Match Report: Chelsea draw 1-1 with Atletico Madrid in final UCL group stage match
Chelsea finished their Champions League group stage phase with a poor display against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night. The Blues were left second in the pile, with AS Roma claiming the first spot ahead of them.
Saul Niguez took the visitors into a lead on the second half, but Eden Hazard’s great solo effort and some poor clearing from Stefan Savic rescued the Blues a point on the night.
The game started very cautiously. Both sides were clearly planning to take no risks in the beginning of the match, as the visitors had no room for errors. While Chelsea had already qualified for the next stage, Atletico were coming into the game in a must-win situation.
The first chance of the game fell for the hosts, as Alvaro Morata took a quick turn on the edge of the area, taking his curled effort just inches wide of the post. Chelsea began to build pressure on Diego Simeone’s side, but Jan Oblak seemed always too secure with his stops.
Atletico had their chances too on the first half, with former Blue Fernando Torres the main outlet for the visitors.
Zappacosta replaced Marcos Alonso on the left wing-back’s position tonight, and looked very dangerous when running towards the Atleti defence. He went close with a brilliant cut inside to his right, rifling a low shot towards the bottom corner, but a superb diving save from Oblak kept the visitors in the game.
The first half came to its close in a slightly dull 0-0 situation, but with the pressure building on the visitors and their potential place in the knock-out stages, the game started to open on the second period.
Andreas Christensen went very close with a header on goal, which was just a bit too weak to beat the keeper, with a great solo effort from Eden Hazard also going close to the back of the net.
Atletico were the ones who broke the deadlock though, as Fernando Torres nodded the ball for Saul Niguez to head in from a corner. Chelsea should have done a lot better defending that situation there, and Antonio Conte was certainly not happy to see his side concede such goal.
The Italian didn’t hesitate to make changes immediately. Tiemoue Bakayoko came off for Pedro, with Willian replacing Davide Zappacosta just moments later.
Chelsea’s push for the equalizer was rewarded 15 minutes before the end of the game. Eden Hazard was the man for the rescue, as his low cross after a successful take-on inside the Atleti box was netted into his own goal by Stefan Savic. With ten minutes left on the clock, Michy Batshuayi was replaced by Alvaro Morata as Chelsea went on to push for the winner.
The momentum was now on the hosts’ side and Chelsea were unlucky not to get another goal. Morata should’ve buried his one-on-one chance with the keeper, as should have Willian, who had the best opportunity to give Chelsea the lead but fired his free effort way over the crossbar from nine yards out. Batshuayi went also very close with his try on additional time, but the time was out.
A small piece of brilliance from Hazard saved Chelsea the point, as the Blues finish second in the group with Roma taking the first place. Meanwhile Atletico Madrid are heading to the Europa League. Better finishing from the Blues forwards could’ve handed us a comfortable win and a place on top of the group, but the luck was not completely our side tonight.