Final, 3-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico Madrid wins semifinal 3-1 on aggregate): It’s all over. Atletico Madrid has beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, earning a place in the 2014 Champions League final.
Atletico Madrid added two second-half goals to the one it scored in the first half in its comprehensive victory over Chelsea. Lopez’s goal put Chelsea on the ropes, Costa’s penalty kick knocked the Blues down, and Turan’s goal buried them on their home turf.
As it has done all season, Atletico Madrid thrived on the passion and energy of head coach Diego Simeone and its adoring fans. The Spanish club showed great defensive resilience and attacking potency at Stamford Bridge and take a deserved place against Real Madrid in the final, an all-Madrid affair May 24 in Lisbon.
1 - Atletico Madrid are the only team unbeaten in the Champions League this season (nine wins, three draws). Elected—
(@OptaJose) April 30, 2014
Lopez scored on the stroke of halftime, and Chelsea never seemed to recover. Atletico Madrid was more assertive in the second half, and Chelsea wilted in the face of the opponents’ aggression. Luiz and Ramires didn’t offer enough going forward. Nor did any of their wingers and forward players.
Chelsea was looking forward to the UEFA Europa League final at this time in 2013, and their fans will be proud of their team’s progress. However, Jose Mourinho and his players will rue the mistakes that cost them this game and see this as a missed opportunity to keep their European dreams alive.
That’s all for now, and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way on NESN.com.
90th minute +4, 3-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico Madrid leads 3-1 on aggregate): Courtois makes a fantastic kick save on Hazard’s shot.
The Belgian goalkeeper is on loan from Chelsea. Will he be making those saves at Stamford Bridge next season? We’ll see in a few months.
90th minute, 3-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico Madrid leads 3-1 on aggregate): There’s not much left in this one. Chelsea has been comprehensively beaten in this decisive second half, and Atletico Madrid will soon celebrate.
That is, after the five minutes of added time that the referee has tacked onto the game.
82nd minute, 3-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico Madrid leads 3-1 on aggregate): Rodriguez comes on for Turan, who exits to raucous acclaim from the singing, dancing Atletico Madrid fans.
76th minute, 3-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico Madrid leads 3-1 on aggregate): Atletico Madrid replaces Costa with Sosa. The Brazilian star was limping as he walked straight into the dressing room.
Chelsea removes Willian and puts Schurrle into the mix.
It would take a miracle comeback and monumental collapse for Chelsea to overturn this deficit.
72nd minute, 3-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico Madrid leads 3-1 on aggregate): Turan has put Atletico Madrid into the final with the team’s third goal of the game.
Turan headed Juanfran’s cross powerfully off the post. It caromed back to Turan, who slotted it home with ease.
The goal came with Atletico Madrid in its pomp. It was confidently passing the ball around the Chelsea half, and its fans were responding with cries of “Ole” upon each completed pass.
67th minute, 2-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico Madrid leads 2-1 on aggregate): Ba replaces Torres, as Chelsea alters its attack.
66th minute, 2-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico Madrid leads 2-1 on aggregate): Raul Garcia comes on for Atletico Madrid’s hero of the moment, Adrian Lopez.
64th minute, 2-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico Madrid leads 2-1 on aggregate): Adrian Lopez is cautioned for a foul on Hazard.
64th minute, 2-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico Madrid leads 2-1 on aggregate): Luiz heads Willian’s free kick off the post, as Chelsea nearly claws one back.
60th minute, 2-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico Madrid leads 2-1 on aggregate): Costa shakes off the spot trouble and yellow card and puts his spot kick past Schwarzer into goal.
Atletico Madrid now has a commanding lead.
59th minute, 1-1 (series tied 1-1 on aggregate, Atletico Madrid ahead on away goals): Eto’o fouls Costa in the box. The referee awards a penalty to Atletico Madrid.
Costa looks like he’s having a problem with the penalty spot itself. The referee then cautions Costa for time wasting.
54th minute, 1-1 (series tied 1-1 on aggregate, Atletico Madrid ahead on away goals): Eto’o comes on for Cole, as Mourinho makes his first change.
It’s a bold one, too. Azpilicueta will slot into the left back position. Hazard and Willian will assume wide roles ahead of Ramires and Luiz in the midfield. It looks like Torres and Eto’o will play as twin strikers.
53rd minute, 1-1 (series tied 1-1 on aggregate, Atletico Madrid ahead on away goals): Terry powerfully heads Willian’s free kick on goal. Courtois makes a good, diving save before Juanfran clears the danger.
48th minute, 1-1 (series tied 1-1 on aggregate, Atletico Madrid ahead on away goals): Turan volleys a powerful shot on goal, but Schwarzer knocks it over the crossbar.
A second goal for Atletico Madrid effectively would bury Chelsea’s chances of winning this.
46th minute, 1-1 (series tied 1-1 on aggregate, Atletico Madrid ahead on away goals): The second half is under way.
Halftime, 1-1 (series tied 1-1 on aggregate, Atletico Madrid ahead on away goals): The score is tied after the first frame, but Atletico Madrid has taken the advantage with 45 minutes remaining in this epic series.
It was a hard-fought half of pulsating, top-level soccer, and the goals breathed new life into the contest. Torres started the drama by scoring against the club that produced him. Atletico Madrid dialed up the intensity after the goal and earned its reward with a strike of its own, courtesy of the understated Lopez.
Chelsea must score again if it wants to advance. How the Blues go about doing so will say a lot about Mourinho. The further forward Chelsea presses, the more space opens up into which Atletico Madrid can launch counter-attacks. Does Mourinho play to the strengths of his foe Simeone? Or does he tell his players to be patient, stick to the game plan and believe in their ability to score? At what point does desperation set in for both players and manager? We’re about to find out.
44th minute, 1-1 (1-1 on aggregate, Atletico Madrid ahead on away goals): Adrian Lopez has tied the game and given Atletico Madrid an advantage — one minute before halftime.
Tiago floated a diagonal ball deep into the area. Juanfran ran onto the pass and and hit it from the goal line (past Terry and Cole) back across the face of goal. It came to Adrian Lopez, who beat the diving Schwarzer with a right-footed shot.
43rd minute, 1-0 Chelsea (Chelsea leads 1-0 on aggregate): Needing one goal to advance, Atletico Madrid has kept on its front foot after Torres broke the deadlock.
42nd minute, 1-0 Chelsea (Chelsea leads 1-0 on aggregate): Lopez heads on goal, but it goes straight to Schwarzer.
36th minute, 1-0 Chelsea (Chelsea leads 1-0 on aggregate): Torres puts Chelsea ahead. The former Atletico Madrid captain refuses to celebrate after scoring a huge goal against his boyhood club.
Tom Kell (@UEFAcomTomK) April 30, 2014
Willian did well to keep control in the corner before laying it off to Azpilicueta, who sent a low cross into the penalty area. Torres ran onto it and banged his shot past Courtois.
31st minute, 0-0 (tied 0-0 on aggregate): The referee cautions Cahill for a foul on Costa.
23rd minute, 0-0 (tied 0-0 on aggregate): Luiz nearly scores the goal of the century, but he can’t put his bicycle kick on target.
Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 30, 2014
19th minute, 0-0 (tied 0-0 on aggregate): Atletico Madrid dispossesses Chelsea in its half and turns it into a goal-scoring opportunity. But Cahill’s last-ditch block on Costa’s shot keeps thing even.
13th minute, 0-0 (tied 0-0 on aggregate): There’s a brief lull in the action as Chelsea defenders pass the ball among themselves near the halfway line. But it’s important.
Chelsea is trying to draw Atletico Madrid out of its shell and provoke the visitors into coming forward. This would open space in the final third into which Chelsea can attack.
These teams are even technically and tactically. Chelsea might have a slight physical advantage, having rotated players and played more “anti-football” in the last week. How both teams cope with the pressure most likely will determine the outcome of this game. Both must be as patient as possible and stick to its game plan longer than its opponent.
Seventh minute, 0-0 (tied 0-0 on aggregate): It’s a real battle out there, as both sides are pressuring one another and showing full commitment in their tackles.
Fifth minute, 0-0 (tied 0-0 on aggregate): After an early corner kick, Koke hits the crossbar with a cross that turned into a shot (or vice versa).
Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 30, 2014
First minute, 0-0 (tied 0-0 on aggregate): The game is under way at Stamford Bridge following a minute’s applause for recently deceased former coaches of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
A minute of respect was observed in memory of coaches Tito Vilanova and Vujadin Boškov, who both died in recent days.—
Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 30, 2014
Pregame: The starting lineups are in.
Chelsea appears to be lining up conservatively, as Ivanovic and Cole man the fullback positions, while Azpilicueta moves from his natural fullback position to one of the wide midfield slots. Expect him and Hazard to interchange if and when circumstances compel Mourinho to make them do so.
The Chelsea manager is playing it safe, at least at the outset, and leaving little to chance. The Blues appear impenetrable on set pieces due to the presences of Ivanovic and Luiz, alongside the fit-again Terry and Cahill.
After recovering from injury, Hazard is playing for the first time since April 8. The Belgian might not be at his best, meaning the result could swing on the performances of Willian and Torres. Chelsea needs their quality, not industry, to shine if they want to score against the tightest defense in this season’s Champions League (having conceded five goals in 11 games).
Tiago starts in the center of Atletico Madrid’s midfield. The 32-year-old Portuguese international is an old friend of Mourinho’s, having played one season for him at Chelsea in 2004-05 before moving to French club Lyon. The occasion shouldn’t sway him, as he has much experience.
Adrian Lopez is a surprise starter for the visitors. The 26-year-old has played 71 minutes of Champions League soccer in 2014. He lines up as a second forward behind Costa. Simeone has a rich array of attacking options on his bench, which Atletico can rely on if it needs a “Plan B.”
Chelsea’s Luiz will be suspended for the final if he picks up a yellow card. The same goes for Atletico Madrid’s Juanfran and Koke.
2 p.m.: Here are the lineups:
Mark Schwarzer (23), goalkeeper
Branislav Ivanovic (2), right back
Gary Cahill (24), center back
John Terry (26), center back
Ashley Cole (3), left back
David Luiz (4), midfielder
Ramires (7), midfielder
Cesar Azpilicueta (28), midfielder
Willian (22), midfielder
Eden Hazard (17), midfielder
Fernando Torres (9), striker
Tomas Kalas (33), defender
Marco van Ginkel (16), midfielder
Oscar (11), midfielder
Andre Schurrle (14), forward
Demba Ba (19), striker
Samuel Eto’o (29), striker
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
Tiago (5), midfielder
Arda Turan (10), midfielder
Koke (6), midfielder
Adrian Lopez (7), forward
Diego Costa (19), striker
Daniel Aranzubia (1), goalkeeper
Toby Alderweireld (12), defender
Raul Garcia (8), midfielder
Cristian Rodríguez (11), midfielder
Jose Sosa (24), midfielder
Diego (26), forward
David Villa (9), striker
Noon ET: Two self-proclaimed “underdogs” will meet Wednesday at Stamford Bridge with a place in the UEFA Champions League final at stake.
The result of the two-game semifinal series between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid hangs in the balance after the goalless draw in last week’s first leg. The winner will face Real Madrid in the final May 24 in Lisbon.
Chelsea hopes its fervent crowd and vast experience will spur it on to a place in the final for the third season in a row. The Blues, who are two points off the pace in the Premier League, have the talent, resources and ambition to cement themselves as royalty both in England and Europe. Yet manager Jose Mourinho insists they are underdogs and often has them play like one against top competition.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid has emerged from the shadow of its more famous city rival and taken Spanish and European soccer by storm. Head coach Diego Simeone has led his team of “hungry rookies” (according to suspended club captain Gabi) to the brink of glory in both La Liga (Spain’s first division) and the Champions League. Atletico Madrid has rode its stingy defense to the semifinal of Europe’s elite soccer competition for the first time in 40 years. Chelsea will test Atletico Madrid’s true potential.
The game kicks off at 2:45 p.m. Join us right here for all the action from Stamford Bridge.
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