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Blues test for Europe’s best

Chelsea are bracing for a Barcelona onslaught here Tuesday as the wounded Catalans bid to recover from domestic disappointment by reaching their third Champions League final in four seasons.

sports Updated: Apr 24, 2012 01:52 IST

Chelsea are bracing for a Barcelona onslaught here Tuesday as the wounded Catalans bid to recover from domestic disappointment by reaching their third Champions League final in four seasons.

The holders — stunned 1-0 by Chelsea in last week’s semi-final first leg — completed a week to forget on Saturday when a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid at Camp Nou effectively handed the domestic title to their bitter rivals.

Chelsea will hope to exploit any lingering hangover from Saturday’s traumatic reverse to Real as they attempt to avenge their agonising elimination to Barca at the same stage three years ago.

The Blues are unlikely to lose sight of the fact that they were comprehensively outplayed for much of the first leg.

Barcelona enjoyed 70% possession, hit the woodwork twice and carved out three other scoring chances that they would normally have expected to convert with ease. Chelsea’s lone shot on target proved to be Didier Drogba’s winner, scored on the counter-attack after a mistake by Lionel Messi.

Interim Chelsea coach Roberto Di Matteo is hopeful that the drive of Chelsea’s senior citizens — John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Petr Cech and Drogba were all outstanding in the first leg — augurs well for Tuesday alongside another standout performer in Gary Cahill.

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