Summer recruits combine as faultless Chelsea coast into CL quarters
Posted On March 17, 2021
A trio of summer Chelsea signings combined to notch the game’s opening goal as the Blues booked their place in the Champions League quarter finals.
Atletico came out with greater purpose than the reverse fixture, pressing Chelsea high up the pitch from the off.
Joao Felix showcased his considerable talents when dancing his way through a pair of challenges in a dangerous position. The move ultimately broke down when interplay with Luis Suarez came to nothing.
The hosts – protecting a one-goal advantage – repelled the early threat well and began to cause problems of their own as the half wore on.
Timo Werner looked lively on the break, while Reece James was finding joy from right-wingback.
Chelsea were then handed a major reprieve when Cesar Azpilicueta saw no repercussions when tugging the shirt of Yannick Carrasco in the box.
The Belgian launched a full-throated appeal for a penalty, but neither the referee nor VAR would oblige.
Chelsea capitalised on their luck moments later when Hakim Ziyech doubled the Blues’ aggregate lead.
Kai Havertz set Werner scampering away and when a quality final ball was needed, the German delivered.
A low pass split the retreating defenders, allowing Ziyech to slot home through Jan Oblak to make it 1-0 on the night.
Felix looked to hit back immediately, but Edouard Mendy was equal to the youngster’s shot as Chelsea went in ahead at the break.
Atletico’s fabled defensive prowess appeared to have deserted them after the interval when a simple through ball saw Werner spring the offside trap.
The forward raced down on goal but saw his low strike saved by the quick reflexes of Oblak.
The Slovakian was again called upon to keep his side in the tie, this time tipping a curling Ziyech effort over for a corner as Chelsea smelt blood.
Diego Simeone reacted, but took the surprise measure of hooking Suarez before the hour mark as he went in search of the magic touch.
What little Atletico could muster in an attacking sense was often thwarted by the disrupter-in-chief, N’Golo Kante.
Tensions reached boiling point late on when Stefan Savic saw red for elbowing Antonio Rudiger in the sternum.
Chelsea almost capitalised immediately, but Callum Hudson-Odoi could not find the finish required with his first touch of the game.
Late substitute Emerson Palmieri wrapped things up with an injury-time strike as Chelsea advanced to the final eight of the competition via a 3-0 aggregate scoreline.