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Chelsea 1-1 Atletico Madrid: Visitors down and out in London

Atletico Madrid suffered a Champions League group-stage exit after a 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Diego Simeone made three changes to the side that beat Real Sociedad, by replacing Diego Godin, Angel Correa and Kevin Gamerio with Stefan Savic, Lucas Hernandez and Fernando Torres.

Antonio Conte also made three changes to his side that had beaten Newcastle. Antonio Rudiger, Danny Drinkwater and Marcos Alonso were replaced with Gary Cahill, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Davide Zappacosta.

Although Atletico were dominating the possession, it was Chelsea who had the majority of the first half chances, with opportunities falling to Alvaro Morata, Eden Hazard and Zappacosta, but Atletico’s goalkeeper Jan Oblak produced some magnificent saves to keep the ball out of the net.

In the second period, Chelsea still lead the chances, and should’ve gone ahead through Danish defender Andreas Christensen from Hazard’s cross from a short corner.

Felipe Luis struck the woodwork from range, before Saul Niguez attempted to head the rebound beyond Thibaut Courtois, but the Belgian was quick to react.

Madrid took the lead on the 56th minute mark through Saul. Atletico’s corner was flicked on at the near post by former Chelsea marksman Fernando Torres and the ball was met by an unmarked Saul Niguez, who headed the ball into an empty net.

On the other side of Europe, at the exact same time, Roma had taken the lead against FC Qarabag through Diego Perotti, meaning that Atletico Madrid were heading out anyway.

Ten minutes later, substitute Pedro was extremely close to equalising for the hosts, Victor Moses with some magnificent work on the flank before putting the ball into the box. Pedro’s flicked shot was heading beyond Oblak but was well saved on the line by Jose Gimenez and Oblak gathered.

Chelsea did deservedly find the equaliser after 75 minutes, although in rather unfortunate fashion for Los Rojiblancos. Chelsea’s initial corner was cleared to the dangerman Hazard, his shot was deflected off the boot of Savic and was the ball was diverted past Oblak.

Two minutes later, Morata should’ve put the hosts ahead. Cesc Fabregas was played through into goal, his squared pass found Morata unmarked who had time and space to finsih. But, Oblak made himself big and managed to produce a stunning save with his foot.

Substitute Willian was handed, what should’ve been a guaranteed goal. Hazard once again worked his magic and his pull back across goal found Willian in acres of space, but he skied the ball into the upper tier.

For all of Griezmann’s qualities, positioning may not be one of them. Renowned as one of the World’s elite strikers, he never seems to find himself in the natural centre forward’s position and it was proven tonight, Luciano Vietto’s cross was begging to be met by someone to tap into an empty net, but Griezmann was nowhere to be found.

Four minutes of added time was shown on the fourth official’s board, and Chelsea should’ve secured victory, two minutes into added time. Fabregas’ pass found Michy Batshuayi and his shot was looking destined for the top corner, but it gradually curved away from goal and went just wide.

Atletico Madrid wouldn’t have qualified anyway, because Roma managed to beat FC Qarabag, instead Madrid will drop down into the Europa League knock-out stages, whilst Chelsea will progress into the Champions League knock-out stages, having finished second of Group C, so they could face the best sides in the competition in the next phase.

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