after earning a fine 0-0 draw in Spain, took the lead courtesy of Michael Essien’s wonder-strike at home. However, Iiesta broke Chelsea hearts in the final minute of injury time as his equaliser sent Barce through to the final and subsequently the trophy.

 

Chelsea once again qualified for the UEFA Champions League in 2009/10 and with newly-installed boss Carlo Ancelotti aiming to claim his third Champions League crown.

 

Live Sports Network provides you with the chance to see Champions League live through your pc. You can watch Chelsea live online right here. For the chance to see Chelsea Champions League football streaming, look no further than here at Free-Football.tv- your once-stop shop for live Champions League football online streaming.

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