Chelsea 1-3 Atletico Madrid - Punished!
Sometimes in football you just have to hold your hands up and accept that we have been beaten by ...
Sometimes in football you just have to hold your hands up and accept that we have been beaten by the better team. Tonight at Stamford Bridge, Diego Simeone's side took full advantage of Chelsea defensive errors and punished us - Fair play!
Chelsea had made the breakthrough after around 35 minutes of the first half after some good work from Willian and Cesar Azpilicueta. The Spaniard pulled the ball back across goal and Fernando Torres hit the ball first time from around 12 yards and, with a slight deflection, found the net to make it 1-0 Chelsea.
Jose Mourinho talked after the game of Chelsea being the better side right up to a single minute that changed the game. Thibault Courtois (who was outstanding by the way) made a fantastic save from a John Terry header and around one minute later, Samuel Eto'o clipped Diego Costa in the box to give away a penalty to give the visitors the advantage.
I have to disagree with our manager. Normally, at home, when Chelsea take the lead and gain an advantage in these big nights, we then dominate the ball, gain momentum and control the game. Tonight it was very different. It was almost as if the visitors had been holding back knowing that a single goal would take them through. From the moment Chelsea scored, their shackles were off and they stepped up their game.
Unfortunately, Eden Hazard was caught out at the back post twice in the game and both times Atletico Madrid made it count. The first was from a needless free kick given away wide left by Ramires. A cross to the back post had caught everyone out and Juanfran was able to drift away from Hazard and cross the ball back across the box for Adrian to steer home after some hesitation in the box from our defenders. From that moment the game changed and Atletico had the momentum and a spring in their step.
Their overall display in the second half was superb and Chelsea at times were left chasing shadows. We were making defensive mistakes, losing the ball, giving it away while Atletico soaked up the pressure and then with the ball, exploited the space we had left in behind as Chelsea chased the second goal to put the tie back into our favour.
Chelsea continued to push forward and probe for the most part to no avail but when they did break through late on, Courtois was more than a match by making good saves and collecting the ball in the air under pressure.
Down the other end, Atletico always looked dangerous and the penalty killed us. Eto'o had fouled Costa and he stepped up and fired an unstoppable shot high into the roof of the net giving Schwarzer no chance.
Just to kill us off and rub salt into our wounds as we pressed forward looking for a break to give us a goal from somewhere, Turan scored another good goal.
For the second time in the game Eden Hazard was caught out by a run past the back post and as the cross came over his opponent beat him easily to the ball, knocked it back across goal and Turan coming in from the far side headed the ball onto the post first and collected the rebound on the half volley and stabbed the ball into the net to make it 3-1 to the visitors and game over.
The Chelsea defence looked shell shocked and it was more than noticeable that JT made his feelings about covering the run around the back post to Eden Hazard.
Now I am not here slagging off Eden Hazard, far from it. If anything, I believe that one way or the other, the visitors would have come out on top in the game. It was just a shame that it was Hazard who had been caught out twice and it had cost us both times.
Looking at our team selection for the game it was a surprise to see Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole AND Azpilicueta all named in the starting eleven with Azpi pushed up into an attacking area. He and we never looked comfortable. I'm interested in hearing the situation with Oscar as I personally would have played the 4-2-3-1 formation, reverted the back four to what it has been for weeks now and played Willian, Oscar and Hazard behind the striker.
I can sit here and say "What if?" or "If only we had done that" but it's unfair to Simeone and his side. They exposed our defensive frailties and took total and full advantage. Like I said, you have to hold your hands up!
As for Chelsea and this season's run in the competition? It's disappointing and frustrating after reaching the semi finals and seeing just how far we have come. We have a young team who will learn from this experience and will become better, stronger players. Have little doubt, Chelsea will come back again!
Listen, I know you are as disappointed as I am but if anything you shouldn't feel down beat. It would be different it we had been robbed or had been knocked out because of injustice!
Tonight, I have no complaints and nor should any of you. It's simple, we were punished by the better side!
Congratulations Atletico, Good Luck in the Final. Now go to Lisbon and win it! (Felicitaciones Atlético, Buena suerte en la final. Ahora ir a Lisboa y ganarla!)