A wonderful overhead kick from Olivier Giroud gave Chelsea a 1-0 away win over Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the pair’s Champions League round of 16 tie.
The first half was a tepid affair with Atletico retreating into a six-man low block whenever they were out of possession. Chelsea did have some luck breaking them down but it was Los Rojiblancos who looked more of a threat on the counter.
Just after the hour mark, Giroud opened the scoring in incredible fashion. Latching onto a bouncing ball in the box, the Frenchman produced a picture perfect overhead kick which just snuck past the outstretch hands of Jan Oblak. The goal was initially ruled out for offside, but was overturned after a lengthy VAR check.
There was no late rally from Atletico, meaning the Blues are favourites to progress to the quarter finals when the two sides meet for the second leg on 17 March at Stamford Bridge.
Here are your Atletico and Chelsea player ratings from the Spanish capital…
1. Goalkeeper & Defenders
Jan Oblak (GK) – 6/10 – Little he could do to keep Giroud’s incredible effort out. Kicking could have been better.
Felipe (CB) – 6/10 –
Rose high to complete a few important headed clearances. He barely touched the ball though.
Stefan Savic (CB) – 7/10 –
The most assertive of Atletico’s central defenders. He stepped out of the backline to engage Werner and Giroud effectively on several occasions.
Mario Hermoso (CB) – 7/10 –
His passing was close to perfect. He did not misplace a single long range pass all evening.
Marcos Llorente (RWB) – 5/10 – Filled in for the suspended Kieran Trippier’s once again. One misplaced pass in the second half will have worried his manager and in his attempt to recover he was cautioned for fouling Werner.
Koke (CM) – 5/10 –
He broke up the game well at times but was pretty uninspiring in possession.
Saul Niguez (CM) – 6/10 –
A real destructive presence in midfield. He racked up four tackles and a pair of interceptions to boot.
Thomas Lemar (LWB) – 5/10 –
Came close to opening the scoring in the first half, just mistiming his run to the back post by a fraction. Other than that he was quiet.
Angel Correa (RW) – 5/10 – A ‘forward’ in name only. He spent the majority of the game as a second full-back and chipped in with some tackles and blocks.
Luis Suarez (ST) – 7/10 –
Impressive. He used his wiliness and guile to cause Chelsea’s centre-backs some issues.
Joao Felix (LW) – 5/10 –
Miscued a bicycle kick attempt when he probably should have just taken it down. Struggled to get in the game.
Edouard Mendy (GK) – 5/10 – His woeful first touch nearly gifted Atletico a goal in the opening exchanges. Settled down after that, but did not have much to do.
Cesar Azpilicueta (CB) – 7/10 –
A couple of shaky moments early on but recovered well. Dominant in the air.
Andreas Christensen (CB) – 7/10 –
Had a few feisty duels with Suarez. Made one impressive tackle at the end.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) – 7/10 –
One first half miscue aside, he did well. The German played out from the back seamlessly, only misplacing seven passes all game.
6. Wing Backs & Midfielders
Callum Hudson-Odoi (RWB) – 7/10 – Caused Lemar all sorts of problems with his tireless runs down the right-hand side. Delivery was not bad either and he defended diligently.
Jorginho (CM) – 7/10 –
Some of his crossfield passes were a joy to behold. Kept possession when he had to. Unfortunately picked up a yellow, meaning he will miss the next leg.
Mateo Kovacic (CM) – 7/10 –
Kept Chelsea ticking over with his mesmeric short passing. Also displayed his vision at times.
Marcos Alonso (LWB) – 7/10 –
His renaissance continued. Alonso overlapped enthusiastically all night and his cross led to the goal.
Mason Mount (RW) – 7/10 – One of the key sources of Chelsea’s creativity. He was central to all of the Blues’ brightest moments. A real shame he will miss the second leg after picking up a yellow.
Olivier Giroud (ST) – 8/10 –
What. A. Goal. Aside from his sumptuous overhead, Giroud also chipped in with some neat passes and disciplined pressing.
Timo Werner (LW) – 7/10 –
Some really encouraging moments. He was involved in some lightning quick exchanges on the edge of the box which helped him slip behind the defence.
Hakim Ziyech – 6/10 – Offered Chelsea a threat on the counter but delivery was bit off.
N’Golo Kante – 6/10 –
Worked very hard after coming on.
Reece James – N/A
Kai Havertz – N/A
Christian Pulisic – N/A