Grit and determination were characteristics that epitomised Chelsea’s run to Champions League glory in 2012 and never was that tenacity more apparent than against Barcelona at Camp Nou.
Against a Blaugrana side overflowing with talent Chelsea fell 2-0 down and lost John Terry to a red card in the space of nine minutes at the back end of a memorable first half. Few gave them a chance from that moment onwards.
But, showing that football is a game where anything can happen, the team from Stamford Bridge overcame the odds that night and upset their more fancied rivals in what can only be described as a triumph against adversity in a display of courage and resolve that will be remembered for many years to come.
Fast-forward almost six years and we see these two powerhouses of European football once again matched in the knockout stages of the Champions League. It’s a matchup that presents the Catalan outfit with an opportunity to finally bury those ghosts of 2012.
The Blaugrana have gone from strength to strength this season, they’re unbeaten in La Liga and through to the Copa del Rey final but scaling the Everest-like heights to the pinnacle of European football is what this team covets. The Champions League trophy is the ultimate goal.
Reaching the top of the mountain has its risks though. It only takes one wrong step to fall and a loss to Chelsea would easily be enough to derail what could go down as one of the best ever seasons in the proud history of Barcelona.
Gerard Piqué recently commented on the upcoming tie against Chelsea and how losing could be disastrous for the team. One gets the feeling there’s little complacency this time around.
“Expectations are maximum. We go out as favourites, with a chance to win. I know the atmosphere is positive, very favourable, everything looks good, but I think we have to be more prudent,” Pique said.
”We have to learn from experience, what has happened in recent years and know that one bad day could see you knocked out of the Champions League.
”A bad result against Chelsea could turn the good season we are having into one that’s not so good.
”We know where we are, in La Liga and in the cup we’re in a good position, and now we have to do it in the Champions League.
”That’s why we will play Chelsea with the aim of getting a good result, to try to win to take the first step in this tie.”
Source | Sport
Piqué was there on that fateful night at the Camp Nou in 2012. He saw first hand the resolve that Chelsea displayed and endured the pain of such a loss. The past can never be changed but the pain of that night can be lessened with a victory this time around. The ghosts of 2012 demand it.