Chelsea took off to brilliant start in their Champions League knockout campaign as they secured victory away to take into the second leg after Olivier Giroud’s 68th minute acrobatic effort.
The Atletico Madrid – Chelsea matchup was already seen as a heavy weight by many. Chelsea got of to a shaky start at the National Arena in Bucharest, Romania but for sheer luck would have placed a mountain before themselves to climb after Edourd Mendy near howler in the second minute which had Saul almost pouncing on for the opener in under 2 minutes. Alonso did clear the danger away after the deflection took it away from the preying Saul.
That was not the first taste of bad start for the Blues as Mount earned suspension ahead of the reverse fixture having received booking for a foul on Joao Felix in the first minute. He managed to play with the early caution until he was withdrawn in the 74th minute.
After a goalless 45 minutes with Chelsea seeing a lion share of the possession, the second half started with not much difference as both teams went searching for the opener. Chelsea’s moment came in the 68th minute after a miscued clearance from Hermoso allowed Giroud to beat Oblak with an acrobatic kick which survived a lengthy VAR check to give Chelsea the lead which proved to be the winner and the Blues cushion heading into the second leg.
Both sides pressed on with Atletico seeking an equalizer and Chelsea seeking to improve their lead but none was able to go past the other leaving Chelsea with the upper hand heading into the second round fixture.
What does the win mean?
The win took Chelsea’s unbeaten run to eight games in all competitions under Tuchel since replacing Frank Lampard in January. He’s recorded six wins in the process whilst drawing two. His charges have scored 10 goals, conceded 2 and kept 6 clean sheets. They next face Manchester United in the league on Sunday before a trip to Anfield to face Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.