Eto'o hugs Iniesta after the goal at Stamford Bridge (2009). PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Chelsea and Barça are set to meet in the Champions League semis once again after a series of games between the two over the last decade, with the 2009 semi perhaps the most memorable.

Four days after seeing off Madrid 2-6 in the Bernabeu – a result that virtually ensured Guardiola’s team took the league title – Barça travelled to Stamford Bridge after drawing 0-0 in the Camp Nou in the first leg. Reduced to 10 men after Abidal saw red, Barça were up against the wall when Alves, in injury time, put in a cross from the right to the far post: Eto’o headed it back towards Messi, who laid it off for Iniesta on the edge of the area and the Spanish midfielder fired in a brilliant shot which gave Cech no chance and booked Guardiola’s team a place in the Rome final.

Three match ups in three years

That meeting was the third time the two teams had met since 2005, when the Londoners, under the ownership of Roman Abramovich, began to chisel out a place in Europe’s elite. With the arrival of José Mourinho, the temperature of the games began to increase.

In the 2005 quarter finals, it was Chelsea who got through, whilst a year later at the same stage and with a young Messi and unstoppable Ronaldinho, it was Barça who had the upper hand . In the 2006/07 group stage, the English team finished top of the group thanks to the draw they achieved at the Camp Nou.

Historic fight back

However, the excitement of the games between the two goes back further: one of the most spectacular comebacks in the Club’s European history came in the 99/00 season when Louis van Gaal’s team overturned a 3-1 defeat in the first leg at Stamford Bridge to win 5-1 at the Camp Nou.

Before that, the two had only previously met in the 1965/66 Fairs Cup, when Barça needed a third play off game to see off the Londoners in the semi finals – a forerunner of the close and exciting games between the two that were to come.

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