For the first time in its fifty nine years history, two teams from the same European city-Madrid, will clash in the finals of the most prestigious global club competitions after Atletico of Madrid outplayed Chelsea in a 3-1 thriller at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday April 30 2014. The Spanish title contenders will play against their arch rivals Real Madrid on May 24 2014 at the Estado do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in Lisbon, Portugal after Real humbled cup holders Bayern Munich in their backyard on April 29th 2014. Real Madrid successfully stopped the German teams’ attempt to win the title back to back for the first time in its history.
Though the UEFA finals has been played by teams from the same country five times before, Real Madrid and Atletico will now be the only team from the same city whose fans will watch a European cup Derby though they will have to travel to Portugal for the match.
Critics are now attacking the defensive tactics that Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho adopted on the night with his decision to field six defendants, a tactic that worked well in his last game against Liverpool but proved ineffective against fast playing Atletico. Chelsea started off scoring at the 36th minute when Fernando Torres found the net following a deflection from Miranda. However, Atletico’s Adrian cancelled out Torres goal a minute before halftime following excellent coordination between a Tiago left hand side cross, a Juanfran dribble and a pass to Adrian who simple had the easiest of tasks to score.
After the match resumed for the second half, Mourinho must have thought he had a winner when he replaced Ashley Cole with Samuel Eto’o Fils at the 54th minute. Four minutes later, that substitution proved a tactical mistake when Eto’o tackled Diego Costa in the box. The Spanish striker converted the penalty into the second goal after picking a yellow card for wasting time. Thereafter, the Chelsea team was disorientated and despite replacing Torres with Demba Ba, its attack line had problems penetrating the Atletico defence. Arda Turan sealed Chelsea’s hope with a third goal at the 70th minute following a rebound after his initial header stroke the bar.
Gracious in defeat, Jose Mourinho in his post match interview described Atletico as “ … a very good side and also what they are doing in the Spanish league is fantastic. I congratulate them”. He refused to blame his players for the defeat particularly Samuel Eto’o Fils whose tackle led to the penalty and second goal that technically sealed Chelsea’s hope of playing the finals. Mourinho maintained the penalty was the game changer and without that, Chelsea had a fair chance to win. He accepted the two Madrid rivals were the best in the competitions and the finals will be great to watch.
With the premiership title now only a distant dream for Chelsea, Mourinho is already planning for next season and has said some changes will be made to his squad. Samuel Eto’o who signed only a one year contract with the Blues, might be one of the attackers who might leave the team at the end of the season
Schwarzer, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry,Cole, Ramires, Luiz. Willian, Azpilicueta, Hazard, Torres Subsitutes. Eto’o, Schurrle, Demba Ba
Courtois, Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Filipe Luis, Koke, Tiago, Mario Suarez, Turan. Diego Costa, Adrian. Substitutes. Raul Garcia, Sosa