Didier Drogba gets most of the plaudits for Chelsea’s European triumph in Munich but Petr Cech was just as instrumental as the Ivorian.
Saturday, 19th of May, 2012, will forever be a golden day in Chelsea’s history. The Blues finally got their hands on the Champions League trophy four years on from their heartbreak in Moscow. Against all the odds, they managed to defeat the Bavarians on their own turf.
While Drogba usually gets the credit that his man-of-the-match performance that night deserves, Cech’s heroics are often overlooked.
Chelsea were on their way to another Champions League final defeat after they went behind to Thomas Muller’s 83rd-minute header. Five minutes later, they were back on level terms after Drogba headed in Juan Mata’s corner.
The game went to extra-time as it finished 1-1. Like in the semi-final, Drogba gave away a spot kick that could have sealed his side’s fate.
Up stepped Petr Cech who saved from ex-Chelsea man; Arjen Robben. That was the second time the sequence had occurred that night. Midway through the first half, Cech had deflected Robben’s goal-bound strike onto the upright.
Both sides’ failure to find a breakthrough meant that similarly to 2008, penalties would be needed to separate the finalists.
Philipp Lahm put Bayern ahead with Mata failing to convert for his side. Both teams scored their next two penalties apiece. The German champions were in control until Ivica Olic stepped up the take their penultimate spot-kick.
Cech came up with yet another decisive moment as he palmed the Croatian’s effort aside and left Ashley Cole with a chance to even the contest. The Englishman obliged and his side were back on level terms.
Bastian Schweinsteiger stepped up to take his side’s last spot-kick but he was denied by the Chelsea goalie who tipped his effort onto the post. Like in 2008, Chelsea found themselves one kick away from glory.
This time, it was Didier Drogba’s responsibility. The rest, they say, is history.
A lot of Chelsea fans may probably care less about who their biggest heroes in Munich were. But as Drogba continually gets plaudits, so too must Petr Cech.