Lone striker Fernando Torres, starting against his former club, was ignored almost all match as Chelsea packed men behind the ball, with Gary Cahill marking Atletico dangerman Diego Costa superbly. Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, playing against his parent club, was a spectator for much of the contest, which saw Chelsea’s long-time No1 Petr Cech go off injured, clutching his shoulder after a heavy fall, inside the opening 20 minutes.
Captain John Terry also went off 18 minutes from time, forcing a defensive reshuffle, but still the visitors held firm to frustrate Atletico. Chelsea are likely to be a different proposition at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday, but will have to do it without Cech and Terry who have been ruled out for the rest of the season due to injuries picked up on Tuesaday.
Chelsea will also be missing midfielders Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel who picked up bookings in Madrid and will now miss the second leg.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone admitted his team struggled to break down their opponents but remained confident ahead of next Wednesday’s match.
“It was impossible, they did their job really well and this leaves the qualification open,” said the Argentine.
“It is true that they play at home where they feel comfortable, but we are going to go out to play. Next Wednesday we’ll be there to start playing.
“They will be playing at home, they will be feeling better and we will have to wait till next week to see what happens.”