WE’RE DOWN TO the last four in Europe’s elite club competition.
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Atletico Madrid 0-0 Chelsea
19.00 – Good evening and welcome along. After a day when David Moyes (not Chris Moyles) was the name on everyone’s lips, we must put Manchester United’s current managerial woes to one side as there are more immediate matters to attend to tonight.
Just four teams (two from Spain and one each from Germany and England) remain in this season’s Champions League and the Vincente Calderon Stadium hosts the first final four meeting between La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid and Chelsea — currently five points behind Liverpool in the Premier League in second place.
We’re 45 minutes away from kick-off now so get your predictions in. How do you see tonight’s first leg going?
19.01 – The teams are in:
Atletico Madrid: Courtois, Godin, Filipe Luis, Juanfran, Miranda, Mario Suarez, Koke, Raul Garcia, Gabi, Diego, Diego Costa.
Chelsea: Cech, Cole, David Luiz, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Lampard, Mikel, Willian, Torres.
19.09 – The home side start with Thibaut Courtois between the sticks meaning the Belgian goalkeeper — currently on loan from Chelsea — comes up against his parent club.
Top scorer Diego Costa, who has scored seven goals in this season’s competition, is named up front after missing the quarter-final second leg against Barcelona but David Villa and Arda Turan must settle for places on the bench while Brazilian midfielder Diego comes in.
The Blues, meanwhile, start with ex-Atleti captain Fernando Torres in place of the injured Samuel Eto’o. Eden Hazard has not recovered in time to make the squad while Branislav Ivanovic is suspended.
19.13 – El Niño back in the day. He returns to the ground where he made his debut 13 years ago. Read a piece about the Torres’ past here:
Source: Press Association Images
19.35 – ITV coverage of the game begins and straight away Adrian Chiles quizzes Roy Keane on the Moyes sacking.
“Some of the players should be ashamed of themselves,” says Ireland’s assistant manager. He adds that he believes Moyes should have been given more time by United.
19.45 – The home fans are making plenty of noise and have turned the stadium red and white…
Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images
19.48 – Here we go then. Atleti are in their traditional red and white stripes with blue shorts while Chelsea wearing their all black away strip.
19.50 – The first shot of the game goes the way of the Spaniards. Diego picks up the ball 30 yards out and tries his luck but it’s well wide.
19.53 – Play has stopped as Raul Garcia is downed injured. The Spanish attacker seems okay though and will be able to continue.
19.59 – Terry swings a leg to clear the ball and follows through to catch Diego Costa slightly. The striker, who rarely shies away from an on-field battle, lets Terry know that he is in for a long night with a shoulder barge.
Source: Bleacher Report
20.01 – According to the statos over at Squawka, Atletico have made 61 passes so far in comparison to just 10 from Chelsea.
We’re 13 minutes in and they have yet to get going at all.
20.04 – Petr Cech looks to have done himself some damage while betting a corner away. The medical staff are on while substitute goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer is warming up…
20.07 – Cech’s night is over and 41-year-old Schwarzer (the second oldest player to ever play in the Champions League) has replaced the Chelsea number one. His first task is to defend a corner but an Atletico player sends a header wide.
Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images
20.08 – Chelsea win a corner of their own and Gary Cahill makes decent connection. The centre-half can’t direct it on target, however.
20.12 – Atletico attempt to work an opening but the ball is intercepted by David Luiz, who has been sitting in front of Chelsea’s back four. He tries to clear before Garcia pokes the ball away from him but referee Jonas Eriksson rules that the Brazilian has been fouled and awards a free to Chelsea.
20.16 – A super run from Willian through the middle gives Chelsea a rare chance with Ramires in possession 20 yards from goal. He opts to shoot early but gets his angles all wrong and the opportunity is wasted.
20.17 – This would be a much more entertaining spectacle than the opening half hour here:
20.20 – Garcia beats Cole in the air but heads over the bar. We’ve yet to have a shot on target so far.
20.23 – Mario Suarez finds himself in space a long way out from goal and strikes a curling effort. It appears to be going just wide but Schwarzer makes sure by making a finger-tip save. Despite that, a goal-kick is given.
20.29 – Half-chance for Atleti as Diego Costa kills a pass with his chest and fires a volley at goal. Cesar Azpilicueta gets his body in front to the shot to make a vital block.
20.33 – Four additional minutes to be played.
20.34 – Diego cuts in onto his left foot and drives a low shot right at Schwarzer, who makes a routine save. At least it was on target, I suppose!
20.37 – Half-time: Atletico Madrid 0-0 Chelsea
20.43 – Well that was hardly a classic 45 minutes. Chelsea seem content to park the bus with Torres being left far too isolated while Atletico have been confined to half-chances.
If you’re looking for something to keep you busy during the interval, why not remember when Torres’ better days by watching his 91 goals for Atleti:
20.54 – And we’re back.
20.56 – Courtois is called into action from a well-struck Frank Lampard effort. Then John Obi Mikel heads clear from a dangerous cross into the Chelsea box.
20.58 – We’re stopped again as David Luiz is down holding his jaw after a clash with Diego. It looks to be a spot of theatrics though and he will be fine to continue.
21.03 – Schwarzer comes to punch but only sends it as far as Diego, who steps inside his man and drills low. The Australian makes up for the less-than-convincing clearance by collecting the resulting shot.
21.08 – For the first time tonight, Torres takes possession and has a run at a couple of defenders. He makes a few years then checks inside and curls a shot at goal. Courtois collects.
Diego’s looping shot isn’t far away moments later but that will be his last involvement as the Brazilian has been replaced by Turkish captain Arda Turan… which means Ashley Colet no long has the most impressive beard on the pitch.
Source: Paul White/AP/Press Association Images & Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images
21.12 – Frank Lampard catches the new man Turan late and picks up the game’s first yellow card. That caution means the veteran midfielder is out of the second leg next at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday.
21.14 – Turan has injected some urgency in Atleti’s play and Mikel is forced to head clear from another inviting cross.
21.17 – There could be more bad news for Chelsea as John Terry looks in some discomfort after appearing to hurt his ankle.
21.20 – Terry is limping off with the help of Chelsea’s doctors as Andre Schurrle warming up on the touchline. The substitution will see Luiz most likely drop back into defence.
Source: TV3 Player
21.24 – There goes two more players out of the second leg. Lampard, already on a booking, handles the ball, prompting the Atletico players to call for a second yellow card. A bit of handbags follows and the referee books Gabi and Mikel.
21.26 – Juanfran whips the ball in and Garcia stretches for the header but it proves slightly too high.
21.28 – Juanfran gets another cross in and Turan arrives at the back post. His attempt is off target though.
Simeone has taken off Mario Suarez and replaced him with Jose Sosa. 10 minutes on the clock.
21.34 – David Villa has been thrown on for the final five minutes plus time added on.
21.37 – Miranda picks up a yellow for taking down Torres just outside the box and Chelsea have a great chance to nick one from a set-piece with a minute of normal time remaining.
21.37 – Luiz to hit it. He gets the ball up and over the wall but not back down in time.
21.38 – And we’ll have five added minutes.
21.41 – Costa heads towards goal after a Gabi through ball but Schwarzer is well-placed to collect. It looks like Chelsea will be taking a 0-0 back to Stamford Bridge.
21.44 – Full-time: Atletico Madrid 0-0 Chelsea
21.50 – Call it a tactical masterclass, parking the bus, 90 minutes that you’ll never get back… whatever.
The facts are that Chelsea will be happy to take a 0-0 into the second leg while Atletico are likely to be pleased with the fact that they didn’t concede an away goal.
It certainly wasn’t one for the neutrals but knowing Jose Mourinho, it is hardly surprising.