Chelsea 1 Atletico Madrid 3 (agg. 1-3): Match report, Player ratings
Chelsea’s infamous parked bus suffered a car crash tonight. Just like Pep Guardiola and Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, Jose Mourinho and Chelsea stuck to their gusto and familiar tactics and, just like Bayern, saw their setup crumble before them.
When Fernando Torres scored midway through the first half, Chelsea were expected to remain tight at the back and not concede. However, three goals from Adrian Lopez, Diego Costa and Arda Turan put that plan to bed.
Diego Simone did not pause for breath throughout the entire 90 minutes. He was constantly moving around the technical area, barking orders at his players who responded with hard work and great resilience. When Turan slotted in the third, Simone set off down the touchline in a Mourinho-esque celebration. It was at that moment, he knew his team would be there in Lisbon on May 24th for the Champions League final against Real Madrid. It won’t just be a final. It is a derby.
Koke was brilliant in midfield, as was Turan. Juanfran was excellent going forward and tracking back. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, on loan from Chelsea, also put in a stellar performance.
As for Chelsea, Mourinho looked utterly deflated at the final whistle, shaking hands with the opposite manager. John Terry was emotional, being consoled by both sets of players. He and Gary Cahill have had a magnificent season. Tonight was just too much of a test.
For much of the first half, the two sides were even. Both were defending well and trying to create chances. Koke whipped in a ball that sailed over Mark Schwarzer’s head and struck the bar early on. A long throw into the box from Branislav Ivanovic found David Luiz, who was not afraid to try an audacious overhead kick. His shot was only just wide. Koke was always a threat from set pieces. Terry was forced to make a superb header away from his free kick.
It was Chelsea who struck first. Willian was forced into the corner but managed to squeeze the ball through two defenders. Azpilicueta, playing as a right midfielder, picked up the ball and his first time drilled pass into the centre of the box found Torres. His shot deflected off Miranda and into the left corner. He did not celebrate, merely holding his hands up in apologetic fashion. The love for his former club is still there.
Chelsea’s defence had been terrific in Madrid, but one defensive lapse saw their lead slip right before half time. Tiago floated the ball towards the back post. Eden Hazard failed to track the run of right-back Juanfran, who redirected the ball across the goal. Both Terry and Ashley Cole missed it, which left an easy finish for Adrian.
Atletico had finally found their vigour and energy as they emerged for the second half. Chelsea found their back four under increased pressure. Terry missed a Costa cross. Schwarzer was forced to save onto the bar from Turan.
Chelsea had their own spell. Courtois made a special low save from Terry’s header. Moment’s later Luiz’s header hit the post.
On came Samuel Eto’o, replacing Cole, forcing Azpilicueta into his left-back position. Eto’o did more harm than good. Within five minutes, the striker carelessly brought down Costa in the box. The ref pointed to the spot.
Costa played around with the pitch for a while as he attempted to set himself up correctly. Bored Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli booked him. Costa responded by smashing the penalty into the roof of the net. Schwarzer had no chance.
Chelsea would not relent, desperately hunting to find a foothold in the game and a goal. A killer blow was dealt in the 72nd minute. Juanfran crossed from the right and found Turan, whose header rattled the bar from Schwarzer’s save. He found the rebound and slotted it into the net. Atletico were jubilant, Chelsea were crestfallen.
Eden Hazard had a poor game and despite his attempts to score late on, his Belgian teammate Thibaut Courtois would not be beaten. Atletico Madrid had sucked the life out of Chelsea.
My Player Ratings…
Schwarzer 6, Ivanovic 5, Cahill 6, Terry 7, Cole 6, Ramires 7, Luiz 6, Azpilicueta 6, Willian 7, Hazard 5, Torres 6 (subs: Eto’o 4, Ba 5, Schurrle 5)
Courtois 7, Juanfran 8, Miranda 7, Godin 7, Felipe 6, Koke 7, Suarez 6, Turan 7, Tiago 7, Adrian 7, Costa 6 (subs: Garcia 5, Sosa 5)
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