Barcelona failed to qualify for the Champions League final after drawing 2-2 at home to Chelsea in the return leg of the semifinals, losing 2-3 in aggregate in what can only be described as a 'footballing miracle'.
The match was as expected, with Chelsea defending with all their might and Barcelona facing a ping-pong wall, unable to find a space through a heavily populated defence.
John Terry's stupid sending off gave Barcelona a one-man advantage but, as it happened in the away leg or El Clasico against Real Madrid, Guardiola's men failed to turn their superiority into goals - which is what makes you win matches in football.
Lionel Messi missed a penalty. Barcelona hit the post 4 times over 180 minutes. You could argue that, had a tiny bit of luck been on our side, we would have qualified for the Champions League final tonight. As Fernando Torres explained after the match: 'The best side doesn't always win'
But it wasn't to be.
Chelsea defended as if their lives depended on it, with every player giving their all and fighting every single loose ball in the process. Despite playing with ten men for over 60 minutes, The Blues never gave up and achieved the victory which they had been wishing for since Andres Iniesta knocked them out of this very same competition back in 2009.
Don't get me wrong, of course I am disappointed that Barcelona threw away the whole year's work in just ten days. Guardiola's men hadn't lost 3 consecutive matches since February 2003 and, unfortunately, our worst run came in the worst moment.
Being critical, it's clear Barcelona struggled by not being able to break Chelsea's defensive line over the 180 minutes of the semifinals. We lacked game pace, the ball didn't flow as quick as it should have, our moves were predictable.
Barcelona achieved a massive 73% possession, 46 shots, 18 corners and still lost.
The truth is Chelsea got a result which takes them through to the final after Barcelona were unable to score against ten men - On a personal note, I still disagree with their type of football but I guess Chelsea fans would argue that is pretty irrelevant considering the final result.
Barcelona have lost La Liga and the Champions League in just three matches. Definitely not the reality we wanted, but the truth is nothing we do or say is going to change it now.
Time to move on then.
Being positive, I am proud of our 2011/12 season: Barcelona have won the Club World Cup, European Supercup and Spanish Supercup, qualified for the Copa del Rey final and challenged for La Liga until the end against a pretty strong Real Madrid.
Despite last night's aggregate defeat to Chelsea, the fact we have managed to play five consecutive Champions League semifinals shows our team is firmly within the European football elite, winning the trophy three times in the last seven years.
I'd also like to highlight Lionel Messi can have as many not-so-brilliant matches as he wants. As the best player and top goalscorer in Barcelona history, La Pulga has nothing to be sorry for. He has already given our club too much and, for us to demand more from him would be greedy. The three times Ballon d'Or winner has scored 63 goals for us this season and 243 since he debuted at just 17 years of age - Yes, I know Leo missed a penalty, no big deal.
All the Barcelona media attention is now focused on Pep Guardiola's contract renewal, and rightly so. Since he took over back from Rijkaard back in 2008, The Catalan Master has taken our side into a new level in terms of sporting excellence and, perhaps most importantly, social agreement and harmony within our Catalan fan base - I hope he stays and continues to make Blaugrana history.
Losing when you are used to winning is tough, but definitely also a learning point Barcelona can use as a springboard for better things to come in the future.
What did you think of this article?
How do you feel about Barcelona's performance?
Is there anything Guardiola needs to succeed next season?
Did I miss out on any important points you would like to share with us?
I welcome and appreciate all respectful feedback.
Posted by: Francesc Tomàs
Founder and Columnist at www.barcablog.com and ESPN correspondent.
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