Chelsea Cruise Past Atletico Into UCL Quarter-finals

Chelsea players celebrate Emerson Palmeri's goal against Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea players celebrate Emerson Palmeri's goal against Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea secured their place in the European Champions League quarter finals after a dominant show at the Bridge produced two goals to condemn Atletico Madrid to spectators rather than performers in the next round.

The Blues went a step further from their last season’s showing where they were eliminated at this stage by eventual winners, Bayern Munich in a one-sided show that saw the English side concede 7 goals whilst scoring just one.

The win keeps new manger Thomas Tuchel unbeaten start to life in England still perfect. Having overseen PSG’s first ever final appearance which ended in a defeat to Bayern Munich in Lisbon, he would fancy his team’s chances of going further and he hopefully claiming his first Champions league medal.

Tuchel’s men who held a one goal advantage from their 1 – 0 win at the Wanda Metropolitano three weeks ago were determined to take firm grip of their advantage and advance. However, it was Diego Someone’s side that threatened to draw first blood with Lodi forcing Mendy to make a save in the third minute of play.

Atletico’s pressure was not however to last long as Chelsea found their rhythm heading towards the first 10 minutes of play having won a corner in the 5th minute. Chelsea bossed as much as 76 percent of the ball with just under 15 minutes played.

A breakthough point soon arrived and it was the Blues who shot ahead in the 34th when Hakim Ziyech squeezed Timo Werner’s cross under Jan Oblak. That remained the only separating point between the two sides as they headed off for the break.

Hakim Ziyech celebrates his goal against Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge

Diego Simeone made a quick change before the restart of the second half, hauling off Renan Lodi who had a tough time handling Reece James down the right flank in the first half. Hermoso being his replacement as Atletico seek to limit Chelsea’s fast attack and claw their way back into the tie.

Moussa Dembele joined the action after 53 minutes, replacing Yannick Carrasco. Luis Suarez who had a quiet night then made way for Angel Correa after 59 minutes of play as Simeone’s side searched for a way back into the game. Thomas Lemar replaced Kieran Trippier with barely 20 minutes of regulation time to play.

Thomas Tuchel’s side still held control of the game leaving Atletico doing the race against time. Christian Pulisic replaced goal scorer, Ziyech for the final 13 minutes. Not long after, Kieran Trippier shot his side in the foot by getting sent off for elbowing Rudiger in the 81st minute.

Chelsea’s goal creator, Timo Werner soon made way for Callum Hodson-Odoi who made an instant impact by forcing Oblak to make a save. With two minutes of added time to play, Tuchel brought in Emerson Palmieri for Kai Harvetz and the Italian made the most of his cameo by putting the seal on the victory following a counter attack. Another substitute, Pulisic was at the end of the making of the goal by laying it for the Italian to score with just about a minute of added time to play.

It is a quarter-final for the Blues. Their first since 2013/14 when they exited in the semi-finals. Chelsea are next in action against Sheffield United in the FA Cup quarter finals on 21 March. Atletico meanwhile will turn their attention to defending their lead at the top of the la Liga table when they host Deportivo Alavés in league action on the same day.

By: Clifford Adumbire |


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