Although he has had a promising season in La Liga, with a more colorful game than in the recent past, Atlético left the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Chelsea without shooting at the rival goal. Showing off the virtues that led him to past success, Simeone opted to prioritize the defense of his goal over attack. And he was a few inches from getting a zero tie, those whoThey allowed Hermoso to touch the ball before his rival in a noxious punt who assisted Giroud, author of a goal that punishes the conservatism of an Atlético who can be blamed for his lack of ambition.
After the defeat at home, although the match had to be played in Bucharest due to covid restrictions, Atlético will have to come back in London with another game plan. It is the second in a few days, the beginning of a bump after getting a six point against Levante in La Liga.
With just over 20 minutes to go, came the key play of the game. After a break of more than three minutes, the VAR review determined to correct the arbitration decision, although it was difficult for them to clarify who drove the ball in the punt to the lemon between Mount and Hermoso. It was the athletic one and enabled a Giroud who, advanced and only inside the area, connected an unstoppable Chilean.
Simeone showed apparent ambition in the lineup: between Correa and Joao Félix, the Argentine chose to sacrifice a midfielder with a lot of defensive work, such as Kondogbia, to make room for both of them in the eleven. But the first athletic claim in the match was to shield his goal.
After seven games in a row receiving goals, something unprecedented with Simeone, the Argentine recovered for his team the most classic essences of his game: a highly populated defense, with very close lines and well retracted around Oblak; and intense pressure in the rival field that provided him with chances from the beginning, a clear from Saúl and a clamorous from Lemar before the first quarter of an hour.
As the minutes passed, Chelsea was amassing more and more possession and closer and closer to the red-and-white area, but reached the half hour into the game with almost no danger. His best offensive argument was the appearances and the imbalance of Mason Mount, who will miss the second leg after seeing a yellow.
The party will plunged into such inconsequential minutes as tense, with the two teams looking for a rival failure to punish, all aware of the prevailing equality. With all that and with that, the constant presence of Chelsea attackers around the Oblak area was disturbing for Simeone’s, who were striving to shrink spaces and had more and more problems to step on the rival field with danger and to press with intensity.
After Chelsea’s goal, Atlético he was forced to change his disposition and start looking, on the way to minute 80, his first shot at the goal of an unprecedented Mendy. Simeone’s battery of changes to look for more attack was late and did not get close to the tie.