Chelsea faced Atletico Madrid at the Arena Nationala in Bucharest, Romania in the away leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 encounter. Olivier Giroud scored a stunning overhead kick in the 71st minute to secure the win for the visiting side.
Chelsea came into the game on the back of a 7 game unbeaten run since the appointment of German tactician, Thomas Tuchel, and were up against an Atletico Madrid side that are on top of the Spanish La Liga. Atletico Madrid looked like they were set up to soak the pressure and play on the counter in the game as they left Chelsea frustrates time and again in the first half of the game. Chelsea did not find joy in the game despite playing the lion’s share of the match inside the Atletico Madrid half of the pitch. It took a moment of pure inspiration from French striker, Olivier Giroud to settle the game after a quick Chelsea counted saw the ball inadvertently launched into the air by Atletico Madrid centre back, Stefan Savic. Giroud adjusted his body superbly and sent a brilliant overhead effort beyond the despairing Jan Oblak in the Atletico goal, and into the back of the net. The goal was awarded after a long VAR check, and was Giroud’s sixth in the Champions League this season. The Frenchman has developed a knack for scoring extraordinary goals, with one of his efforts having been awarded the Puskas award for best goal of the year in 2017.
The win was Chelsea’s first away knockout win in the Champions League since their final win against Bayern Munich in 2012, and their first knockout win of any sort in the Champions League since 2014. Chelsea are the only English side to defeat Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid side away from home and have now done it twice. They would now take the away goal and win advantage into the second leg in three weeks’ time. It remains to be seen whether the game will be held at Stamford Bridge or if a neutral venue would be used for the game due to COVID restrictions.