• Champions League final Plays of the Day

Plays of the Day: Heroes in blue

ESPN staff
May 19, 2012

In at the deep end
Never before had a player made his Champions League debut in the final of the competition, so Ryan Bertrand's name went down in history as Chelsea played Bayern Munich. When he made his first appearance of the season against big-hitters like Fulham's Orlanda Sa, he could never have dreamed there would come a moment when Roberto Di Matteo would stare him in the eye, an hour before the Champions League final, and say: "Go mark that fella Robben".

Gamble taken, gamble paid off.

Good omen for Chelsea
The Blues may have been facing an opposition boasting home advantage, but that might have been a blessing in disguise for Di Matteo's men. On the three previous occasions that a European Cup final was played in Munich, the team that won did so for the first time (Nottingham Forest 1979, Marseille 1993, Dortmund 1997). Add Chelsea to that list.

No way Jose
Bayern started impressively at the Allianz Arena, although none of their outfield players showed quite the amount of imagination displayed by Jose Bosingwa's first-half effort at goal. Latching onto Frank Lampard's layoff on the six-yard line of his own area, Bosingwa put so much side-spin on the ball as he attempted to clear that it spun behind him and agonisingly close to Chelsea's own net. Super effort, ultimately unrewarded.

Hit the post!
In a first half controlled by the Germans, the closest they came to an opening goal was a shot by Robben, awkwardly diverted by Petr Cech off his right boot and up on to the woodwork. The luck of champions you might say.

The new Liverpool?
Such was Bayern's dominance in the first 45 minutes that they had 16 efforts at Cech's goal. However, only two actually made the Chelsea keeper work, which is the type of chance-conversion rate that Liverpool have made their own this season.

The luck of the linesman
Di Matteo cannot complain at the standard of officials he's had since taking charge of Chelsea. Against Wigan in the league the Blues benefited from a huge offside call in their favour, and then in the FA Cup final they were again grateful, this time with the official correctly spotting Andy Carroll's header had not crossed the line.

In the Champions League final against Bayern it appeared Franck Ribery had given Bayern the lead from close-range, but the assistant referee was on top of his game when correctly raising his flag for offside - with the Bayern man no more than half a yard beyond the last man.

Hero to zero
Bayern did eventually make the breakthrough with seven minutes left, but Chelsea found an equaliser through the bullet header of Didier Drogba. However, five minutes into extra-time Drogba almost undid all his good work by needlessly tripping Ribery, only to be saved by a former Chelsea favourite as Robben saw his penalty denied by Cech.

Paying the penalty
The Germans are so often praised for their class when it comes to holding their nerve from 12 yards. But Cech saved three penalties on the night, cementing his place in Chelsea folklore.

Star man
There were heroes all over the pitch for Chelsea on the night, but Ashley Cole was the pick of the bunch. Alongside David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Jose Bosingwa, the England man proved why he is considered the best left-back in the world with a series of crucial blocks and last-ditch challenges. "Now no-one can say anything to me," barked Cole at full-time.

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