GREAT COMEBACKS

I didn’t get to watch Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain on television after deciding last year to cancel the cable TV service that carries Champions League matches exclusively in Singapore.

Britain Soccer Champions League

Fortunately, I did have a good alternative in being able to follow the match through the live audio broadcast on the club’s official website. Of course, I would have preferred to have watched the events unfolding with my own eyes but that would have meant missing out on a couple of things.

Firstly, the presence on the commentary team of Pat Nevin, who I have long considered to be one of the smartest and most erudite of men to have made a living from kicking around a football.

And secondly, the enjoyment of listening to the sound of the Stamford Bridge crowd in the background with the volume building up as the tension rose in the closing stages before exploding in a crescendo of joy when Demba Ba put the ball into the net three minutes from time.

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It is a moment that I’ve already watched several times on Chelsea TV and YouTube and will probably do so again and again for years to come, not merely for the strike itself but for the hilarious reaction of Cesar Azpilicueta, who dives in to celebrate several feet behind Ba and proceeds to do a head-banging act with the Stamford Bridge pitch.

Now as joyous as the moment was, you could hardly say that it was unexpected.

In the build-up to the game, much was said about the Champions League last 16 tie against Napoli two years ago when we recovered from a 3-1 deficit in Italy to win 4-1 after extra-time in SW6. The presence in the PSG squad on Tuesday of Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, who were part of the Napoli team beaten in 2012, only reinforced a feeling of déjà vu.

But the dramatic win against PSG cannot simply be regarded as a reprise of the spirit of 2012. Because the truth of the matter is that the resilience and fighting spirit that the team displayed in coming back from a two-goal deficit to win the tie is pretty much part of the DNA of Chelsea Football Club.

It was evident last year when the Blues, needing two second-half goals against Steaua Bucharest in the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League, after conceding to the Romanians just before the interval, did so thanks to skipper John Terry and Fernando Torres.

Or the memorable Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final against Vicenza in 1998 when we needed to score three goals in the final hour and did it with a strike by Gus Poyet, a header by the shortest player on the pitch, Gianfranco Zola, and a world-class finish by Mark Hughes.

You can even go as far back as 1971 when we trailed 2-0 to Bruges after the first leg of the Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-finals but tied up the match at the Bridge with goals by Peter Houseman and Peter Osgood in regulation time before Osgood added his second in extra-time and Tommy Baldwin also scored to complete a 4-2 aggregate triumph.

There is a common thread between those games in 1971, 1998 and 2013 and the Napoli match in 2012 when Chelsea needed to score at least two goals on each occasion to complete a comeback victory and did the necessary on four of the most memorable nights at Stamford Bridge.

The win against PSG can now be added to that narrative of resilience and fighting spirit and hopefully, as we did on the previous four occasions when we overcame big deficits at the Bridge to win those European ties, we can build on the momentum and go on to lift another European trophy at the end of the season.

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Please note : the views in many of our blogs are written by fans of Chelsea FC and are not necessarily the views of the club

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