A.J. Herrmann

Demba Ba Helps Chelsea Advance to Champions League Semifinals in Incredible Nail-Biter

Created on Apr. 08, 2014 6:00 PM EST

"It's pure theater here at Stamford Bridge!" the announcer proclaimed in the closing minutes of Chelsea's 2-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain this afternoon.

In an incredible display of perseverance and persistence, the Chelsea Blues kicked, tackled and scrapped their way to an improbable semifinal appearance in the Champions League, eliminating PSG, who have lost just one of their last 17 Champions League matches. The aggregate score was tied at 3 apiece, but Chelsea's away goal in the previous match gave them the edge, and ended PSG's world championship aspirations in one heartbreaking instant.

It was two substitutes who found the back of the net for the Blues, Andre Schurrle and Demba Ba, with the deciding go-ahead goal coming in the 86th minute.

After a 3-1 trouncing at the Parc des Princes a week ago, Chelsea faced an uphill task to survive to the next round.

PSG began the game shorthanded, with their Swedish superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic sidelined with a hamstring injury which he sustained in the previous game against Chelsea. But the tables were turned back in the Parisiens' favor, when Eden Hazard, Chelsea's talented spark plug and go-to playmaker left with an injury in just the 17th minute. Schurrle came on for the Belgian, and helped kick start Chelsea's offensive attack with a goal in the 31st minute.

The fans at Stamford Bridge were on knife's edge throughout, knowing the tall task that lay ahead of them. But apart from a few dangerous threats from Cavani, Chelsea were in the driver's seat the whole way, hitting the crossbar multiple times, and forcing PSG keeper Salvatore Sirigu into more than a few uncomfortable saves over the course of the match.

The second half of this game was pure drama, but Petr Cech, the longtime stalwart in net for the Blues made some crucial saves to seal the deal.

In classic fashion, Jose Mourinho sprinted to the corner where his squad celebrated Ba's go-ahead strike, and he probably hasn't stopped running celebratory laps around Stamford Bridge with arms outstretched.

Across the continent in Dortmund, Germany, Borussia forward Marco Reus' two goals were not enough to launch his team past Real Madrid, who will join Chelsea in the final four of the Champions League competition.

It's matches like this that make this beautiful game as thrilling as any sport on earth. Chelsea fans will sleep soundly and with a smile on their face tonight. Perhaps after a good old fashioned riot or two.

Check out the Blues' thrilling goals from Chelsea's heroic win in the video below.
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