Our bid to secure the UEFA Super Cup was thwarted in the cruellest of circumstances in Prague as Romelu Lukaku missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out, leaving Bayern Munich to run out 5-4 winners after the game had ended 2-2.
Leading 2-1 going into the final minute of extra-time, the Blues appeared to be heading towards a well-earned victory, having played the additional 30 minutes a man down after Ramires was dismissed for a second bookable offence six minutes from the end of normal time.
Javier Martinez, however, pounced on a loose ball inside the Chelsea penalty area to fire home an equaliser with the last kick of the match, ensuring the game, much like the last contest between the two sides, would be decided by penalties.
It was a thrilling encounter, with outstanding individual performances all over the pitch, none more so than Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal, who made a string of stunning saves.
Jose Mourinho’s side had raced into an early lead when Fernando Torres finished brilliantly following good build-up play between Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle, but Bayern levelled two minutes into the second half through Franck Ribery.
When Ramires saw red late in the game we faced an uphill task, but a spirited, dogged display saw us take the lead again courtesy of a wonderful Hazard strike. With the trophy seemingly in our grasp, however, we suffered a late sucker punch.
The performance itself, though, coming against the European champions, will have left Mourinho feeling very proud, but as he reflected on an eventful night, he couldn’t hide his frustration at the outcome…
‘I’m disappointed because in my opinion, and I can have an opinion, I don’t think I will be punished for having an opinion, the best team lost,’ said the Portuguese. ‘That’s football and sometimes that happens in football, sometimes the best team loses and it’s acceptable because its football.
‘When Hazard scored there were still 27 minutes to play, and 27 minutes after 90, playing with 10 men, is an eternity. It’s very difficult to play with 10, so when he scored I just wanted us to keep going. I never thought the situation was over, when Martinez scored the goal I felt it was undeserved but that’s football, no problem.’
On the sending off of Ramires
‘Football is 11 against 11,’ he explained. ‘Eleven against 10 is easier for the team with 11 and more difficult for the team with 10. I have a fantastic experience of playing with 10 men in UEFA matches so I could react and coach my players so that even with 10 men we could compete and find a way to score a goal. At the end of the game with everybody very tired they gave everything, and my experience of playing with 10 men gave us a hand.
‘We feel, the people who live in football and earn a life in football, we always feel a very important rule, which is the passion for football, and if you are in love with football you don’t kill a final with a second yellow card.
‘There were many yellow cards in the game the referee didn’t give. There was one situation in front of me with Dante, it was his first yellow and it wasn’t given. In pure terms, rule by rule, it was a second yellow card, but every action of the game is never done this way.
‘It is what it is and it’s nothing new for me. I was at Chelsea and I played two or three times against Barcelona with 10 men. I went to Inter and played a Champions League semi-final for one hour with 10 men against Barcelona. I played at Madrid against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final with 10 men and I came back to Chelsea and play a Super Cup final with 10 men again. Go to analyse the actions and make your conclusions, I’m unlucky, I just am.’
Mourinho’s opposite number, Pep Guardiola, paid tribute to the performance of Petr Cech.
‘His performance spoke for itself, the same for Manuel Neuer,’ said the Bayern manager. ‘Both goalkeepers were exceptional. In the last minutes Cech made two or three unbelievable saves and we were lucky at the end when Martinez scored.’