Didier Drogba after scoring the penalty which drew Chelsea level in the Champions League final
By Demola Ojo
Chelsea completed a remarkable story this season as they clung on to beat Bayern Munich on penalties Saturday and win the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history.
Didier Drogba who had earlier cancelled out Thomas Muller’s headed opener for Bayern in the 83rd minute, with an 88th minute header of his own off a Juan Mata corner kick, scored the winning penalty after goalkeeper Petre Cech saved the previous penalty from Bastian Schweinsteiger.
In a match where the collective resolve of the Chelsea players helped them stay toe-to-toe with Bayern – who were playing on their home turf - despite being practically outplayed for much of the 120 minutes, Drogba’s contribution to Chelsea’s cause was probably just eclipsed by Petre Cech who saved three penalties in all, including an extra-time effort from Arjen Robben.
Chelsea’s victory will go a long way in erasing the memory of four years ago, when they lost the final by penalty kicks in Moscow, the homestead of club owner and Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich.
The win also completed an astounding turnaround to a season in which they were left for dead after plunging to new depths, culminating in the sack of previous coach, Andre Villas Boas mid-season.
Roberto Di Matteo, Villas Boas assistant, took over the reigns, steadied the ship and against all odds, guided Chelsea to a double cup win, the FA Cup and the Champions League trophy.
Chelsea’s previous failings this season, which ensured they finished sixth in the Premier League, meant their participation in next year’s competition rode on Saturday’s match and they duly obliged by winning 4-3 on penalties, despite Juan Mata losing their first kick.