Ba helps Chelsea eliminate PSG to reach CL semis

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 8, 2014 at 7:16 pm •  Published: April 8, 2014
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LONDON (AP) — Growing up, Demba Ba dreamed about scoring big goals for Paris Saint-Germain. With the team he supported as a child on the verge of reaching the Champions League semifinals for the first time in 19 years, Ba instead scored the goal that knocked them out.

Now it is Chelsea joining European football's elite in the last four for the seventh time in 11 years.

Ba seemed the most improbable player to complete Chelsea's comeback, having been largely overlooked by Jose Mourinho for much of this season, but he delivered from the bench when it mattered most for the 2012 European champions.

Ba's sixth goal of the season in the 87th minute, after Andre Schuerrle's first-half opener, clinched a 2-0 victory that overturned a 3-1 loss from the first leg and sent Chelsea through on away goals.

"It happened so quickly," Ba said. "I was on the floor, just looked at the goal, and I saw the ball was in the net. It was a big joy for everyone. I just do what I have to do when I get chances. I haven't had many this season."

Mourinho was elated, sprinting from the bench to join his celebrating players, who collapsed in a heap on the pitch.

"It was not to celebrate — it was to tell the players how we have to play," Mourinho said. "But you could see that I can still run."

And Mourinho is still a winner — a decade after the Portuguese's memorable dash down the Old Trafford touchline in a game against Manchester United during his Porto side's run to the Champions League title.

Now Mourinho, having failed to bring the European Cup to Chelsea during his 2004-07 stint in charge, remains on course to win the competition in his first season back at Stamford Bridge, while the team is also second in the Premier League.

Joining Chelsea in draw on Friday is Real Madrid, which lost 2-0 at Borussia Dortmund but still went through 3-2 on aggregate. On Wednesday, Bayern Munich hosts Manchester United, and Barcelona takes on Atletico Madrid after both first legs ended 1-1.

For PSG's Qatari owners it's another season of heartbreak in Europe — a victim of the away-goals rule in the quarterfinals just as the team was against Barcelona last year — but the French title is close to be successfully defended.

This was a night when PSG needed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but he was injured in the first leg. Edinson Cavani was relied on for goals but fluffed his chances as Chelsea extended its run without conceding at fortress Stamford Bridge to nine games in all competitions.

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