A brave Chelsea display saw them leave the Nou Camp with a 2-2 draw last night, making them 15/8 for a maiden Champions League crown after eliminating defending champions Barcelona.
The players stood up to be counted to a man, though there was only ten of them to do so for the majority of the game, following John Terry’s mindless dismissal not long before half-time.
Terry was sent off after felling Alexis Sanchez in an off-the-ball incident, and the Blues skipper will now miss arguably the biggest game in club football as a result.
Chelsea have fared much better with their skipper than without him this season, winning 58 per cent of matches in which he has been involved, but only triumphing in 35 per cent of occasions in which Terry has not featured.
Victories at home to Bayer Leverkusen and Genk were Chelsea’s only Champions League wins that came without Terry, as defeat on the road to Napoli and an away draw to Genk were disappointing as their captain missed out.
The Blues’ defensive efforts last night were Herculean though, with the likes of Didier Drogba filling in as makeshift defenders once Terry had exited, and endeavour of a similar nature will be required when they meet Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in three weeks.
In that May 19 clash however, it is not solely Terry’s absence that will damage Chelsea’s chances of landing an elusive first European title.
Roberto Di Matteo will have to select a starting lineup not involving Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles, whose amassed yellow cards rule them out of final participation.
Gary Cahill was also forced off early in Spain last night, and the Blues’ interim boss will be praying that he makes a speedy recovery from injury to bolster his defensive options ahead of the final.
It is Terry’s absence though, which will perhaps deter punters from taking 15/8 odds on Chelsea winning the Champions League.