On April 24, 2012, Fernando Torres sent Chelsea to the Champions League final after scoring a late goal against Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Over the years, many fans have questioned whether the Spaniard was offside in the build-up to the goal. So, was he?
No, Fernando Torres was not offside against Barcelona. Although the Chelsea striker received possession inside Barcelona’s half, he was still inside his own half when the ball was played forward.
Torres’ goal made the score 2-2 on the night and 3-2 to Chelsea on aggregate. A month later, the Roberto Di Matteo-led Blues beat Bayern Munich to win the Champions League for the first time.
Why was Fernando Torres not offside against Barcelona?
Fans often scrutinise offside rules, especially since the introduction of Video Assistant Referees (VAR). On this occasion, there is no debating the fact that referee Cuneyt Caki made the right call.
Offside only becomes a factor when the infringing player is inside the opposing team’s half when the ball is played forward. As Torres was still in Chelsea’s half when the ball was struck in his direction, the goal was allowed to stand.
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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) Laws of the Game state the following: “A player is in an offside position if: any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half (excluding the halfway line) and any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent.” Further details on the offside laws can be found here on the FA’s website.
Who gave Fernando Torres the assist against Barcelona?
The passage of play came about in the closing stages of the match when Barcelona were in desperate search of a goal. Chelsea sat deep inside their own half, with only Torres left forward.
Ashley Cole assisted Torres’ goal by launching the ball up the pitch after Jose Bosingwa made a block inside the Chelsea penalty area. Torres then sprinted from the halfway line before coolly rounding Victor Valdes to slot the ball into an empty net.
El Nino had received criticism throughout the 2011-12 season up until that point. After joining Chelsea from Liverpool for £50 million in January 2011, he scored just one goal in 18 games for the Blues in 2010-11. Including the goal against Barcelona, he only netted 11 times in 49 appearances in 2011-12.
Barcelona v Chelsea starting line-ups
John Terry’s 37th-minute red card made Chelsea’s aggregate win over Barcelona even more remarkable. The game looked to be over when Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta put Barca 2-0 up on the night, but Ramires’ goal and Torres’ late strike were enough to secure a famous result for Chelsea.
Barcelona XI: Valdes, Puyol, Pique, Mascherano, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Cuenca, Messi, Sanchez, Fabregas. Subs used: Alves, Tello, Keita. Chelsea XI: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Mikel, Meireles, Mata, Lampard, Ramires, Drogba. Subs used: Bosingwa, Kalou, Torres.
Many viewed Barcelona as the best team in the world at the time, with Lionel Messi, Xavi and Iniesta all in their prime. Chelsea still had some star names, but their ageing squad were not at the same level as previous seasons.