Chelsea 1-3 Atletico Madrid: Match Reaction
Chelsea fell apart on the biggest night of their season, conceding an infrequent three goals at Stamford Bridge, to bow out of the Champions League with a whimper.
The Blues, who knew they had to win whilst Atletico Madrid could draw to go through to the final, were caught in two minds as to whether to park the bus or attack.
They opted for the latter and reaped the rewards when Fernando Torres side-footed home against his former club with 36 minutes on the clock, but the failure to shut the game up saw Atletico reply within eight minutes, before running away with it in the second half.
It means that, in all likelihood, Chelsea will end the season trophyless, and for Mourinho it will be a second consecutive season without any major honours.
One can surely not count it as a disappointment however. Chelsea were never one of the top two sides in Europe this season — they are not even top two in England — whilst Atletico have blown opponents apart with their lethal attack and robust defence in the Spanish league.
It gives Lisbon an all-Madrid final to host on May 24th, and for Mourinho and his Chelsea boys, a sense of sadness but surely pride for running it so close.
Chelsea have been famed for their sturdy bus-parking in recent matches but, to shake things up, Mourinho opted to attack. Despite naming six defenders in his side — albeit Azpilicueta was right-wing and David Luiz was a holding midfielder — the attacking intent was there by Chelsea, often led by Hazard.
Whether this change of philosophy was brought about because Mourinho fancied his chances at home, or whether the media pressure proved too great, but Chelsea looked awkward from the off, lucky to see an Atletico shot hit the underside of the crossbar, whilst Schwarzer had to have tremendous reactions to further stop Simeone’s men.
Chelsea had chances from set-pieces but could not beat Courtois. They did, however, get a goal from open play, with a right-wing cross finding Torres to score.
The uncertainty in how to set up next was mystifying from a Mourinho side but the defence was at sea and could only hold their lead for eight minutes.
The ball somehow found Adrian as Cahill and Schwarzer missed it, and his shot into the ground looped over the back-tracking Cahill to keep the scores level going into the break.
But Chelsea had no answers thereafter. Terry had a glorious chance stopped by Courtois and putting Eto’o on for Ashley Cole might have paid off, but it was a huge risk, especially as the Cameroonian was to concede a penalty within moments of coming on. Diego Costa, unlike Lionel Messi, was to make no mistake.
The tie was put to bed in the 72nd minute when Turan fired home their third to put them into their first European Cup final for 40 years.
(Chelsea) Man of the Match
JOHN TERRY: No player was outstanding, so this man stands out for his unwavering passion. A hugely difficult night and, still not fully fit, could not deal with the demands. 6/10
Jose was sad but forward-thinking: “One minute in the second half decided everything. A minute where the Atletico goalkeeper makes an impossible save to a John Terry header then the penalty that kills the game. Next season will be better than this season — that’s our objective — the objective of everybody. Our young players will be better, hopefully we will have a couple of players to improve our team and we will try to do better next season.”