Chelsea draw raises prospect of Barca or PSG in last 16

Saul Niguez

Atletico managed only three efforts on target, but were able to frustrate the hosts

Chelsea face the prospect of meeting either Barcelona or Paris St-Germain in the Champions League last 16 after they were held to a draw by Atletico Madrid and missed out on top spot in their group.

As it stands, Turkish side Besiktas are the only other possible opponents for the Blues in the knockout stages.

Chelsea had dominated until the opening goal, with Alvaro Morata going close and Eden Hazard almost weaving through the visiting defence.

But Saul Niguez escaped the attentions of Tiemoue Bakayoko to plant home a header from Fernando Torres’ near-post flick-on after 56 minutes.

Chelsea piled forward as time ebbed away, and Stefan Savic turned Eden Hazard’s cross into his own net as the pressure told.

But, with Roma beating Qarabag in the Italian capital, Chelsea could not find the second goal and the victory needed to regain the lead in Group C.

Chelsea’s knockout equation

Diego Simeone and Antonio Conte<!–

Diego Simeone and Antonio Conte (right) were animated figures in the final 15 minutes with both their sides pushing for victory

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte might well say that his side will need to beat the best anyway to lift the trophy.

Spartak Moscow or Sevilla may yet become possible opponents if Wednesday evening’s matches change the standings in Group E, where Liverpool currently lead the way.

But the unsettling prospect of taking on either free-spending PSG or five-time champions Barcelona over two legs hung over Stamford Bridge at the final whistle.

Chelsea had plenty of chances to leap-frog back over Roma in the group with Morata and substitutes Willian and Michy Batshuayi all missing glorious chances in a frenetic final 15 minutes.

Against Besiktas, whose last taste of Champions League knockout football was in the 1992-93 season, such attacking invention should be enough.

Whether it would undo one of the continent’s superpowers is far less clear.

The end of the road for Atletico

Atletico Madrid leave the field after a draw with Chelsea<!–

Atletico Madrid will compete in the Europa League for the first time since 2013

For Atletico Madrid, the draw marked the end of a curiously weak Champions League campaign.

The damage had been done to the Spanish side, semi-finalists last season and runners-up in two of the last four, long before this creditable point however.

Draws at home and away to Azerbaijani underdogs Qarabag earlier in the campaign ultimately left them with too much ground to make up as they finished four points shy of Roma and Chelsea.

The club’s new Wanda Metropolitano stadium will instead host Europa League football in 2018. Former Chelsea striker Diego Costa, currently ineligible because of a ban on Atletico registering new players, will be available by then.

His new club, toothless at Stamford Bridge, could do with his trademark snarl. Antoine Griezmann, who has scored seven goals in an underwhelming campaign, lurked wide and dropped deep, but rarely threatened.

Instead it was strike-partner Torres, on the return to the club where he scored 46 goals in 172 games, who provided the more telling touch, setting up Niguez’s goal before departing to a standing ovation from both sets of fans.

Hazard ahead

Eden Hazard takes on Atletico Madrid<!–

Hazard was a constant menace to the Atletico defence

A report in the Times newspaper earlier in the day claimed that Hazard was holding off on a £300,000-a-week contract with Chelsea, concerned that signing would spell the end of any chance of joining Real Madrid.

The 26-year-old, who has two-and-half years to run on his current deal, took his chance to impress against Real’s city rivals.

The Belgian’s dribbling ability frequently left defenders in his wake and wide open space for his team-mates to exploit.

One superb slaloming run early in the second half took him to the heart of the Atletico box, only for Hazard to see his finish deflect wide off a despairing visitor.

As one of few potential successors to Lionel Messi and Cristano Ronaldo as the world’s best, his negotiating position, whether in English or Spanish, grew a little stronger.

Live Text

Match ends, Chelsea 1, Atlético de Madrid 1.

Second Half ends, Chelsea 1, Atlético de Madrid 1.

Offside, Chelsea. Willian tries a through ball, but Eden Hazard is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Cesc Fàbregas.

Offside, Atlético de Madrid. Antoine Griezmann tries a through ball, but Ángel Correa is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Ángel Correa (Atlético de Madrid) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Luciano Vietto.

Offside, Atlético de Madrid. Jan Oblak tries a through ball, but Antoine Griezmann is caught offside.

Corner, Atlético de Madrid. Conceded by Gary Cahill.

Foul by Victor Moses (Chelsea).

Yannick Carrasco (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Victor Moses (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Yannick Carrasco (Atlético de Madrid).

Attempt missed. Willian (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

Foul by Victor Moses (Chelsea).

Yannick Carrasco (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution, Chelsea. Michy Batshuayi replaces Álvaro Morata.

Substitution, Atlético de Madrid. Luciano Vietto replaces José Giménez.

Attempt missed. Thomas Partey (Atlético de Madrid) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Saúl Ñíguez.

Substitution, Atlético de Madrid. Ángel Correa replaces Gabi.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by José Giménez.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by José Giménez.

Attempt saved. Álvaro Morata (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Cesc Fàbregas.

Own Goal by Stefan Savic, Atlético de Madrid. Chelsea 1, Atlético de Madrid 1.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Saúl Ñíguez.

Substitution, Chelsea. Willian replaces Davide Zappacosta.

Offside, Atlético de Madrid. Jan Oblak tries a through ball, but Antoine Griezmann is caught offside.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Jan Oblak (Atlético de Madrid) because of an injury.

Attempt saved. Álvaro Morata (Chelsea) right footed shot from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Pedro.

Attempt blocked. Pedro (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Victor Moses.

Foul by Koke (Atlético de Madrid).

Álvaro Morata (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) header from very close range is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Cesc Fàbregas following a corner.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Jan Oblak.

Attempt missed. Antoine Griezmann (Atlético de Madrid) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Yannick Carrasco.

Substitution, Chelsea. Pedro replaces Tiemoué Bakayoko.

Foul by Gabi (Atlético de Madrid).

Tiemoué Bakayoko (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Hand ball by Tiemoué Bakayoko (Chelsea).

Lucas Hernández (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *