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Atletico Madrid 0-1 Chelsea: Player Ratings as Olivier Giroud's stunner inspires Blues to victory | UEFA Champions League 2020-21

Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud's wonder-goal sealed the win for Chelsea
Joshua Ojele
ANALYST
Modified 24 Feb 2021
Feature

Chelsea completed a comfortable 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League round-of-16 first-leg clash on Tuesday night.

Olivier Giroud produced a moment of individual brilliance as his second-half bicycle kick handed Chelsea the advantage over Diego Simeone's men.

In a one-sided fixture played in Romania due to travel restrictions, Chelsea dominated proceedings from the get-go, as the hosts opted for a more defensive approach to the clash.

The first half ended goalless as the hosts failed to threaten the Chelsea defense, and the visitors failed to convert their chances.

Chelsea finally broke the deadlock in the 68th minute when Olivier Giroud capitalized on a poor defensive clearance to unleash a stunning bicycle kick into the back of the net.

The goal was initially ruled out for offside, but after a lengthy VAR check, it was awarded after Mario Hermoso was adjudged to have played the ball before it reached Giroud.

The hosts pushed for an immediate comeback but were met by a resilient Chelsea defense, as the away side held on for a crucial victory. The Blues are unbeaten in eight matches under Thomas Tuchel and now have one foot in the quarterfinals of the competition.

On that note, here are the player ratings from a tightly-contested encounter at the National Arena in Romania.

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Chelsea Player Ratings

Southampton v Chelsea - Premier League
Southampton v Chelsea - Premier League

Edouard Mendy - 6/10

The Chelsea shot-stopper had a shaky start as he almost gifted the hosts a penalty barely five minutes into the game.

He grew into the game but had nothing much to do as the Atletico Madrid players failed to have a single attempt on goal.

Cesar Azpilicueta - 6.5/10

A brilliant outing from the Chelsea captain, who handled the threat of Joao Felix and Thomas Lemar expertly. Azpilicueta finished with a game-high nine duels won and often looked to support the attack with his charging runs into the midfield.

Andreas Christensen - 7.5/10

The Danish international repaid Thomas Tuchel’s faith in him as he delivered a stupendous defensive performance. He was a thorn in the flesh of Atletico Madrid star striker Luis Suárez and ensured that the Uruguayan finished with no attempts on goal.

Antonio Rudiger - 6/10

Playing on the left side of a three-man defense, the German had a poor start to the game, and his miscommunication with Marcos Alonso gifted Luis Suarez a scoring opportunity.

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However, he grew into the role as the game progressed and was on deck to sniff out any threat the hosts' attack presented.

Callum Hudson-Odoi - 6.5/10

Playing in his newfound wing-back role, the Chelsea academy product started vivaciously on the right flank, linking up with Mason Mount and whipping in useful balls into the box hoping someone tucked one away. However, he faded into the game in the second half and was replaced by Reece James in the 80th minute.

Jorginho - 6.5/10

The Chelsea midfielder linked up brilliantly with Kovacic, and they simply ran the show at the center of the park for the visitors. However, he failed more often than not in his defensive duties in midfield as the Atletico Madrid players breezed past him easily.

Mateo Kovacic 7.5/10

Another jaw-dropping performance from the Chelsea midfielder, who is proving to be a revelation this season. The Croatian, alongside Jorginho, dictated the pace and tempo of Chelsea’s play and provided a solid link between the defense and attack.

Marcos Alonso - 6/10

While the Spanish full-back provided an outlet for Chelsea on the left side, he struggled for pace and lacked the end product needed to threaten the host's defense.

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Mason Mount - 7/10

The Chelsea academy graduate was lively and despite picking up an early yellow he remained confident throughout the game. He linked up well with Callum Hudson-Odoi on the right flank and won several ground duels in a routine performance. He is gradually becoming a key player for Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel.

Timo Werner - 6.5/10

The German missed another chance to get on the scoresheet when he fluffed his finish in the first half. Other than that, he had a decent outing and posed a serious threat to Marcos Llorente on the left side of the Atletico Madrid backline.

Olivier Giroud - 8/10

Chelsea hero on the night. After a quiet first half, Giroud popped up with a typical UEFA Champions League moment of brilliance when he hit a sensational bicycle kick to give his side the lead and a vital away goal.


Player Ratings for Chelsea Substitutes

Christian Pulisic came on as a late substitute for Chelsea
Christian Pulisic came on as a late substitute for Chelsea

N'Golo Kante 6/10

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With Chelsea switching to a more defensive approach to protect their slender lead, the Frenchman was brought on to provide solid defensive cover in midfield and he did just that.

Hakim Ziyech 6/10

The Morocco international replaced Mateo Kovacic in the final 15 minutes of the game and had a decent cameo. He looked more assured than in his previous outing for the Blues and constantly looked to set his attackers free with defense-splitting passes.

Reece James 5/10

The young Englishman replaced Hudson-Odoi with 10 minutes on the clock, but he didn't have enough time to make an impact on the game.

Kai Havertz 5/10

The German international came on as a substitute in the 87th minute. Just like Reece James, he didn't spend enough time on the pitch to make a meaningful contribution.

Christian Pulisic 5/10

Was brought on in the 87th minute to push the Atletico Madrid defense back with his darting runs. He was more defensive than his usual self, as he worked his socks off in the closing stages of the game to see out the win for Chelsea.


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Published 24 Feb 2021, 11:48 IST
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