Final, 0-0: The referee blows the final whistle, and the first leg of the Champions League semifinal between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea ends in a total stalemate.
Chelsea earned the result it was seeking when boarded the plane from London to Madrid. The Blues willingly conceded advantages in both possession and territory but didn’t suffer in the scoreline for it. Their approach might have bored neutrals and appalled soccer’s romantics, but they did what they came to do.
But Chelsea paid a steep price in Madrid. Cech will likely miss next week’s return leg with a suspected shoulder dislocation, and Lampard will be out due to suspension. Terry’s status is uncertain at this point. Nevertheless, Chelsea will its chances at progressing to the final next week at Stamford Bridge.
Atletico Madrid controlled the action but couldn’t find a way to beat the proverbial bus Chelsea parked in front of its goal. The hosts’ aggression and sense of adventure went unrewarded because they were not clinical enough to convert the few genuine scoring chances they created.
However, Ateltico Madrid shouldn’t be too disappointed with the outcome of the first leg. It prevented Chelsea from leaving the Calderon with a precious away goal, and its players will be confident in their own abilities after dominating Chelsea for 90 minutes. Chelsea will be more proactive in the return leg, which will open up space into which Atletico Madrid can do what it does best: counter-attack.
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90th minute +2, 0-0: Costa heads Gabi’s delivery on goal, but it goes right to Schwarzer who makes a comfortable save.
It was Costa’s best scoring chance of the game.
90th minute, 0-0: The fourth official indicates that there will be five minutes of stoppage time.
89th minute, 0-0: Miranda is cautioned after fouling Torres 20 yards from Chelsea’s goal.
86th minute, 0-0: Villa replaces Raul Garcia, as Simeone makes his final substitution.
82nd minute, 0-0: The game continues in the same scrappy and cagey veins as it unfolded in the first half.
Atletico Madrid is launching balls into Chelsea’s box from wide areas, but the Blues’ defenders are doing enough to repel their hosts’ efforts.
79th minute, 0-0: Turan comes close to breaking the deadlock with a header from close range, but it goes just wide of the near post.
76th minute, 0-0: Gabi puts a free kick on target, but Schwarzer dives to his left and knocks it away for a corner kick.
74th minute, 0-0: Tensions are reaching new heights, as both teams engage in some pushing and shoving.
Atletico Madrid wanted the referee to show Lampard a second yellow card for an apparent handball. Chelsea players didn’t appreciate their hosts attempts at influencing the referee.
The referee cautions both Gabi and Mikel for their roles in the fracas.
72nd minute, 0-0: Terry’s night ends with the injury.
Schurrle replaces Terry in Chelsea’s second substitution.
Luiz will drop into the center of defense, Ramires will slot into the midfield, and Schurrle will take up a wide role.
69th minute, 0-0: Luiz accidentally stepped on Terry’s foot, and the Chelsea captain is limping as he tries to run off the pain.
64th minute, 0-0: Lampard is cautioned for a tough slide tackle on Turan.
Lampard, 35, will be suspended for next week’s return leg due to yellow card accumulation. Lampard’s contract expires this summer, and he could leave Chelsea for pastures anew.
We could be watching Lampard’s last Champions League game, depending on how the rest of this semifinal series plays out.
60th minute, 0-0: Diego misses the target with a dipping effort from distance.
It’s his last act, as Turan replaces him.
Turan is one of Atletico Madrid’s key players. The Turkish international didn’t start this game because he has only recently recovered from a groin strain, which sidelined him since April 1.
55th minute, 0-0: Schwarzer punches an cross straight to Diego, who collects, dribbles and shoots.
Schwarzer saved Diego’s shot, but it was a nervous moment at the back for Chelsea.
50th minute, 0-0: Luiz is down with an apparent head injury after he collided with his smaller compatriot Diego.
The Brazilian defender-turned-midfielder looks like he’ll be able to run off his … ear injury.
48th minute, 0-0: Courtois saves Lampard’s sidewinder shot, as Chelsea tests Atletico Madrid in the opening stages of the second half.
46th minute, 0-0: The second half has begun with neither team making a substitution at halftime.
Halftime, 0-0: The first half ends in a stalemate, which means the game is proceeding according to Jose Mourinho’s plan.
Chelsea allowed Atletico Madrid to dominate possession and spend most of the first period in its half. The Blues are defending with 10 players at all times, as Willian and Ramires are dropping so deep they are but a few feet ahead of the Blues’ back four when Atletico Madrid attacks. Chelsea didn’t show any ambition going forward, and it seems content to limit its scoring chances to set pieces.
The onus is on Atletico Madrid to break the deadlock. The hosts are trying to find Costa’s head with crosses, but Cahill and Terry have been very good at defending them. It looks like an Atletico goal will only come from an unexpected defensive error by Chelsea or by beating Schwarzer with a long shot. Otherwise, Simeone must use the considerable talent on his bench and make a few tactical changes.
Chelsea will be delighted if the score stays this way in the second half. The Blues will take a more proactive approach next week at Stamford Bridge.
40th minute, 0-0: Atletico Madrid has a penalty appeal after Costa’s shot hits Azpilicueta’s arm.
The contact was incidental, and Atletico Madrid was never going to get that call.
35th minute, 0-0: Suarez shoots from around 25 yards out, but he can’t direct his curling effort on goal.
Chelsea dropped deep into its penalty area once again, giving Suarez time and space to shoot from distance.
30th minute, 0-0: Garcia has a dangerous-looking header from six yards out, but he puts it over the bar.
28th minute, 0-0: Willian burst forward from deep in the Chelsea half with a powerful dribble, passes to Ramires on the right, but the Brazilian shoots well wide from a tight angle.
It was Chelsea’s first threat from open play.
20th minute, 0-0: Cahill heads Lampard’s corner kick a few feet wide.
It’s likely that Chelsea’s best scoring chances will come via set pieces.
18th minute, 0-0: Schwarzer, 41, replaces the injured Cech.
The Australian becomes the oldest player to appear in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, overtaking former Manchester United ‘keeper Edwin van der Saar.
15th minute, 0-0: Cech is down in his goal after punching away an Atletico Madrid corner kick.
Luiz pushed Garcia into Cech, which took out the Chelsea goalkeeper’s legs as he was jumping and caused him to land on his right arm.
Ninth minute, 0-0: Chelsea is defending deep in its own half, allowing Atletico Madrid to control possession early on.
The risky strategy has worked so far, as Atletico Madrid is struggling to capitalize on its territorial advantage.
Atletico Madrid specializes in counter-attacking, so Chelsea’s tactics could put their opponents in an unusual situation.
Fifth minute, 0-0: It’s been a nervy start, as neither team has established any rhythm to its play.
That might not be such a bad thing from Chelsea’s perspective.
First minute, 0-0: The game is under way amid a din at the Calderon.
Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) April 22, 2014
Pregame: Atletico Madrid has a great chance at striking first blood, as Chelsea fields a depleted lineup.
Chelsea is without Hazard and Ivanovich — two of its leading lights this season — due to injury and suspension, respectively.
Azpilicueta switches back to his natural position, while Cole makes his long-awaited return to the starting 11.
Luiz mans a holding midfield role behind Lampard and Obi Mikel. The Chelsea trio will have plenty of work to do, as Atletico Madrid’s up-tempo and aggressive style will see it attack in numbers. The onus will be on Ramires and Willian to remain focused defensively.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid is going with Diego instead of Villa as Costa’s partner. Diego scored a key goal in the quarterfinal victory over Barcelona.
2:30 p.m.: Here are the lineups:
Thibaut Courtois (13), goalkeeper
Juanfran (20), right back
Miranda (23), center back
Diego Godin (2), center back
Filipe Luis (3), left back
Mario Suarez (4), midfielder
Gabi (14), midfielder
Koke (6), midfielder
Raul Garcia (8), midfielder
Diego (26), forward
Diego Costa (19), striker
Daniel Aranzubia (1), goalkeeper
Toby Alderweireld (12), defender
Tiago (5), midfielder
Arda Turan (10), midfielder
Cristian Rodríguez (11), midfielder
Jose Sosa (24), midfielder
David Villa (9), striker
Petr Cech (1), goalkeeper
Cesar Azpilicueta (28), right back
Gary Cahill (24), center back
John Terry (26), center back
Ashley Cole (3), left back
David Luiz (4), midfielder
Frank Lampard (8), midfielder
John Obi Mikel (12), midfielder
Ramires (7), midfielder
Willian (22), midfielder
Fernando Torres (9), striker
Mark Schwarzer (23), goalkeeper
Tomas Kalas (33), defender
Nathan Ake (57), defender
Oscar (11), midfielder
Marco van Ginkel (16), midfielder
Andre Schurrle (14), forward
Demba Ba (19), striker
2 p.m. ET: The UEFA Champions League semifinals begin Tuesday when Atletico Madrid hosts Chelsea FC at the Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid in the first leg of their two-game series.
Atletico Madrid has surprised many by reaching the last four of European soccer’s elite competition. It has emerged from the shadow of its more illustrious neighbor, Real Madrid, this season and is competing in its first Champions League semifinal since 1974 — when the competition was known simply as the “European Cup.”
Guided by head coach Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid is unbeaten in this season’s Champions League thanks to a stingy defense (which has conceded five goals in 10 games) and the goal-scoring exploits of striker Diego Costa. Goalkeeper Thibault Courtois, who is on loan from Chelsea, will look to deny the Blues another trip to the final.
Meanwhile, Chelsea has become mainstay in this stage of the competition. It has reached its seventh semifinal in the last 11 seasons. Having led two clubs to Champions-League glory, manager Jose Mourinho wants to take the Blues all the way in his second debut season in their dugout.
Mourinho will rely on striker Fernando Torres (who graduated from Atletico Madrid’s youth system) for goals, as winger Eden Hazard and striker Samuel Eto’o are injured.
Tuesday’s game kicks off at 2:45 p.m. Join us right here, as we’ll bring you all the action from the Vicente Calderón Stadium.