Referee Tom Henning Ovrebo confesses to making errors in the controversial semi-final game nearly nine years ago between Chelsea and Barcelona at Stamford Bridge, just as the Blues prepare to host the Catalan side in tonight’s highly-anticipated match, per online sportsbook news. But unlike last time, this game takes place much sooner as the two clubs will square off in the round of the 16 of the Champions League.
Ovrebo’s “several errors” cost Chelsea dearly
“It was not my best day really,” the now retired 41-year-old admitted.“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.”
“There were handball situations,” said the Norwegian, who failed to act on 3-4 clear handball situations during that infamous match. “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 decision I made at the time.”
Immediately after Ovrebo blew the final whistle, he was swamped by a number of Chelsea players who openly expressed their anger and frustration at his poor decision that ended up costing them a spot in that year’s final – it would have been a repeat of the 2008 Champions League final when they faced and lost to Manchester United.
Perhaps the most memorable moment came when Chelsea’s striker and now legend Didier Drogba fiercely confronted Ovrebo – for which he received a yellow card after the match had officially ended – and then went on to follow him to the tunnel where he lashed out at the referee only to stop and turn his head; facing the camera that transmitted to a global audience, he shouted, “Hey! It’s a disgrace, it’s a disgrace! It’s a f***ing disgrace!”
Subsequently, Drogba, along with some other heavily disgruntled Chelsea players, received a ban from UEFA the following season for their (understandable) behaviour after the infamous match had ended. The Blues would have to wait another three seasons until they would lift their first-ever and to date only Champions League trophy, after defeating Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the 2012 final.
Heading into the first leg of the round of 16 tonight, the Blues have been deemed underdogs for the encounter against the Catalans, due to their recent dip in form that has seen them drop points in the Premier League. At the moment, they’re in 4th position on the table, while their upcoming counterparts are virtually within the grasp of claiming the Spanish championship.
But we’re sure Stamford Bridge will create an intimidating atmosphere for the Bluagrana boys, as they’re still bitterly remember for that night in early May of 2009 that deprived them of a rematch with domestic rivals Man United. Online sportsbooks in UK are giving Chelsea odds of 27/10 (3.70), however we wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss Antonio Conte’s men, still taking into account the talented squad they have and the home ground serving as the biggest fear factor.
Barcelona on the other hand are 2nd favourites to win the Champions League outright this season (right behind Man City), so it’s worth taking note of that as well. Their odds against Chelsea tonight are 8/7 (2.14), but in all fairness and respect to their highly-skilled squad, we don’t see this encounter ending with a victory for Ernesto Valverde’s side, at least not in first leg. So the safest bet would be a draw 12/5 (3.39) between the two.
(Check out Bet365 Sportsbook review for more info about the online betting site.)