Chelsea captain John Terry admitted his red card at Barcelona did not look good but insists he is "not that type of player".
Chelsea's hopes of reaching the Champions League final looked to be over when Barcelona scored through Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta either side of Terry's dismissal for an off-the-ball foul on Alexis Sanchez.
It could have been very different, though, and Terry accept he "let the lads down".
"Sanchez was darting in behind me," he told Sky Sports. "I've seen the replay and it does look bad.
"I'm not that type of player to intentionally hurt anyone. I've raised my knee, which I maybe shouldn't have done in hindsight, but hopefully people who know me as a person, as a player... I'm not that type of player.
"I'm disappointed but delighted for the lads. To come here and play the way they did and get the result they did with ten men... I feel I've let them down. I've apologised to them and I want to apologise to the fans as well.
"At the time, I was bewildered because I was trying to protect myself a little bit, but looking at it on the replay, I've no complaints. I've let the lads down. They've performed brilliantly, so hopefully this doesn't take it away from the players.
"This is what this football club deserves. We deserve to be in the Champions League final. The boys were excellent and I hope the incident doesn't take away from how hard they worked."
Caretaker boss Di Matteo refused to condemn Terry for leaving his team a man down.
''He's fantastic leader of this group. He's the captain of our club. Everybody can make a mistake in life. We're just so happy that this group has managed to go to the final.''
Asked if he was angry with his skipper, the Italian replied: ''No, I'm not. We're all human beings. We're under a lot of pressure as players.''
Barca peppered the visitors' goal throughout the semi-final second leg and deservedly took the lead through Sergio Busquets, who tapped home from close range.
Things got worse for the Blues less than two minutes later when Terry was sent off and Barca surged further ahead through Andres Iniesta, although Ramires clawed a goal back in first-half stoppage time with a deft chip.
Lionel Messi saw a penalty smash the bar shortly after the restart and later hit the post, but Chelsea somehow held out and Torres came off the bench to wrap up the aggregate victory late on.
''It's an incredible achievement by this group of players,'' Di Matteo said. ''A lot of people had written us off and we showed again what kind of character these players have.
''We didn't expect to play with 10 men and we knew it was going to be tough. It was even more difficult than we expected. They're a great team, with some fantastic players. We just showed what we're made of.''
UEFA's control and disciplinary body will decide the length of Terry's suspension on May 31.
European football's governing body have the power to extend the punishment, which would apply to next season's European Super Cup and possibly early Champions League or Europa League matches.
"The UEFA control and disciplinary body will decide on the suspension on 31 May 2012,'' read a UEFA statement.