Humiliated Chelsea picked off by Radamel Falcao’s sharp hat-trick
Chelsea 1 Atletico Madrid 4
When you have just won a court case with £3bn at stake, one imagines that losing the European Super Cup final is one of those things you can live with – but then Roman Abramovich has never been keen on second best.
Earlier yesterday the Chelsea owner had come through potentially the most expensive litigation of his career with a home win over Boris Berezovsky in the Commercial Court in London. By the time he walked into the Stade Louis II stadium he will have been hoping for a reminder of the more enjoyable aspects of life as one of the richest men in Britain.
There are some things that even a Russian billionaire cannot buy and one of them, it seems, is a back four capable of controlling the prolific striker Radamel Falcao, who scored a hat-trick. The only way to solve it might be to buy Falcao himself but with time ticking down on last night’s 11pm transfer deadline and a £55m buy-out clause on the Colombian’s head even that deal was beyond the Premier League’s most famous impulse-buyer.
Falcao was the best of a very good Atletico Madrid team on a humbling night for Chelsea who were 3-0 down at half-time and in the second half did their very best to keep it respectable. Sloppy in defence, limp in attack, they did not play like the champions of Europe last night, nor like the free-flowing team they have been in three victories in the last Premier League.
The goalscorer Gary Cahill was blunt about his side’s performance saying that Chelsea "fell to pieces". He said. 2We started the game sloppy and that went right through the game. If we're honest with ourselves everyone was below par and it was embarrassing at times.
"We approach every game in the same way. It was a massive game and we let ourselves down and passed up a great opportunity. It is difficult. Obviously we will look to bounce back in the league as today was unacceptable."
Ashley Cole tweeted
that the performance had been "an absolute joke – no fight, desire passion and
a big reality check." With John Terry still suspended, David Luiz and Cahill
were exposed time and again. They were ambushed in the first few minutes and
never recovered their composure. At the other end, Fernando Torres had his name
sung repeatedly by the Atletico fans but looked worryingly ineffective.
"We never really got into the game," Roberto Di Matteo said, "that is the most disappointing part of the night." By half-time, the brilliant Falcao had not only scored three goals he had hit the post and the crossbar and every time he bore down on goal the Chelsea defence seemed to be reduced to panicky indecision.
Asked about the possibility he might have joined Chelsea in the summer, Falcao said that he was aware of the interest. "I have just stayed on the sidelines. Atletico made a great effort to keep me at the club and we will see what happens down the line."
The expansively named Jorge Resurrección Merodio, also known as Koke, was excellent in midfield for Atletico. So too the Spanish winger Adrian Lopez and, on the other side, Arda Turan, an experienced Turkey international impressed. Atletico are a selling club – Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan among others – but when it comes to acquisitions they are not too bad either.
They carved Chelsea open, hitting the bar within four minutes when Lopez crossed for Falcao. Luiz seemed to foul Koke in the area in the aftermath but the Slovenian referee did not see it. Two minutes later Falcao gave his team the lead.
Played in on goal, running at a retreating defence, the Colombia international just allowed the ball to roll out from under his feet before he chipped Petr Cech, further evidence that this man has that rare ability to take his time in front of goal. Luiz tried to scoop the ball out the goal but it was so well-placed he could not get there.
Luiz was one of a couple of Chelsea defenders who inexplicably stood off Falcao in the area on 19 minutes and allowed him to curl a shot into the top corner of Cech’s goal. He hit the post with a powerful header before Turan played the striker in and he held off Ramires to strike a shot low past Cech for his third goal.
Miranda scored Atletico’s fourth on the hour after an exchange in the area gave him room to hit a shot that Cahill tried to clear. It was not until 16 minutes from time that a corner from Frank Lampard caused problems for Atletico and Cahill drove the loose ball past Thibaut Courtois, the Chelsea goalkeeper on loan at Atletico who had much less to do than Cech.
In the closing minutes of the game, Luiz deflected a cross against his own post. Given how badly the game had gone for him it was a surprise it did not go in. Abramovich had the big win earlier in the day. The subsequent defeat will be less expensive but does beg some new questions.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole (Bertrand, 90); Mikel, Lampard; Ramires (Oscar, h-t), Hazard, Mata (Sturridge, 83); Torres. Substitutes not used Turnbull (gk), Romeu, Moses, Meireles.
Atletico Madrid (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Filipe Luis; Suarez, Gabi; Lopez (Rodriguez, 56), Koke (Garcia, 81), Turan; Falcao (Emre, 87). Substitutes not used Asenjo (gk) , Silvio, Diaz, Costa.
Referee D Skomina (Slovakia).
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