LUCKY TERRY SEES CHELSEA MAKE FINAL
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 inexplicably 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 and smacked of man trying desperately looking for an excuse.
He will, of course, miss the final in Munich 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 wave after wave of 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.
That seemed unthinkable with reports of dressing room unrest, verging on revolt by a group of experienced players, but somehow interim boss Roberto Di Matteo has galvanised the squad.
They now resemble the kind of team Jose Mourinho - the manager who elevated Chelsea into a force at home and now abroad - would have constructed.
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.
Owner Roman Abramovich is a hard task master but if the Italian can bring the European Cup to Stamford Bridge he may find himself in the Russian's favour forever.
Abramovich may have spent an estimated £800million of his own fortune on making Chelsea an undoubted domestic force but nothing rankles him more than his unfulfilled ambition of winning the Champions League.
The Russian has invested heavily on players - and managers - chasing his own personal Holy Grail of the Champions League.
But like the fabled artefact itself, European club football's premier prize has remained tantalisingly out of touch, with 2008 the closest they came.
Seven managers have been dispensed with in nine years in the fruitless pursuit of the ultimate prize most coveted trophy in continental football.
It may be the man in position more by accident than design who ends the agony for Abramovich.
Terry, for one, will be hoping his actions in the Nou Camp do not prevent that.
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