Moment of madness costs Terry final glory

Carl Markham

A BANNER at the Shed End at Stamford Bridge reads: John Terry. Captain. Leader. Legend.

Added to that should be '...and a very lucky boy'.

Chelsea prevailed in their Champions League semi-final in Barcelona in spite of the captain's moment of premeditated madness in getting sent off for fouling Alexis Sanchez.

Had they not the blame would have fallen squarely on the shoulders of the centre-back, who has already had his fair share of controversy this season.

In February he was stripped of the England captaincy -- a decision which in part led to the departure of Fabio Capello and left the national team without a coach just months before the European Championships.

Despite those troubles he has always given his all for Chelsea but at the Nou Camp red not Blue was the colour and it could easily have cost his side dearly, especially as they had already lost fellow central defender Gary Cahill to injury.

What possessed Terry to thrust his knee into Sanchez's back only he knows, although initially protesting his innocence by suggesting the Chile forward was responsible for the action was embarrassing.

He will, of course, miss the Munich final and that denies him the opportunity of redemption after his missed penalty allowed Manchester United to snatch victory in a shoot-out in Moscow in 2008.


In his absence his team-mates defended determinedly and resolutely for almost an hour, actions typified by striker Didier Drogba, who was often seen posted in the full-back positions repelling Barcelona attacks.

But had it not been for the width of the crossbar and a post -- Lionel Messi struck both with a penalty and a shot which was partially saved by Petr Cech -- and a linesman's flag to deny a late Sanchez goal the Champions League dream would have been over.

A season which seemed in disarray in the weeks immediately before and after the departure of manager Andre Villas-Boas in early March could still end in triumph for the Stamford Bridge side as interim boss Roberto Di Matteo has galvanised the squad.

Winning the Champions League may still not be enough to secure Di Matteo a full-time contract but he has hardly put a foot wrong since taking over.