Despite the narrow score line in this Champions League Round of 16 fixture, Chelsea comfortably defeated Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid by 1 goal to nil thanks to a superb bicycle kick by Olivier Giroud.
Not the most exciting Champions League match
Although this Champions League fixture was never expected to be flooded with goals due to the defensive prowess of both managers, it was a fairly uneventful game. Chelsea had the best chance of the first half in the 38th minute. After Mason Mount found him on the left side of the box, Timo Werner turned beautifully past the Atlético defender, creating enough space for him to fire a shot at Atlético keeper Jan Oblak. However, the Slovenian keeper was able to save it at his near-post.
The game finally sprung into life in the 68th minute thanks to a wonderful Oliver Giroud bicycle kick. After Marcos Alonso crossed the ball in from the left wing, Mount manages to somewhat control it before it’s flicked backwards towards goal by Atlético defender Mario Hermoso.
Whilst the ball floats in the air, Giroud quickly reacts by overhead kicking it into the bottom left corner past an outstretched Oblak. The goal was originally given as offside as the linesman thought Mount flicked it to Giroud, but after a 3 minute VAR check, the decision was overturned and Chelsea were awarded the goal.
Werner did have another opportunity to score in the 83rd minute after being played through by Hakim Ziyech, but once again, his tight-angled shot aimed for the near post is saved by Oblak, who pushed it wide for a corner.
2 – Thomas Tuchel has conceded just two goals in eight games as Chelsea manager; in the club's history, the only coach to concede fewer goals after eight games in charge is José Mourinho (one). Masterclass. pic.twitter.com/fkvHRIwEfT
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 23, 2021
Simeone will be disappointed with his Atlético side for failing to even threaten the Chelsea goal, not managing a shot on target the entire game. Meanwhile, whilst the second leg is all to play for still, Chelsea will be confident going into it due to the manner in which they won tonight – including dominating the possession with 63% and keeping Atlético talisman Luis Suárez quiet throughout the night.
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Atletico Madrid have only lost two of their 11 home games against English clubs in Europe.
They were both against Chelsea. pic.twitter.com/UDaI9tHVqe
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 23, 2021