Game scene: There was concern in the stands when, at the 68 minute mark, Olivier Giroud’s shot went over the bar. But only briefly. The Chelsea striker was so far ahead that few were surprised by the wizard’s flag raised. And again the hit counted. How is that possible? To explain this, a few more lines are needed, you can find them in the section »Raised«.
Game result: The first round of the round of 16 against Atlético Madrid ended not 0: 0, which seemed like a long time, but 1: 0 for Chelsea thanks to a great goal by Giroud.
First half: She showed that Diego could defend Simeone’s loyalty if asked to do so. Chelsea, with far more possessions, searched in vain for ways through a massive defensive formation. Atlético looked more mature, smarter, pretty sleek. As a result of the high pressure, Luis Suárez launched two best chances. Once Thomas Lemar threw a cross from the Uruguayans next to the far post, and once it was Suárez himself after one or two who didn’t hit the ball properly. Had spectators been allowed, Atlético fans would have said on the way to the sausage, “It was still there.”
Safety first: The main problem with the blues was the lack of tempo; Chelsea’s counterattacks were so rare that Thomas Tuchel gave a clear path: Security first. Other. And third.
Second half: He had to play, at least just to see if there were any new targets from Tuchel or if the offensive attack would continue. If not, it is an abbreviated answer. Chelsea was a more active team, changing sides of the game again, but there were still no opportunities, Diego Simeone’s relentless 5-3-2 system worked for a long time. Until the 68th minute.
Raised: Giroud has scored every 28 minutes this season of the Champions League. Thus, the Frenchman needed more than twice as much time against Atlético. Chelsea’s speed came over the left side, the ball went sharply into the center. Atlétic defender Mario Hermoso intervened and, with an unsuccessful rescue operation, provided a template for the Giroud Air Show. Then the flag, the whistle, the long wait. Because it took Marc Fritz, the video judge, a long time to explore the scene from several perspectives and, to the displeasure of Simeone and Co., he came to a difficult but correct decision: Conscious defensive action by Hermos, the goal counts.
Game location: The capital of Romania welcomed the leaders of the league from Spain (five hours of flight), who had domestic rights, and the fifth-placed from the island (six hours of flight). Madrid vs. London in Bucharest – sounds so weird these days in European professional football. Simeone never lost a (real) home game against Atlético in the knockout phase of the royal class. Interestingly, the last team to beat Atléti as a guest was Chelsea. Then, however, in the group stage.
Weeks of Truth: Chelsea remain in the top game against Manchester United and Liverpool. The Atlético manager is waiting for a performance in the sixth Villarreal and a derby against Real. Both teams face perhaps decisive matches – not just in a direct duel to stay in the Champions League. The rematch will be held on March 17. Then the Madrilens have to mess around with their style of play. They didn’t have a single shot on goal on Tuesday.