Champions League: Olivier Giroud’s acrobatic strike helps Chelsea beat Atletico in first-leg of Spherical of 16

Champions League: Olivier Giroud’s acrobatic strike helps Chelsea beat Atletico in first-leg of Spherical of 16

Diego Simeone’s facet had placed on a usually disciplined defensive efficiency till that time however Giroud’s second of genius means they must rating in London on 17 March if they’re to keep away from an early exit.

Champions League: Olivier Giroud's acrobatic strike helps Chelsea beat Atletico in first-leg of Round of 16

Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud scores throughout their Champions League spherical of 16 first leg match in opposition to Atletico de Madrid. AFP

Bucharest: Olivier Giroud’s magnificent bicycle kick broke Atletico Madrid’s resistance and earned Chelsea a vital away aim on Tuesday, a 1-0 victory giving Thomas Tuchel’s facet a slender benefit within the Champions League final 16.

Giroud’s acrobatic strike was initially dominated out for offside however stood after VAR confirmed Mario Hermoso had acquired the ultimate contact, delivering an enormous blow to Atletico’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

“I did not know what to consider the aim, I simply centered on hitting the ball,” stated Giroud. “I like an overhead kick and I used to be simply happy to see the ball hit the again of the web. I had no clue about being offside or not.”

Diego Simeone’s facet had placed on a usually disciplined defensive efficiency till that time however Giroud’s second of genius means they must rating in London on 17 March if they’re to keep away from an early exit.

It additionally continues a worrying dip for Atletico, whose lead in LaLiga can also be below menace after one win in 4 matches.

“In case you’d stated to me in September we would lose this primary leg 1-0 and be prime of the league, I might have signed for that for positive,” stated Simeone.

“The outcomes aren’t going for us so we now have to work, work, work and work.”

Chelsea, in the meantime, handed their greatest take a look at since Tuchel was appointed on the finish of January, backing up a robust run in opposition to lesser lights within the Premier League with a sophisticated show in opposition to one in every of Europe’s elite.

“We knew their strengths and handled them,” stated Giroud. “We have to keep centered now and end the job.”

Giroud’s aim within the 68th minute was solely the third Atletico have conceded in 14 residence legs of the Champions League knockout levels below Simeone, even when this fixture was at residence solely in identify.

Restrictions imposed by the Spanish authorities meant the sport needed to be performed in Bucharest as a substitute of Madrid, regardless of the return match remaining at Stamford Bridge in three weeks’ time.

Tuchel admitted the swap gave his facet a bonus however Simeone refused to complain on Monday, insisting he felt lucky to play through the pandemic, “nevertheless and wherever that may be”.

Spanish golf equipment struggling in Europe

Their defeat makes it three residence losses out of three for Spain’s groups within the Champions League final 16 up to now, after Barcelona have been thrashed by Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla have been overwhelmed by Borussia Dortmund final week.

Callum Hudson-Odoi began for Chelsea, regardless of Tuchel criticising the 20-year-old’s perspective in opposition to Southampton on Saturday.

Atletico began with Suarez, Joao Felix and Angel Correa however an attacking line-up took up a usually defensive form, a six-man wall rapidly forming in entrance of Chelsea within the opening levels.

The primary half was tight, all sides ready solely to create openings however failing to seek out the go to make an opportunity.

Edouard Mendy’s heavy contact within the opening minutes virtually gave the chasing Saul Niguez a tap-in whereas Timo Werner’s angled shot was saved by Jan Oblak and Suarez miskicked on the close to publish.

Chelsea seemed most harmful down the flanks, the place Marcos Alonso and Hudson-Odoi pushed Atletico again. Atletico had house on the break however lacked the precision to capitalise.

Felix sprung into life early within the second half, feeding Thomas Lemar after which assembly the Frenchman’s cross with an acrobatic volley that flew over.

The sport seemed destined to complete goalless just for Atletico to briefly lose form, permitting the instinctive Giroud to take benefit.

Alonso had raced away from Marcos Llorente down the left and his cross was diverted backwards to Giroud, who brilliantly bicycle-kicked into the nook, however seemed offside, just for the replay to point out it was Atletico’s Hermoso who had given him the help.

The aim stood and Chelsea’s gamers celebrated, seemingly as stunned as anybody and delighted with a treasured benefit.

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