Wednesday, April 30, 2014 9:12 pm
Spanish darkhorses Atletico Madrid came away from Stamford Bridge with a stunning 3-1 win over Chelsea to qualify for the UEFA Champions League final where they will face city rivals Real Madrid for the coveted trophy.
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone had praised Jose Mourinho’s defensive tactics in the build-up to the second leg, as the first leg had ended goalless. And when the teamsheets were released, Chelsea had six defenders in their starting line-up.
And though it was Atletico that had the first chance to score, with a hooked Koke cross going beyond the reach of Mark Schwarzer but crashing off the Chelsea bar in the second minute, it was the Blues that took the lead through former Atletico captain Fernando Torres after 36 minutes.
That lead however last just eight minutes as Adrian’s scuffed shot from six yards managed to bounce into goal just before half time to put the visiting La Liga leaders ahead on aggregate thanks to the away goal rule.
John Terry came close to restoring Chelsea’s lead but his powerful header was well kept out by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who has been at on-loan to Atletico from Chelsea for the past three seasons.
That save proved crucial to Atletico’s cause ironically as striker Diego Costa then scored his eighth Champions League goal in eight appearances to put Atletico ahead from the penalty spot just after the hour mark.
David Luiz then saw a header hit the post two minutes later with Courtois reacting quicker than Branislav Ivanovic to push the ball to safety, before Turkish midfielder Arda Turan put the result beyond doubt with Atletico’s third after 72minutes.
Atletico’s win makes it the first time in 40 years that the club has reached the final of the European Cup and also sets up what will be the first European Cup final between Madrid teams.
The final willl be held in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday, May 24.