Atletico Madrid 2-2 Chelsea

Chelsea sealed qualification into the Champions League knockout stages with a 2-2 draw at Atletico with goals from Didier Drogba. FC Port...

Chelsea sealed qualification into the Champions League knockout stages with a 2-2 draw at Atletico with goals from Didier Drogba. FC Porto beat Apoel as they also clinched qualification and its now down to our game at their place to see who wins the group for the favourable draw when its made by UEFA.

Chelsea made the changes to the side that won at the weekend with Alex and Ashley Cole coming into the back four alongside JT and Juliano Belletti. Joe Cole was given a start in midfield alongside Florent Malouda, Lampard and Essien. Nicolas Anelka was rested so Kalou came into the side up front alongside Didier Drogba.

Now I mentioned before in my short preview of the game that I wondered how we would take to the game last night. How Ancelotti would play and if he would ring the changes. You have to say that we pretty much dominated possession of the ball at a canter in the first half. There were one or two chances for both sides but it was pretty much a non-event.

For some people, they felt as though Chelsea were in "second-gear" which leaves me wondering why?. We were top of our group and 3 points clear of Porto before the matches took place last night, but for me its still about getting out there and winning games. If we had taken the game by the scruff of the neck and got the win we would be bigger favourites to win the group with 2 games still to play. For me maybe we all had one eye on this weekend.

Ok, we were away against a side that hadn't been beaten at home so far this season, and yes they have a new manager, but this side is 17th/18th in La Liga the moment and in the first half we should of capitalised. It was only towards the end of the half that we worried their keeper!.

So we went in half-time 0-0 and coasting, but again should of been better. So like most people I was wondering if Ancelotti would make some changes for the second half to keep things fresh for the weekend. But again no changes. The second half was much better as a contest and we both had some chances before Atletico took the lead with (you have to say) a great strike from supposed Chelsea target Aguero. Being critical you have to ask where was the marking?

It was only then on 65-67 minutes that the changes happened as Ancelotti realised that we needed to freshen things up to get back in the game and it almost worked instantly. Ballack came on for Essien, Anelka for Kalou and Deco for Joe Cole and it was Deco who had the first chance but shot wide.

We got back into the game after a half cleared corner came back to Malouda who's 1-2 with Lampard played Malouda in down the left hand side. His cross was perfect, Drogba rose without a notable challenge and that was it 1-1. You could of said at the time "that will do!, happy with the point after going a goal down!" but man on fire Didier Drogba had other ideas.

Ashley Cole played a 30 yard ball into the left channel for Drogba surrounded by three defenders. He ran onto the ball took a touch with his left and then a quick flick with his right nutmegged the defender ( who due to severe embarrassment ended up in a heap on the floor, watch the goal again and have a look!) as Drogba cut inside and raced clear 1-on-1 with the keeper. To his credit the keeper came out, stood up and made the save as Didier blasted the ball straight at him, but the rebound fell straight back to Drogba and he slotted the ball into an empty net 2-1 Chelsea!

Now you think, Fantastic, great goal now see the game out. But again to his credit (enough of that already i know) Aguero stepped up and struck a great free kick on 90 mins into the Cech's top left hand corner, he had no chance to be fair and it was 2-2. Game over. BUT, If you ask me the free kick given was harsh to say the least. I didn't think it was a foul but was given. I guess in the current climate surrounding the club (with UEFA) it was a good idea not to kick up too much of a stink about the free kick, but it was to our cost after all!.

So all in all, a good point that seals qualification. Porto picking up the win puts them a point behind us with them away and APOEL at home the last two games. You have to say now that a draw will be good enough for us to take first place with a better performance and result at home against APOEL.



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