A Madrid Derby in Lisbon : Mourinho outclassed by feisty Simeone
Yet another heartbreak for Jose Mourinho in front of his home fans in yet another Champions League semi-final as the Blues failed to break down a stubborn and fiery Atletico Madrid side who simply refused to give in to any sort of pressure throughout the game. There was much talk about busses and anti-football before the game and the Chelsea line-up just added to the frustration of the neutral fans as they prepared themselves for yet another shut-out master-minded by Mourinho. However, as said in the post-match presser by the Blues Boss – 180 seconds changed the game. Atletico came back from London filled with pride and accomplishment and they continued their fairy-tale season making it to the Champions League finals to face neighbours Real Madrid. A derby in the Champions League final – the first of its kind.
Mourinho has been moaning about the lack of a high quality centre-forward all season and as Jamie Carragher rightly pointed out, Chelsea had been made to pay for poor goalscoring record against a side that could park the metaphorical bus as effectively as Chelsea ,if not better. However, Mourinho couldn’t have asked for a better start from his striker of the day – Atletico oldboy Fernando Torres. Running onto a cut-back from Cesar Azpilicueta after some clever work by the ever-industrious Willian down the right flank; Torres slotted the ball home taking a cruel deflection of Mario Suarez on the way in. As a sign of respect to his former club and according to speculations, quite possible his future club too; the kid or ‘El Nino’ as the Atleti faithful called him refused to celebrate.
Everything seemed perfectly set for yet another parking of the bus by Mourinho’s Chelsea only for a certain Adrian Lopez, in for Raul Garcia, to level the scores a minute from the break. Chelsea’s defence had been faultless in Madrid, and seemed rock-solid for 44 minutes here only for former Blues star Tiago to cross from left to right, catching the entire defence out as a galloping Juanfran turned the ball across into the box. Cole had been drawn inside but failed to reach the ball as it continued towards Adrian Lopez Terry fell prey to an accidental collision with Costa and Lopez’ finish swept past Cahill on the line.
Things didn’t look all to great in the second half for Mourinho as he decided to switch to 4-4-2, bringing off Cole, moving Azpilicueta into the left-back and sending on Samuel Eto’o to join Torres. Within five minutes of coming on, the Cameroonian international elected to make a disastrously careless challenge on Costa just inside his own area and the penalty was not anything but a difficult decision for the Italian referee. After some extensive gardening work by Costa around the spot so that the ball would sit up sweetly for him, Nicola Rizzoli, the referee became even more anxious and he booked Costa, possibly a first for a player waiting to take a penalty. It might have affected the concentration of many others but Costa beat Schwarzer with minimum fuss.
Things went from bad to worse for Jose 18 minutes from time, Another Atletico counter attack and another goal. Juanfran crossed from the right only for Arda Turan’s header to be pushed against the bar by an alert Mark Schwarzer. However the momentum of the Turkey international took him into the box and towards the rebound which he rolled into an empty net. 3-1 to the visitors.
As Simeone did a Mourinho celebration dash to the touchline, one can only imagine and assume that Jose Mourinho has finally found his match in Diego Simeone.
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