UCL: Chelsea through to first quarterfinal in eight years


Chelsea are through to the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in eight years as they beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 in the second leg to follow up on their first leg 1-0 win to go through 3-0 on aggregate. In the second match of the day, defending champions, Bayern Munich, won their second leg 2-1 to go through 6-2 on aggregates.

The Blues’ two goals came from Hakim Ziyech in the first half and Emerson with his first touch of the ball in the fifth minute of added-on time in the second.

Thomas Tuchel’s team have now gone 540 minutes without conceding in all competition in a 13-match unbeaten run since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in January and they looked superior to Diego Simeone’s Atletico over the two legs. Just like Rio Ferdinand said in punditry, “this Chelsea team have become very stingy at the back and have become a very hard team to play”. Chelsea bossed possession and created enough chances to be hosed and dry before the last minute when they got a second goal on a breakaway.

Atletico will blame their ouster on their lacklustre performance from the first leg. They will also moan about a penalty they thought Cesar Azpilicueta gave away when he pulled Yannick Carrasco in the box after he gave a short back pass. If the foul had been called, he would have been sent off and a penalty awarded. But Italian referee Daniele Orsato waved play on and VAR failed to intervene and Chelsea got lucky twice.

This incident would have breathed life into Atletico’s quest, playing against a 10-man Chelsea team but it was Simeone’s team that was reduced to 10 when Stefan Savic elbowed Antonio Rudiger in the chest after the referee had warned both players on 81 minutes.

The win will surely have pleased Chelsea’s owner, Roman Abramovich, because the Blues were dominant over the team that knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League last season.

Bayern look good to defend their title

In Munich, Bayern confirmed their passage after doing all the work from the first leg from which they had a 4-1 lead. They added to that lead from the penalty spot on 33 minutes after Vedat Muriqi was adjudged to have pushed Leon Goretzka in a corner kick situation.

Robert Lewandowski stepped up and scored-his 37th for the season. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who came on for Lewandowski added a second in the 73rd from a great David Alaba pass that dissected Lazio’s defensive high line.

The Italians got their consolation on 82 minutes through Marco Parolo, who got a header from an Andreas Pereira cross.

The eight quarterfinalists are Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Manchester City, PSG, Porto, and Real Madrid-two German teams, three English teams and one each from Portugal, France, and Spain. The draw for the quarterfinal pairing and the semi-final slots will be made on Friday.

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