Sport Atletico Madrid 0-1 Chelsea: Giroud stunner gives Blues the advantage

01:23  24 february  2021
01:23  24 february  2021 Source:   goal.com

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Olivier Giroud's stunning overhead kick gave Chelsea a slender 1-0 advantage in their Champions League last-16 tie with Atletico Madrid.

Stefan Savic playing with a ball: Olivier Giroud breaks the deadlock © Chelsea FC via Getty Images Olivier Giroud breaks the deadlock

Playing in Bucharest due to restrictions affecting travel between England and Spain, Chelsea dominated possession as has been the norm under Thomas Tuchel, yet the Blues needed a moment of supreme individual skill from their experienced forward to get the win.

Chelsea attempted 403 passes in the first half, with Atleti limited to just one goal attempt before the break – their lowest total after 45 minutes of a Champions League match since 2016-17 – and the breakthrough came in the 68th minute when Mario Hermoso's sliced clearance fell to Giroud.

"Giroud, the extraterrestrial", the European press ignites for the Frenchman

 © Panoramic Olivier Giroud scored the only goal of the match with a superb acrobatic gesture. "Touch of genius", "on the Moon", "the extraterrestrial", there is no doubt that the goal of Olivier Giroud will have made the rounds of the European sports press. By giving Chelsea victory over Atlético Madrid in the round of 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday in a sublime acrobatic gesture, the Frenchman drew the praise of European dailies.

He sent a wonderful bicycle kick beyond Jan Oblak, and although the offside flag initially denied Chelsea, the goal was awarded after a lengthy VAR check as the visitors took a lead into next month's second leg.

Chelsea had been let off the hook after Edouard Mendy's error inside the opening two minutes, and Tuchel's team escaped unscathed from another mistake when Thomas Lemar sliced wide.

Mason Mount has been a standout performer under Tuchel's tutelage and the England international crafted Chelsea's first opening a minute later – Timo Werner failing to divert a right-wing cross goalwards.

Mount should have done better with a volleyed cross-shot in the 40th minute, but Chelsea would have been punished had Luis Suarez managed to connect with Angel Correa's cut-back.

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  Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole stick the boot into Spanish top flight Former England stars Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole believe the quality in LaLiga is a far cry from what it once was and Atletico Madrid's performance on Tuesday shows it.Diego Simeone's side, who sit top of the Spanish top flight, produced an uninspiring display against the Premier League's fifth-placed side, ultimately losing the first leg of the Champions League tie 1-0 thanks to a stunning Olivier Giroud overhead kick.

Joao Felix blazed an acrobatic attempt over the bar shortly after the restart, but whereas he failed, Giroud applied the finishing touch.

Mount forced a wild clearance from Hermoso which dropped over Giroud's shoulder, but the 34-year-old adjusted himself brilliantly to meet it and send a sublime finish into the left-hand corner.

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a group of people watching a football game:                      “You go on and score the decisive goal,” coach Ottmar Hitzfeld instructed Dortmund midfielder Lars Ricken just before replacing Stephane Chapuisat in the 1997 final. It took the one-club man 16 seconds to follow his manager’s orders, his delicious chip – with his first touch – securing a famous 3-1 win.                                                                              It had been a game of substitutes: Alessandro Del Piero replaced Sergio Porrini at the break to re-energise the Old Lady after Karl-Heinz Riedle’s first-half double. Riedle had his own premonition, waking at 3.30am on the day of the game in a cold sweat. “I just dreamt that I’ll score two goals,” he panted.

Chelsea were made to wait as VAR checked whether it was Mount or Hermoso who had made contact, with the latter eventually adjudged to have deliberately played the ball, ensuring Giroud was onside and able to secure a vital away goal.

What does it mean? Chelsea on the cusp

Chelsea are attempting to progress past the round of 16 for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign, when the Blues lost to Atleti in the semi-finals. However, they will have to play the second leg without Mount and Jorginho, who have been prominent figures in Tuchel's midfield so far but picked up suspension-enforcing yellow cards on Tuesday.

Rio Ferdinand blasts 'frustrating' Timo Werner after Chelsea's win

  Rio Ferdinand blasts 'frustrating' Timo Werner after Chelsea's win The former Manchester United defender says he is often 'loose in possession' in the final third, and could do with slowing his game down a bit in order to let his team-mates catch up in attack.The Chelsea forward has scored 10 goals in 34 appearances this season in all competitions, and fans have been crying out for more from him.

Nevertheless, Tuchel has plenty of strength in depth at his disposal, and Atleti’s usually stringent defence has kept just one clean sheet in all competitions since the turn of the year.

Like a fine wine…

Like many luxuries in life, Giroud seems to be getting better with age. Aged 34 years and 146 days, he is the oldest player to score in the knockout stages of the Champions League for Chelsea, and the oldest to do so for an English side since Ryan Giggs (37) in April 2011.

The former Arsenal striker has now scored six Champions League goals this season, his best return in a single campaign in the competition.

Hudson-Odoi responds

Tuchel did not hold back in his criticism of Callum Hudson-Odoi following Chelsea’s Premier League weekend draw with Southampton, demanding more effort from the youngster, who was subbed on and then taken off at St Mary's.

Three days on, however, Hudson-Odoi turned in a solid display in his new-found wing-back role. He attempted a joint team-high two tackles, had one shot and finished with an 85.4 per cent passing accuracy before being replaced by Reece James late on.

What's next?

In a big clash in the upper echelons of the Premier League, Chelsea welcome Manchester United to Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Atleti, meanwhile, face Villarreal in LaLiga.

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