Olivier Giroud’s second-half bicycle kick handed Chelsea the advantage in their last-16 Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid as they edged a 1-0 win over Diego Simeone’s men on Tuesday night.
A dominant performance on the ball from the Blues saw them take a 1-0 lead heading into the second-leg, and also clinch a very important away goal.
Giroud gave Chelsea the lead in the 71st minute with an incredible bicycle kick past Jan Oblak which proved to be the difference in Romania.
It was a frantic start to the game in Romania and within the first minute, Chelsea already received their first blow. Mason Mount was booked for a foul which ruled him out of the second-leg.
It was a nervy beginning from Thomas Tuchel’s side and it was evident. Trying to play out from the back nearly saw Edouard Mendy give away a penalty after a heavy touch in his box.
Chelsea’s passing was off as was there defending. The story of the early beginning to the game. Lots of the ball but shaky. Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger failed to deal with a simple in-behind ball, but fortunately Luis Suarez didn’t take advantage of the Blues’ poor defending.
The second half was more of the same as it became clear that it would take something special or something lucky to break the deadlock. We got both at once, with Giroud scoring from a spectacular overhead kick thanks to a lucky bounce off a defender. The goal was initially ruled out for offside, but VAR eventually decided that it was good. (Belated replays eventually showed that the defender simply misplayed his clearance under pressure from Mount.)
Atleti tried to switch to a more attacking style in the wake of the goal, but Chelsea held fast for a massive victory. It wasn’t pretty, but it was never going to be.