Lampard double sees off gallant Liverpool in thriller

Stamford Bridge, London – 14/04/2009 – Quarter-finals
Chelsea
Chelsea
Drogba 51 Alex 57 Lampard 76, 89
4 - 4
Liverpool
  • Fábio Aurélio 19
  • Xabi Alonso 28 (P)
  • Lucas 81
  • Kuyt 83
Liverpool
End-to-end drama

"For the whole first half we were tense and frozen by the fear of being eliminated." Didier Drogba

2008/09

• Joseba Llorente scored the second fastest hat-trick (17 minutes) in UEFA Champions League history as Spain's Villarreal CF won 6-3 against Danish champions Aalborg BK on Matchday 3.

• FC Bayern München's 12-1 aggregate defeat of Sporting Clube de Portugal in the first knockout round marked the highest aggregate score across a two-legged tie in the competition.

Unexpectedly placed in temporary charge two months previously, Guus Hiddink picked up from where his predecessors left off by guiding Chelsea FC to a fifth UEFA Champions League semi-final appearance in six seasons – but what a fright Liverpool FC gave him.

The Reds' 3-1 first-leg deficit was a formidable barrier but Fábio Aurélio's free-kick and Xabi Alonso's penalty soon had the scores level. Chelsea roared back with second-half goals from Didier Drogba, Alex and Frank Lampard; somehow, Liverpool still were not dead and buried. Lucas's deflected shot and Dirk Kuyt's header left the home supporters fearing the worst before Lampard scored again with a minute remaining to take relieved Chelsea through to a meeting with FC Barcelona.

Shorn of the injured Steven Gerrard, Liverpool's desire was apparent from the off, but their early passing lacked sharpness, even if they created a good chance in the 13th minute that Fernando Torres fired over. The Reds soon found it when they were awarded a free-kick on the right, though, following a push by Lampard on Torres. Aurélio deceived everyone by arrowing his delivery inside Petr Čech's left-hand post.

Liverpool had their tails up and swiftly scored again: Branislav Ivanović was penalised for a tug on Alonso, who calmly slotted in the spot kick. Hiddink immediately sought to invigorate his team, replacing Salomon Kalou with Nicolas Anelka. The striker was slow to find his stride but a positive raid down the right led to Chelsea regaining the aggregate lead. A dangerous ball played under pressure was helped on by Drogba close to the byline and Pepe Reina was unable to keep it out at his near post.

Six minutes later Liverpool's lead on the night was wiped out as Alex fired in a free-kick with immense power, and Chelsea seemed to have put the issue beyond doubt in the 76th minute when Drogba surged away and Reina could not keep out Lampard's side-footed shot.

Eleven minutes from time Lucas's drive diverted in off Michael Essien and then, incredibly, Kuyt headed in Albert Riera's cross. One more goal and Liverpool would be through but instead that went to Chelsea and the inspirational Lampard. Time to breathe at last.

Star players

  • Xabi Alonso

    Alonso came to prominence with the Real Sociedad de Fútbol side that finished Liga runners-up in 2002/03. The cultured midfielder moved to Liverpool FC the following summer and scored the equaliser in Liverpool's remarkable 2005 UEFA Champions League final triumph. He helped Spain to success at UEFA EURO 2008 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup, either side of a switch to Real Madrid CF. Scored twice on his 100th cap en route as Spain defended their EURO crown in 2012.

  • Lampard

    A box-to-box midfielder with uncanny timing, Lampard proved a model of consistency following his move from West Ham United FC to Chelsea FC in 2001. He scored at least ten Premier League goals or more for nine straight seasons starting in 2003/04, peaking with 22 in 2009/10. An England regular for many years, he helped Chelsea to three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the 2012 UEFA Champions League.

  • Drogba

    An old-fashioned target man, Drogba made his name at Chelsea FC, helping to mould the style of play so successfully implemented by José Mourinho. The Ivorian won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups but saved his best until last, scoring the Blues' equaliser in the 2012 UEFA Champions League final against FC Bayern München and converting the winning penalty in the shoot-out – his last act for the club.

What happened next?

• Chelsea FC were on the brink of a second straight UEFA Champions League final against Manchester United FC but Andrés Iniesta's 93rd-minute second-leg goal took FC Barcelona through.

• The Blues could draw solace on the domestic front, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard scoring their goals as they beat Everton FC 2-1 to lift the FA Cup for the second time in three seasons.

• That proved interim manager Guus Hiddink's final game in charge, with Carlo Ancelotti, appointed that summer and leading Chelsea to a league and cup double in his first season.

• Liverpool FC drew 4-4 in their next game after their second leg with Chelsea, Russia's Andrey Arshavin scoring all four for Arsenal FC in a thrilling Premier League meeting at Anfield.

• The Reds bounced back to conclude their league campaign with five wins on the spin and reach a club record tally of 86 Premier League points, enough for second place behind United.

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