Olivier Giroud shattered the Atletico Madrid defence into pieces, as his sumptuous overhead kick gifted Chelsea a 1-0 victory in UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first-leg tie at Camp Nou.
It was considered as one of the most anticipated draws of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 this term, and Chelsea pounced on the opposition’s defensive unit with Olivier Giroud’s mercurial overhead kick giving them the precious advantage. However, Atletico Madrid could have started off the proceedings in their favour, only if they were able to grab the opportunity after a horrendous blunder by the Chelsea goalkeeper in the 2nd minute of the game.
In the 39th minute, Timo Werner’s impressive turn inside the box created an opening for Chelsea, only to be denied by Jan Oblak. The away side began to dominate the game with their determined approach. The first half ended in an intriguing manner, as both sides were unable to break the deadlock in spite of creating decent opportunities. In the second half, Chelsea seemed to be at their influential best, coming out to play with positive intent.
Olivier Giroud put Chelsea ahead in the 68th minute in a blistering fashion, as the Frenchman belted the ball back into the net with an overhead kick. With first blood drawn by Chelsea, Diego Simeone needs to come up with a fresh plod to change the course of this tie in the second leg at Stamford Bridge.
In an affair, where both managers needed to establish their authority on such a massive event, Thomas Tuchel will be heading to the next leg as the delighted one. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at how both these teams performed at Arena Nationala, Buscuresti.
🔵 Spectacular second-half Giroud goal inspires Tuchel's Chelsea against Atlético…
Predict what will happen in second leg 👀#UCL
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) February 23, 2021
Jan Oblak: 5.5/10
Atletico Madrid No. 13 was stunned by the impeccable effort from Olivier Giroud. Otherwise, Oblak Looked fairly comfortable throughout the game, and made a crucial save to keep out Timo Werner.
Atletico Madrid belum keluar dari tren negatif usai dikalahkan Chelsea di Liga Champions. Meski demikian, Jan Oblak menepis anggapan Atletico sedang krisis. https://t.co/IxYcc9Xv2A
— detiksport (@detiksport) February 24, 2021
Marcos Llorente: 6/10
The Spaniard was able to penetrate the opposition backline through the right flank and looked decent going forward. Although, he did seem to struggle to hold the backline, as Chelsea were looking forward to pulverizing the visitors from that part of the pitch.
Stefan Savic: 5.5/10
The centre-back found it hard to keep his backline in a proper shape. Managed to win just three duels out of five, and made 7 clearances. He wasn’t able to interpret the move when Werner turned him around in the first half.
Along with Stefan Savic, his task was to bring stability to the defensive unit. And against the formidable presence of the Chelsea front three, he stood tall to cut off any threats. Won 4 out of 5 duels, which indicates his solidified potential.
Mario Hermoso: 5/10
#OlivierGiroud's acrobatic strike was initially ruled out for offside but stood after VAR showed #MarioHermoso had got the final touch, delivering a huge blow to #Atletico's hopes of reaching the quarter-finals. https://t.co/eud7H3NiEH
— Sports Express (@Xpress_Sports) February 24, 2021
The Spanish left-back tried to enhance the probability of the attack through his channel. With 5 recoveries and 2 significant interceptions, he had managed to showcase his credibility. Although, his stupendous mistake inside the box was the reason behind their loss.
Angel Correa: 5.5/10
His tireless efforts went in vain, as the London side were able to keep him at bay in most of his tenure. In spite of his positive runs in the opponents’ half, he was not able to influence the attack to pull his side back into the game.
The best player on the pitch for the visitors, as he had been continuously trying to regain the momentum on his team’s behalf. Won 7 duels out of a possible 11, and with 5 recoveries, he contributed to the defensive department as well.
— #Vamos de Movistar+ (@vamos) February 23, 2021
Saul Niguez: 6/10
Could have stunned the visitors inside the first few minutes, when Mendy gave away an opportunity to the hosts. Didn’t do much of note going forward, but he looked hungry to make an impact. He needs to be steady in his task to command the region with great effect
Thomas Lemar: 5.5/10
The Frenchman looked promising in going forward, as he was thoroughly maintaining the rhythm through the left part of the middle. However, Hudson-Odoi waa able to exploit his defensive weaknesses on a few occasions.
¡Para qué te traje! Thomas Lemar falló el 1-0 debajo del arco en el Atlético Madrid vs. Chelsea [VIDEO] https://t.co/GkYexgqqlk
— depor (@tuitdepor) February 23, 2021
Luis Suarez: 6/10
The veteran seemed to be in his valiant mood, and with his efforts inside the final third, he was leading the pack up front. Created one crucial chance, and won 6 duels out of 8.
Joao Felix: 5/10
The Portuguese international had a rough night in Arena Nationala, as he was not able to serve the end product on numerous occasions. He needs to be precise on his task to ensure his place within the first side.
Joao Félix, un cisne en secano https://t.co/VNakbleosX
— MARTINEZ&SANTIAGO (@Cirosmith69) February 24, 2021
Lucas Torreira: N/A
Replaced Joao Felix in the 82nd minute, won two duels within that tiny phase.
Moussa Dembele: N/A
Came in place of Angel Correa in the 82nd minute, didn’t have enough minutes to influence the game.
Renan Lodi: N/A
On for Saul Niguez in the 82nd minute.
Late substitute for Mario Hermoso.
Edouard Mendy: 5/10
Edouard Mendy in the #UCL this season:
👥 Appearances – 5
⚽ Shots faced – 16
🧤 Goals conceded – 1
🤯 Save Success rate – 93.8% (🥇)
Édouard Mendy has kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in the UEFA Champions League this season. pic.twitter.com/QQXQ1tYCAA
— The Square Reporters (@SquareReporters) February 24, 2021
The Goalkeeper had an unconvincing start, as he was failing to ensure stability. Although, the Atletico Madrid forwards had not been able to pose any serious threats throughout the game.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 8/10
Cesar Azpilicueta for Chelsea vs. Atletico:
◉ Most touches (117)
◉ Most duels won (9)
◉ Most aerial duels won (6)
◉ Most clearances (4)
◉= Most tackles (2)
◉= Most chances created (2)
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 23, 2021
The Blues’ captain offered fluidity through that right channel, as his blistering runs had pushed the attack forward. The Spaniard completed 88 passes out of 102, and along with that, he won 9 duels out of a possible 11.
Andreas Christensen: 6/10
The Chelsea No. 4 had established his authority in a sublime manner, as he stood firm on his feet against Luis Suarez and Joao Felix. With a passing success rate of 96 per cent, his distribution ability flourished in such a massive event.
Andreas Christensen vs Atletico Madrid pic.twitter.com/EgSNedbXZb
— ً (@OFComps) February 23, 2021
Antonio Rudiger: 6/10
With 8 recoveries, Rudiger disrupted the hosts’ scheme with great effect. The player was thoroughly trying to maintain the rhythm in the backline. He has been narrowing down the spaces throughout the ninety minutes.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 5.5/10
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) February 24, 2021
The young Englishman tried to pull the strings from the right side of the midfield but seemed rugged on certain occasions. The player needs to be precise in terms of his decision making in the final third region.
The Italian midfielder had a not so impressive outing, as he has been losing the grip on certain crucial spaces in the midfield territory. He won’t be able to take any part in the second leg, as he was booked by the referee in the 64th minute.
Mateo Kovacic: 7.5/10
Kovacic brought solidity to the table, as he was dictating the game through the centre of the pitch. Although, he needs to be more disciplined in the second leg to ensure their progression on the upcoming stage.
Marcos Alonso: 6/10
Gracias Marcos, en verano eres bienvenido.
Marcos Alonso: 'Esperábamos a un Atlético algo más defensivo incluso' https://t.co/h06ZS1a1YD
— Fran García (@fgarcia1986) February 24, 2021
The Spaniard orchestrated his performance around the left flank, and he seemed dangerous on his plod to push the attack forward. But in his defensive duties, he was fumbling. The player lost 5 of the 8 duels.
Mason Mount: 6.5/10
Mason Messi Mount https://t.co/fddROAohj0
— The Molineux (@Adebowvle) February 24, 2021
Along with Jorginho, the No. 19 stands as another figure, who will be missing the next fixture due to card issues. One of the standout performers for the London side, as he looked confident against the formidable backline of Atleti.
Timo Werner: 5.5/10
Had little impact on the outcome of the came, as he had a frustrating outing this time. Lost 4 of his 12 duels, which does indicate his sketchy efforts. His sumptuous effort from a tight angle could have emerged as one of the best moments of the tie, but Oblak denied his plod with a fine save.
Rio Ferdinand blasts ‘frustrating’ Timo Werner after Chelsea’s win over Atletico Madrid https://t.co/BFezg0iRyY
— Bourbiza Mohamed (@techgateorg) February 24, 2021
Olivier Giroud: 7/10
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 23, 2021
His dream run in the Champions League continues, and his spectacular overhead kick stole the show entirely. In spite of losing 8 duels out of a possible 10, that one moment of magic offered his team the much-needed lead in this draw.
N’Golo Kante: 5/10
Came onto the scene by replacing Kovacic in the 74th minute, the Frenchman’s tireless efforts were visible in the middle.
Hakim Ziyech: 5.5/10
Substituted Mason Mount in the 74th minute, seemed desperate to make an impact. But only had little time to produce anything.
Reece James: N/A
Helped his side to cross the boundary line. Came on as a substitute in the 80th minute of the fixture.
Kai Havertz: N/A
Gain a few minutes in the twilight phase by replacing Olivier Giroud. The German international was trying to reinvent his form.
Christian Pulisic: N/A
On for Timo Werner with three minutes left. Didn’t have much to do.