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07.05.2009 13:29

Iniesta: a goal to savour

Vanessa Forns

Since Wednesday evening, the road to Rome and the Champions League Final has a name, Andrés Iniesta. His goal in the 93rd minute boosted the fans from despair to joy.

The nail-biting finale to the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea will become yet another golden page in the history of FC Barcelona. Just when it seemed that Barça’s dream was over – down to ten men after Abidal was sent off in the 65th minute, in injury time and the players exhausted – the bravery, fight and persistence of Guardiola’s men were finally rewarded.

In the dying moments

In the 93rd minute Iniesta received the ball just outside the box knowing that the dream of Rome was rapidly fading. However, he connected a perfect drive and classified Barça for the sixth European final in the Club’s history.

First shot on target

Iniesta’s goal silenced the local fans but produced an explosion of euphoria among Barça fans around the world. It was the first – and last –Barça effort on target throughout the entire match.

The build-up to the goal

The movement that led to the gaol started with Touré Yaya, who passed to Piqué who in turn picked out Iniesta. Andrés then threaded a long ball to Dani Alves on the right wing who crossed into the Chelsea penalty area. Terry’s headed clearance came to Eto'o but the Cameroon striker couldn’t control the ball.

Essien fumbled the clearance to Messi who immediately passed across the front of the box to Iniesta. The Spanish international midfielder connected perfectly with his right foot and the ball screamed into the top right hand corner of Cech’s goal.

An explosion of euphoria

chelsea-fcb_x19x.jpgThe subsequent celebration by the Barça players, coaching staff and fans was in stark contrast to the fury of the local players, who couldn’t believe they had lost their place in the Rome final. Only one team could make it through to the final, and fate decided that it would be Barça, true throughout the tie to their attacking style of football.
Iniesta: a goal to savour

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Iniesta and eight more back in the final
FC Barcelona’ last appearance in a Champions League final was three years ago in Paris. No fewer than nine players from the current squad were there in May 2006 and were crowned champions of Europe: Iniesta, Jorquera, Valdés, Márquez, Puyol, Sylvinho, Eto'o, Xavi and Messi. On that occasion, both Xavi and Messi were sidelined by injury.

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