Chelsea progressed to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2014 with a dominant victory over Atlético Madrid. Hakim Ziyech and Emerson scored either side of half time to make it Chelsea 2-0 Atlético on the night, and send the Blues through 3-0 on aggregate.
The home side made a lively start to the match and started to threaten in front of goal rather than sit back and preserve their 1-0 first leg lead. Atlético felt as though they should have had a penalty after Cesar Azpilicueta brought down Yannick Carrasco in the area but the referee waved away the appeals. However, in the 34th minute, the home side went in front as Kai Havertz played through Timo Werner as the German crossed to Hakim Ziyech in the middle, who applied a composed finish to make it 1-0. The home side were ahead by the one goal at the break but still had to get the job done in the second half.
Chelsea started the second half as they finished the first as Ziyech played Werner, who was denied by Oblak from a tight angle. The home side came close to scored a second goal on a number of occasions but continued to be kept out by the Slovenian ‘keeper Oblak. In the closing stages of the match, Atléti were reduced to ten men as centre-back Stefan Savic was shown a straight red card for a elbow on Antonio Rüdiger. Deep into stoppage time, Thomas Tuchel’s side doubled their lead to cap off a fine second leg performance. Christian Pulisic slid through the substitute Emerson, who slotted home to send the Chelsea players into wild celebrations.
Thomas Tuchel made five changes to the side that drew 0-0 to Leeds at the weekend. Edouard Mendy retains his place in goal but Kurt Zouma replaces Andreas Christensen in the back three, partnering captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rüdiger. Meanwhile in midfield, Mateo Kovacic comes in for the suspended Jorginho to play alongside N’Golo Kante with Marcos Alonso and Reece James as the two wing-backs.
Mason Mount is also suspended for the match as Timo Werner comes in to replace him with Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech keeping their places to complete the front three. Christian Pulisic and Ben Chilwell both dropped to the bench from Saturday’s but could still be of use. However, Christensen missed out completely due to illness, which is huge blow for Tuchel.
Meanwhile, for Atlético, just the two changes were made by Diego Simeone from Saturday’s goalless draw at Getafe. Atléti’s number one Jan Oblak kept his place in goal with the two same centre-backs in front of him in Stefan Savic and Jose Maria Gimenez. Right-back Kieran Trippier retained his place in the back four but there was a change at left-back as Renan Lodi replaced Mario Hermoso.
Simeone opted to go for four in midfield with Yannick Carrasco, Saul Niguez, Koke keep their places from the Getafe match. Marcos Llorente also played in that but was in a more central position and was moved to the right hand side. Angel Correa was the other change made in the starting eleven with João Félix coming back in to play alongside prolific goalscorer Luis Suarez.
The first chance of the game fell to Atlético as an attempt by full-back Renan Lodi on the edge of the area was comfortable held by Edouard Mendy. Meanwhile, up the other end on ten minutes, the home side had a chance as Kai Havertz played a great ball through to Marcos Alonso but the Spaniard skewed his shot wide. The Blues made a good start to the game but were so far, unable to break down the Atlético defence.
With 18 minutes gone, Chelsea had an opportunity as Reece James’ crossed the ball into the area towards Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech as the two got in each other’s way. The German ended up having a shot on goal but struck wide of the target. Atlético Madrid though they should have had a penalty midway through the first half as Cesar Azpilicueta looked to have brought down Carrasco in the area. However, nothing was given by the referee which looked to have been a let off for the Blues.
Both side had looked threaten so far but with 34 minutes played, it was the home side that broke the deadlock. The Blues broke away on the counter-attack as Havertz played through the rapid Werner, who drilled the ball across to Ziyech as the Moroccan applied a tidy finish. A big goal to make it Chelsea 1-0 Atlético on the night and Chelsea 2-0 Atlético on aggregate. Six minutes before the break, Diego Simeone’s side had a chance as the ball was headed away into the path of João Félix but his strike was comfortably into the arms of Mendy.
Just before the break, the Blues came close to doubling their advantage as N’Golo Kante laid the ball off to Mateo Kovacic as the Croatian’s effort drifted just wide. That proved to be the final chance of the half as Chelsea led 1-0 at half-time on the night and 2-0 on aggregate. Thomas Tuchel’s side had put in a very good shift so far and had a deserved lead at the break but a big second half was on the way for the Blues.
HT: Chelsea 1-0 Atlético Madrid
Diego Simeone made a change heading into the second half as Renan Lodi, who had already been booked, came off in place of Mario Hermoso. A few minutes into the second half, the Blues came close to making it two as Ziyech played a brilliant ball through to Werner, who was denied by Atléti ‘keeper Jan Oblak. On 52 minutes, the home side continued the threaten as Ziyech’s effort on the edge of the area was blocked by Saul before a long-range shot from Rüdiger whistled wide.
Atlético made a second change of the game a few moments later as Moussa Dembele came on in place of Carrasco. 11 minutes into the second half, the Blues had another attempt as Reece James played the ball to Ziyech, whose curling effort was tipped over by Oblak. The away side made yet another substitution just before the hour mark as Angel Correa came on with Luis Suarez making way having struggled to make an impact.
Just after the hour mark, the home side continued their search for a second goal as Werner raced away towards goal as his shot hit the side netting. Simeone continued to make changes in the hope of getting back into the match and once again brought on another attacking option with Thomas Lemar coming on in place of Kieran Trippier.
With 15 minutes to go, Atlético had a chance to get back into the game as the ball was played into Félix as the Portuguese forward’s shot was kept out by Mendy. Heading into the closing stages of the match, the home side made their first substitution as Ziyech came off having put in a solid performance with Christian Pulisic taking his place. The away side begun to threaten more as an attempt of goal from Félix deflected wide and out for a corner.
In the 82nd minute, Atlético were reduced to ten men as Stefan Savic was shown a straight red card for a elbow on Rüdiger in an incident off-the-ball. Chelsea made a second change of the match as Callum Hudson-Odoi came on to see out the match in place of Werner. Just moments later, Kovacic played the ball to the substitute Hudson-Odoi but his effort was weak and easy for Oblak. Two minutes into added time, Félix had yet another effort on goal for Atlético but his shot was kept out brilliantly by Mendy.
Two last substitutions were made by Tuchel as Havertz and Alonso made way for Emerson and Ben Chilwell. In the final minutes of the game, Chelsea sealed the deal as Pulisic played through the substitute Emerson, who drilled the ball home into the back of the net to send the Chelsea players into wild celebrations. Chelsea 2-0 Atlético.
It capped off a fantastic performance as the Blues progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League 3-0 on aggregate.
FT: Chelsea 2-0 Atlético Madrid
Chelsea (3-4-3): Mendy (GK); Azpilicueta (c), Zouma, Rüdiger; James, Kovacic, Kanté, Alonso; Ziyech, Havertz, Werner
Subs used: Pulisic (for Ziyech, 76 mins), Hudson-Odoi (for Werner, 84 mins), Emerson (for Havertz, 90+3 mins), Chilwell (for Alonso, 90+3 mins)
Goals: Ziyech (34 mins), Emerson (90+4 mins)
Atlético Madrid (4-4-2): Oblak (GK); Trippier, Savic, Gimenez, Lodi; Llorente, Koke (c), Niguez, Carrasco; Félix, Suarez
Subs used: Hermoso (for Lodi, 46 mins), Dembele (for Carrasco, 53 mins), Correa (for Suarez, 58 mins), Lemar (for Trippier, 69 mins)
Sent-off: Savic (82 mins)
Final Thoughts: Chelsea 2-0 Atlético Madrid
It was a fantastic performance from Chelsea as the quarter-finals beckon for Thomas Tuchel’s men. The Blues were excellent in front of goal and the likes of Ziyech and Werner posing a huge threat toward the Atlético defence whilst N’Golo Kante was phenomenal in midfield. It was also yet another clean sheet as the defence were great in Christensen’s absence through Atléti had created very little.
The Blues will find out their opponents in the next round of the Champions League in the draw on Friday with a number of top quality opponents they could potentially face. Chelsea return to action on Sunday in the FA Cup as they take in Sheffield United in the quarter-finals, the final match before the international break.
Written by Matt North (@MattNorth_)
Edited by Rob Pratley
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