Chelsea and Atletico in stalemate

Atletico fail to break down ultra-cautious Chelsea as their Champions League semi-final finishes in goalless draw.

    Atletico failed to create many chances in attack and the Londoners will be pleased with a draw [Getty Images]
    Atletico failed to create many chances in attack and the Londoners will be pleased with a draw [Getty Images]

    Atletico Madrid and Chelsea drew 0-0 in their Champions League semi-final first leg after the Spanish side failed to break down their ultra-cautious visitors at the Calderon.

    The Spaniards, through to the last four of Europe's elite club competition for the first time in 40 years, dominated the defence-minded 2012 winners but were unable to carve out an advantage ahead of next week's return leg at Stamford Bridge.

    There was another cracking atmosphere before kickoff at the 55,000-capacity stadium, where the fans have been flocking to enjoy what is easily the Madrid club's best season in almost 20 years.

    Atletico coach Diego Simeone deployed an attacking formation with Diego Costa leading the line supported by attacking midfielder Raul Garcia and Diego and Koke providing the creative impetus just behind.

    Mourinho's containment plan

    Jose Mourinho, by contrast, had containment in mind, with former Atletico captain Fernando Torres alone up front and defender David Luiz in a holding role in a five-man midfield.

    The Portuguese coach had obviously instructed his players to sit back and try to catch Atletico on the break and they were happy to let the home side have the ball in a first half short on entertainment.

    Chelsea were forced to make an early change when Cech was knocked to the ground by a tumbling Raul Garcia at a corner and he was helped off clutching his right arm.

    Australian Schwarzer, 41, making only his second Champions League appearance, became the oldest player to feature in the knockout phase.

    With almost the entire Chelsea team behind the ball, the hosts managed only one shot on target before the break, a weak Diego effort, and the visitors none.

    The second half was a similarly cagey affair and there was more bad news for Chelsea in the 73rd minute when captain John Terry limped off after turning his ankle at a corner. 

    Home captain Gabi, who was booked and will be suspended for the return leg, said he and his team mates were not happy with the result.

    "Atletico wanted to win the match at any cost but they defended very well," Gabi told reporters.

    "We knew they wouldn't want to concede a goal and I think Atletico played a much more attacking game."


    SOURCE: Reuters


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