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Throwback Thursday: The “Ghost Goal” That Ended Chelsea’s Dramatic 2005 Champions League Run

Luis García’s infamous “ghost goal” condemned Chelsea to Champions League heartbreak in 2005 and it was a memorable campaign for so many other reasons.

The Blues exit at the semifinal stage of Europe’s elite club competition left a bitter taste in the mouths of fans and players alike, after a run in the competition that promised so much with the final within touching distance.

Chelsea’s road to that ill-fated semifinal was a dramatic one with The Blues vanquishing Barcelona and Bayern to book a date with Liverpool.

Ronaldinho’s dancing feet

Ronaldinho’s iconic toe-poked goal that bemused Chelsea’s defenders and the watching world were a thing of beauty. This was a defensive unit that conceded the fewest ever goals in a Premier League season, made to look like amateurs in a schoolyard at that moment. It wouldn’t be enough to get Barcelona into the quarterfinals but it was enough to put smiles on faces around the planet.

Chelsea advanced 5-4 on aggregate to set up a quarterfinal date with Bayern Munich.

Chelsea edge past Bayern in the quarters

A 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge, the identical scoreline that the Blues produced at home against Barcelona before, gave them a commanding lead in the quarterfinal 1st leg. Despite a 3-2 second-leg loss, Chelsea would advance to an all-English Champions League semifinal against Liverpool.

The semifinal “Ghost Goal”

In stark contrast with the goal-filled contests in the two rounds that preceded it, the two-leg semifinal against Liverpool would be settled by a solitary goal scored over a span of 180 minutes of football. The “Ghost Goal” as dubbed by José Mourinho, was adjudged to have crossed the line but video replays suggested otherwise and Mourinho was left fuming at a controversial, contentious moment that dumped his team out of the Champions League. Luis García’s decisive strike sent Liverpool to the final in Istanbul against AC Milan and we all know how that ended.

Chelsea faces a reunion with Bayern Munich, the side that they beat more recently in the 2012 Champions League final, in this season’s round of 16. With the advent of VAR and goal-line technology, there’s unlikely to be a Ghost Goal moment, but thrills and spills are more or less guaranteed.

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