Champions League: Chelsea 1 – 3 Atlético
Atlético reach Champions League final after legendary victory at Stamford Bridge
In the most exciting and convincing of ways, Atlético Madrid have qualified for the final of the UEFA Champions League.
The final, against neighbours Real Madrid, will be played on May 24 in Lisbon.
From the start Atlético showed intent as they put pressure on Chelsea’s defence early on, which lead to Koke hitting the crossbar as his cross from the wing nearly sailed in.
But after half an hour of play Chelsea took the lead when Willian easily got rid of Diego Godín and Filipe on the wing. The ball was picked up by Azpilicueta, who reached fellow Spaniard Fernando Torres. The Atleti icon hit a low shot from close range straight at Courtois, but the ball took a deflection and went in through the legs of Mario Suárez. Even at his new home, El Niño decided not to celebrate as he scored against his former team.
For Courtois it was only the second goal he conceded in all of April, but in the second half the Chelsea loanee would prove his talent to the crowd he’d never played before prior to the game.
Despite the unfortunate goal, Mario Suárez did an excellent job replacing the suspended Gabi, alongside Tiago Mendes. The latter was the best player on the pitch on Wednesday night as he dominated the midfield and contributed by setting up two goals against one of his former employers. One minute before half time Tiago sent a ball over the defence to Juanfran, who squared the ball across goal. With no Chelsea defenders getting a touch on it, the cross ended up with Adrián who scored only his third goal of the season, but possibly the most important one of his career.
With a 1-1 tie Atleti would be through on away goals, but instead of sitting back the Rojiblancos showed they had come to London to win. Right after the break Koke crossed to Arda Turan, who was denied by 41-year old Mark Schwarzer. At the other end Thibaut Courtois pulled off an amazing save to block John Terry’s header.
Needing a goal, José Mourinho decided to take off one of his six natural defenders for Samuel Eto’o, but the substitution backfired because the Cameroonian brought down Diego Costa inside Chelsea’s box a few minutes later. Costa himself stepped up and, despite his recent struggles from the spot, convincingly beat Schwarzer with a well taken penalty.
The goal meant Chelsea required two more goals and the Blues were visibly shocked by the setback. From that point on it was all Atleti as the visitors created several chances to score more goals. They did so in the 72nd minute when Tiago again reached Juanfran with a pinpoint pass and this time the right back crossed for Arda Turan, who scored his rebound after first heading against the crossbar.
With the result beyond doubt, Atlético created more opportunities to increase the lead to three or four goals, but Filipe Luís & co were wasteful. It should be mentioned that at 2-1 down, Chelsea had created a huge chance to tie the game up again, but they hit the post before Tibu Courtois was somehow able to tip the ball just over the crossbar in a wild reflex.
In the final minute of the game Courtois pulled off another incredible save to deny Eden Hazard, while John Terry fired wide in the rebound. Courtois, like every other Atlético player out there, showed his talent and conviction on the night as his team qualified for its first Champions League final in 40 years.
|Torres 36'||Adrián 44'|
|Diego Costa (p.k.) 60'|
|UEFA Champions League|
|30 April 2014|
|Diego Costa (76')|
|Raúl García (66')|
|C. Rodríguez (83')|