Fernando Torres is the man of the hour. With his late goal to tie the game against Barcelona, El Niño found redemption in his worst season ever.
The Spanish forward came up for Didier Drogba in the 80th, when the score favored Barcelona 2-1, which barely put the Blues on the final match.
Torres needed 12 minutes on the pitch to give Chelsea peace of mind and extend the advantage over Blaugranas Champions League.
Chelsea stood strong on the back, and the team had to park the bus after John Terry was sent away for giving Alexis Sánchez a knee in the back. It was the most embarrassing action of the game.
Barça had an impressive 76 percent ball possession, but the tiki taka wasn't enough and The Blues took a lot of heat from the offensive line, but managed to come forward and defeat a team that rarely ever loses at the Camp Nou. Now they’ll wait for Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.
Since his arrival to Chelsea, Torres has been heavily criticized for his inconsistency and lack of goals. Prior to today’s match, he had scored eight times in 52 matches, including all competitions.
He also went through two droughts, the first one lasting 10 days, and the second one 26. This forced former boss Andre Villas-Boas to put him to the bench and he even became a regular unused substitute.
Torres’ loss of focus and continuity pushed Spain’s boss Vicente del Bosque to drop him from the squad that faced Venezuela in a friendly match last February.
It was a tough blow for El Niño; he hadn't been off the first team for five years, with which he lifted the 2008 European Championship and the 2010 World Cup trophies.
For Vicente del Bosque, it was clear that he needed to turn things around if he wanted to make it to the 2012 Euro squad.
It was a wake-up call for Torres, who scored for the first time after almost 25 hours on the pitch, and he did it just three weeks away from being ditched from La Roja.
The £50 million forward earned Roberto Di Matteo’s trust. All of a sudden, the embarrassing moments—last season, against Manchester United he dribbled David de Gea but couldn't seal the deal—started to vanish slowly.
Scoring twice in front of Leicester City at the FA Cup quarterfinals was a start, but not a real test; Fernando needed to prove himself against a team with more hierarchy.
He kept the good work in the Premier League as he scored against Aston Villa, a match where he seemed more fit and faster than he had been previously.
Today he stood up and didn't let down Di Matteo. Fernando had the perfect opportunity to find revenge not only for his team—that was eliminated by Barça in the 2008-2009 edition of the Champions League—but for himself.
In 12 minutes, he took away a lot of pressure.
This goal can well be as important as the one he scored against Germany in the 2008 Euro that gave Spain the title. Today’s achievement is big for the team, but for him it means getting back on track.