• Saturday, August 23, 2014

UEFA Champions League

Atletico storm into final

Afp, London
Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa (L) celebrates with teammate Koke (C) after scoring his team's second goal from a penalty during their 3-1 win over Chelsea in the Champions League semifinal second leg match at Stamford Bridge in London yesterday. PHOTO: AFP
Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa (L) celebrates with teammate Koke (C) after scoring his team's second goal from a penalty during their 3-1 win over Chelsea in the Champions League semifinal second leg match at Stamford Bridge in London yesterday. PHOTO: AFP

Atletico Madrid set up a Champions League final against city rivals Real Madrid after coming from behind to win 3-1 at Chelsea in their semifinal second leg on Wednesday.
After a 0-0 draw in the first leg, former Atletico striker Fernando Torres put Chelsea ahead in the 36th minute at Stamford Bridge, but the London club were to lead the tie for only eight minutes. Adrian Lopez scrambled home an equaliser shortly before half-time and second-half goals by Diego Costa, from the penalty spot, and Arda Turan sealed Atletico's place in their first European Cup final since 1974.
The early stages of the match proved every bit as cagey as last week's first leg, but nine minutes from half-time Chelsea seized the initiative.
After Willian ran into a blind alley on the right flank, Azpilicueta followed up with a low cross that Torres steered past Thibaut Courtois via a deflection off Mario Suarez. The former darling of the Vicente Calderon made a point of not celebrating, holding his hands in the air in apology, but Stamford Bridge celebrated with abandon.
It was the first goal that Atletico had conceded in seven games, but within the blink of an eye they were in control of the tie. Former Chelsea midfielder Tiago Mendes picked out right-back Juanfran with a floated pass to the back post and his volleyed cross bobbled between a phalanx of defenders to Adrian, who swept home.
Despite Chelsea's need for goals, it was Atletico who began the second half on top, with Schwarzer brilliantly tipping over a Turan half-volley before Mourinho sent on Samuel Eto'o in place of Ashley Cole. The Cameroon striker's introduction was intended to give the hosts greater punch in attack, but it was his contribution at the other end that was to prove telling.
Referee Nicola Rizzoli had already ignored an Atletico penalty claim when Turan was bundled over by Azpilicueta, but when Costa went down after skilfully nicking the ball past Eto'o, the Italian awarded a spot-kick.


Despite initially struggling to place the ball on the spot to his satisfaction, for which he was booked, Costa made no mistake with his shot, placing the ball into the top-left corner.
David Luiz planted a header against the post from a Willian free-kick as Chelsea pressed for an equaliser, but Turan killed the tie in the 72nd minute by tucking home after his own header came back off the bar.

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, May 01, 2014

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