Chelsea’s Champions League dreams were once again left in ruins as Atletico Madrid set up a Champions League final against city rivals Real Madrid after coming from behind to win 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have reached the Champions League semi-finals an amazing seven of the last 11 seasons, but have only progressed to the final twice, winning one. This is the golden era of Chelsea football, but will history look back at them and say they should have won more?
After a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their semi-final, Jose Mourinho’s plan seemed to be working to perfection when former Atleti striker Fernando Torres put the Blues ahead in the 36th minute. But right before half-time, Atleti pulled one back when Adrian Lopez scrambled home an equalizer. Then two more second half goals by Diego Costa, from the penalty spot, and Arda Turan sealed Atletico’s place in the final of Europe’s biggest club competition for the first time since 1974.
Diego Simeone’s team are also two wins from claiming a first La Liga title in 18 years, meaning that they could be looking to complete an improbable double when they meet their old foes Real in Lisbon on 24 May.
As for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, this was the fourth consecutive Champions League semi-final he has lost as was outcoached by Simeone over the two legs. In the first leg, Mourinho parked the bus in Madrid, settling for a 0-0 draw, where if Chelsea had been a little more adventurous they might have nicked a valuable away goal.
Then in Chelsea’s most important game of the season, he started six defenders in an attempt to once again stifle Atletico. They were the tactics of a conservative coach who is afraid to lose, not the tactics of a younger Mourinho, back when he was the “Special One” who won games by attacking not defending.