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Desire, spirit key to Chelsea win, says Cole

25 April 2012 02:31

Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole was delighted with his side's desire and fight as they claimed a place in the final of Champions League.

Goals from Ramires and Fernando Torres saw Chelsea come from behind to claim a dramatic 3-2 victory over the two legs against Barcelona, despite being reduced to 10 men when captain John Terry was dismissed for a foul of Alexis Sanchez after just 37 minutes.

Asked about whether character helped them through, Cole told Sky Sports: "It was a lot, three to four months ago, no-one thought we had a chance, we lost a few games in the Premier League.

"But we had certain meetings, we got all the players together and said we always believe and we're good enough to be here and I think we've proved that today.

"We've been lucky in spells in the game, but you can't beat that desire and fight and spirit that you see out there today."

In addition to their captain being given his marching orders, Roberto Di Matteo's men also lost Gary Cahill to injury after just 12 minutes, leaving them with two makeshift central defenders, Jose Bosingwa and Branislac Ivanovic, for nearly an hour.

"It's hard when you lose centre halves like that against a great team, we knew it was going to be hard but Branny (Ivanovic) went in from right back and Bosingwa came into centre-back which is brilliant," Cole said.

"At the end of the day we all believed, not many people did, but us as a group of players did and this is what happens."

Barcelona boasted over 70 percent of possession throughout the 90 minutes, but wasteful passing and valiant defending from the away side continued halted the attacking intent.

"It's hard work, there was five or six players coming down my side, but we defended as a team, again got a bit lucky, Petr (Cech) made some great saves and a little bit of luck as well," he said.

Goalkeeper Cech believes, despite the Barcelona dominance and Lionel Messi missing a penalty, that the Blues deserved to advance to the final.

"We scored the away goal and I think that was the key, twice we scored goals," he said.

"We fought for 90 minutes in the first game, we were down to ten men and we did what we could and I think it was fantastic what we did and we got the reward for it because everybody 150 percent for the team and to be fair we tried to survive and we survived pretty well."

Chelsea will be missing a number of players for the final, with Ramires, Terry, Meireles and Ivanovic all picking suspensions during the second leg, with the latter calling his ban 'unfortunate'.

However, the defender mirrored his goalkeeper's comments, adding: "It was a very difficult game, I think we do our best and we deserved to qualify."

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Info

2 - 2

Competition
UEFA Champions League
Date
24 April 2012
Kick-off
20:45
Half-time
2 - 1
Full-time
2 - 2
On aggregate
2 - 3
Venue
Camp Nou (Barcelona)
Attendance
95845

Goals

Busquets 35'
(assist by Cuenca) 
1 - 0
Iniesta 43'
(assist by L. Messi) 
2 - 0
2 - 1
45'+1 Ramires
 (assist by F. Lampard)
2 - 2
90'+2 Fernando Torres
 (assist by A. Cole)

Lineups

# Player Bookings
1
5
3
14
4
8 43' 50'
6
16 35'
39
10 49' 71'
9
Coach: Guardiola
# Player Bookings
1 59'
3
26 37'
24
2 48'
8 72'
12 32'
16 89'
7 44' 45+1'
11
10
Coach: R. Di Matteo

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
2
37
15
11
13
17
21
# Player Bookings
17
21
9 90+2'
5
15
22
23

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