Chelsea 1 - Atletico Madrid 3: An away goal is crucial in the knockout stages of the CL
When this Semi-final draw was decided, I had a sinking feeling that Chelsea had got the toughest draw. I'd have preferred either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich
Hear Tim Palmer:
"Atletico are an incredibly well-organised, supremely balanced side with no obvious weaknesses. They do not have the best players out of the four semifinalists, and they are not the best side, but their execution of the system and the understanding between players is superior to any other team in Europe. Chelsea are facing an enormous challenge!"
Outstanding from back to front, blending attacking verve while keeping a good shape and sweeping up balls in midfield.
( Check out the link for the full analysis of this awesome team)
Then the first leg happened and Chelsea pulled a 0-0 draw and there was hope. However while it wasn't the worse result in the world, you just fancied Atletico scoring an away goal, they are that good. They managed three!!....coming from one goal down too! Now, that takes Balls!!
Chelsea starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Mark Schwarzer | Ashley Cole, John Terry, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic | David Luiz, Ramires | Eden Hazard, Willian, César Azpilicueta | Fernando Torres
Substitutes from: Hilário, Tomas Kalas, Oscar, Marco van Ginkel, Andre Schurrle, Demba Ba, Samuel Eto'o
Atlético Madrid starting lineup (4-2-3-1):
Thibaut Courtois | Filipe Luís, Diego Godín, Joao Miranda, Juanfran | Tiago, Mario Suárez | Arda Turan, Koke, Adrián López | Diego Costa
Substitutes from: Dani Aranzubia, Toby Alderweireld, Raul Garcia, Cristian Rodriguez, Jose Sosa, Diego, David Villa
Chelsea slightly shaded the first 35 mins of this one- the first half was another game of attrition and few chances where both teams seem to cancel each other out
( though Schwarzer was beaten very early on by the outstanding Koke's effort (4') due to the Chelsea defence switching off. Chelsea were saved by the cross bar )
In the 36', due to sloppy defending from Atletico, Willian squirms out of the corner far too easily and passes to Azpilicueta. The defender cuts it back to Torres who shoots low. It takes a clip off Miranda on its way past Courtois. 1-0 Chelsea
Torres refused to celebrate, out of respect for the team he used to play for.
It's going according to the game plan
But then it all went downhill thereafter!
44'-A cross from the left looked as though it was sailing out. But Juanfran just about managed to get there ( not tracked by Hazard) Cole out of position too. The Atletico defender knocked it back across goal. It evaded everyone, and although Adrian's shot wasn't the cleanest but it was knocked into the ground, bouncing over into Schwarzer's goal . 1-1! Atletico were now in the driving seat with their crucial away goal at the end of the first half. You just wondered how this might have panned out without conceding at that crucial time.
Atletico came into the second half stronger and had the better possession in the early parts
46' - Schwarzer ( who stood tall) had to make a great safe from an Arda Turan effort at close range
Chelsea soon shook off the lethargy and got back into the game
53' - An enterprising burst from Ramires ends when Turan barges him over. The free-kick comes in, and Terry soars above everyone, and gets great contact of the ball. Courtois stops it magnificently , and Juanfran cleans up afterwards.
54' - Eto'o replaces Ashley Cole - as Mourinho shows that he is looking for another goal- which would put Chelsea in the driver's seat again.
61'-.Costa controlled a high ball beautifully, Eto'o stuck a foot in, and Costa did very well indeed to shield the ball and go over.It was a massive error by Eto'o, who immediately knew what he'd done
After a lot of drama with Costa not happy with the positioning of the ball on the penalty spot ( he got a yellow card for his effort), he calmly slams the ball into the roof of the net, Schwarzer went the wrong way, and Atletico have a foot in the final! 2-1!!
You just knew it was game, set and match then. This Atletico side hardly concede a goal in a match, not to talk of 2
64'- A free-kick was flicked on by Luiz- it hit the post, Courtois tried to grab it and only managed to fumble it over his own crossbar.
When it's your day, those ones will go in.
67' -Ba replaces Torres
71' - Hazard doesn't track the run of Juanfran, who crosses first-time from the right. The first header from Filipe Luis cracks against the crossbar, but the ball comes back to Arda Turan, who knocks the ball past a sprawling Schwarzer. Goal! 3-1!!
Chelsea now need three goals It ain't gonna happen
76' -Sose replaces Costa, Schurrle replaces Willian
82' - Cristian Rodriguez on for the impressive Arda Turan
93'- Courtois still managed to prevent Hazard from getting a goal with his long legs
Game over- Chelsea has been stopped again at the semi-final stage of the CL
Chelsea were beaten by a better team
Atletico has to be the best team in the world right now. Like Tim Palmer said: they have no weaknesses. I believe him and that's scary!
Simeone said: "I would like to congratulate the mothers of these players because they have big cojones." Go figure out what cojones means
Hazard was supposed to be scoring goals at the other end. Instead, by losing his marker twice, he allowed Chelsea to concede two very sloppy goals. He had a poor game ( somewhere at the Camp Nou, the flair players of Barca are smiling knowingly )
Atletico also exploit Ashley Cole's lack of positional discipline on the left to a great effect
Eto'o was limping before the end of the match. He's shown features of a man close to his 40s rather than his early 30s today
Mourinho will be aggrieved by the way Chelsea abandoned the qualities that have made them such difficult opponents to beat.
Conceding that equaliser in the careless manner that a usually very solid Chelsea backline did must really rankle. It was the turning point in the tie
It forced Mourinho into making the early change he did. Of course he didn't know that Eto'o was going to contribute to a goal at the wrong end
Thereafter it was an uphill task. Atletico simply ran away with the game
This shouldn't take anything away from the very resilient and good Atletico side (They are just 2 games away from breaking the duopoly in La Liga)
Courtois is ready to take over from Cech. His saves made a difference yesterday. The irony!
You simply 'tow the bus parked away' rather than moaning about your inability to score because you just simply lack enough qualities on the day. Brendan Rodgers et al: please take note
What has happened in the last 3 seasons in Europe simply confirms that the Premiership is overrated in my opinion. ( all German final last year, all Spanish final this year. I doubt if anyone can beat their chests that it'll be an all English final next year)
Real Madrid have their work cut out if La Decima is going to be a reality. My money is on Simeone's men
There is work to be done on this Chelsea team in the summer