Atlético complicates the pass to the Champions League quarter-finals. A solitary goal by Giroud, which was validated by the VAR, puts the Madrid team on the ropes. Simeone gave Chelsea control of the game in hopes of creating chances to counter. Neither Oblak nor Mendy were in trouble. In the return leg, Atlético will have to propose another type of match because they have to score.
Simeone’s eleven suggested a different match approach to the one seen in the first half. Cholo put Lemar, João Félix, Luis Suárez, Correa, Llorente plus Koke and Saúl in the fray together. Technically gifted footballers with enough resources to win a match in one action. But it soon became clear that the Atlético who took to the pitch in Bucharest was the same as the great European qualifiers. For the Argentine coach it is essential not to fit in in the first leg, vital to get to the second game alive. This premise is carried out by Atlético every time they play the first match at home. So all these virtuosos put on their overalls. Llorente closing on the right wing, Lemar on the left, He runs as a sixth defender embedding himself in the right wing, João Félix closing where Lemar and Koke and Saúl planted in front of the centrals. Only Luis Suárez lowered himself a little up. The minimum.
It was an Atlético with very clear ideas: well closed and focused to go against it. And pressure up as the ball was close to Chelsea’s goal. As soon as Saúl started, he was able to score in a bad control of goalkeeper Mendy due to the good red and white pressure. The Madrid team did not have great arrivals, but it did create danger when it went on the attack. Lemar did not reach a center of Luis Suárez just when the goal was called and five minutes before the break it was the Uruguayan striker himself who did not reach a Correa service.
Chelsea had the ball, managed the game and also had some good arrival, especially on the right wing, where Mount sought to tickle Lemar. But Savic, Felipe and Hermoso remembered the Godín, MIranda and company. Thanks to that suffering in defense, that gritting of teeth, that collective solidarity, Atlético has arrived where it is. Chelsea prowled Oblak’s goal a couple of times in real danger, but neither Giroud nor Werner had the time or space to disturb the rojiblanco goalkeeper. And, above all, the English team could not run. Neither did Atlético. Chelsea stopped any attempt to start with a foul.
After the break the trend was similar, with Chelsea dominating the situation, but without disturbing Atlético. The Madrid team tried to give a blow from time to time, although the Premier team did not go through any stress. The key move came in the 71st minute with Giroud’s acrobatic shot. The lineman signaled offside but the VAR reviewed the action and validated the decision. At first it seemed that it was Hermoso who played before the French player finished. Simeone’s plan was blown up by Chelsea’s goal. The truth is that Tuchel’s team had not created chances or prowled the rojiblanca area. But for the eighth consecutive game, Atlético conceded a goal and that complicates the pass a lot.
The 0-1 caused Atlético to have to react and Cholo moved pieces in the absence of ten minutes in search of a goal. The Madrid team sought the equalizer, but Chelsea imposed their defensive seriousness.
Kante (73 ‘, Mason Mount), Hakim Ziyech (73 ‘, Kovacic), Reece james (79 ‘, Callum Hudson Odoi), Dembele (81 ‘, Correa), Lucas Torreira (81 ‘, Saúl), Renan Augusto (81 ‘, João Félix), Vitolo (83 ‘, Mario Hermoso), Kai havertz (86 ‘, Giroud), Christian pulisic (86 ‘, Timo Werner)
Referee: Dr. Felix Brych
VAR Referee: Marco Fritz
Mason Mount (0 ‘, Yellow) Marcos Llorente (62 ‘, Yellow) Jorginho Frello (63 ‘, Yellow) Lemar (92 ‘, Yellow