Atletico Madrid failed to launch a comeback against Chelsea as they travelled to Stamford Bridge for the second leg of their last-16 UEFA Champions League clash. Atletico lost the first leg 1-0 in their designated "home" game, which had to be played in Romania last month due to coronavirus restrictions. On Wednesday, Chelsea pulled off a 2-0 victory to seal a 3-0 aggregate score that effectively kicked the Spanish side out of the competition.
It's an interesting story of mixed fortunes as Chelsea crushed Atletico Madrid, who are currently at the top of the Spanish La Liga table. Chelsea meanwhile, are 20 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Hakim Ziyech took advantage of a counter attack to score the opening goal for the Blues in the first half. Atletico were unable to respond before Emerson doubled the lead in stoppage time for Chelsea. There were some controversial calls by the referee, but Chelsea definitely looked like the stronger side throughout both legs. Thomas Tuchel's men dominated possession but Atletico had several reasons to appeal for a penalty which fell on deaf ears.
The visitors tried to channel their rage towards a more aggressive strategy but it backfired when Chelsea's Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Ziyech teamed up to produce the first goal from a counter attack.
Simeone tried to shift the momentum replacing Renan Lodi with Mario Hermoso. He also brought in Moussa Dembele and Angel Correa but they were not able to challenge the hosts. Joao Felix had some moments of brilliance but Chelsea's back wall was simply an impenetrable fortress. Atletico made things even harder for themselves after they were forced to finish with 10 men when Stefan Savic was shown a straight red card for elbowing Rudiger.
Chelsea made the most of the advantage, with Emerson scoring the stoppage time goal to kick their opponents out with a flourish.
Atletico is in the midst of what might very well be a meltdown after a dominant first half of the season. Domestically, they had opened up a double digit gap that has now been whittled away to just four points. FC Barcelona is now breathing down their necks in second place and Real Madrid is not far behind either.