It's 10 years since Didier Drogba's meltdown after Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona

  • Rob Swan

In terms of pure drama, Chelsea’s 1-1 home draw against Barcelona towards the end of the 2008/09 season is near the top of the list when it comes to Champions League matches.

The semi-final second leg had absolutely everything: great goals, yellow cards, red cards, players chasing the referee, and even a post-game meltdown from a star name.

Didier Drogba was apoplectic with rage after the full-time whistle, furious with Tom Henning Ovrebo after the Norwegian referee had turned down four Chelsea penalty shouts.

In one of the most infamous refereeing displays of recent times, Ovrebo infuriated everyone associated with Chelsea – the players, coaching staff and fans alike – with his decision-making on the night.

Andres Iniesta’s dramatic last-minute goal sent Barcelona through to the 2009 Champions League final instead and Chelsea felt they were the victims of a gross miscarriage of justice.

It all started so well for the Blues, who took the lead in the ninth minute through a goal that is criminally underrated.

Michael Essien’s left-footed volley was extraordinary and would have been remembered as one of *the* great Champions League goals had Chelsea advanced to the final.

Ovrebo then took centre stage by turning down penalty appeal after penalty appeal.

However, there was only one player sent off on the night and that was Barcelona’s Eric Abidal.

Drogba was subbed off with an injury with 20 minutes left to play and watched on as Iniesta broke Chelsea hearts with his famous equalising goal.

The anger towards Ovrebo from Chelsea players and fans that night was intense.

Drogba screamed down one Sky Sports camera: “Are you watching this? It’s a disgrace! It’s a disgrace! It’s a f*****g disgrace!”

Watch it here… (Click play on the black box)

He was later handed a six-game European ban – the last two of which were suspended for two years – for his behaviour after the match.

Jose Bosingwa was handed a five-game ban, one of which was suspended, for labelling Ovrebo a “thief” in the aftermath of the game.

Chelsea were also fined £85,000 for failing to control their players.

“It was not my best day really,” Ovrebo, whose career was affected by this performance, admitted in a 2018 interview with Marca. “Some days you are not at the level you should be. I can’t be proud of that performance.

“There were several errors and everyone will have their opinion of those plays.”

He added: “They were handball situations. I judge them on the pitch and I think it is interesting to know what I think of those actions once judged, although I understand that people think different to the decisions I made at the time.”

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