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Dec
2017
Thursday 7th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

Amar Azam reports from Stamford Bridge


ANTONIO CONTE’S Chelsea progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League but were ultimately left disappointed after failing to win their group.

A second-half own-goal from Atletico Madrid defender Stefan Savic was enough to earn Chelsea a point after Saul Niguez had put Diego Simeone’s team up.

The west London side had to await the outcome of Wednesday night’s ties, but Conte insisted that Chelsea would not shy away from any club.

“When you play this competition and you go through you must be ready to face the best teams,” said Conte.

“We can play against PSG, Barca or Besiktas, you have to be ready. It is a fantastic competition, the best and you have to be ready for everything.”

The home side rarely looked troubled in a low-key first half from both sides.

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata had a number of goalscoring opportunities to break the deadlock.

Only a win from this encounter would have been enough for the Spanish visitors to qualify for the next round of the tournament.

To their credit, Simeone’s side pushed hard for the opening in as the first half developed. However, Chelsea’s back line stood firm.

Chelsea, already having qualified for the final 16, would have wanted to finish the group as winners.

They began the second half brightly, and had chances to score through Andreas Christensen and Eden Hazard.

However, Atleti nearly took a shock lead when former Chelsea full-back Felipe Luis saw his dipping shot strike the post after the bounce of the ball eluded Thibaut Courtois.

Simeone’s men did not have long to wait for the opening goal.

It came on 56 minutes when Chelsea’s players failed to clear a corner kick. The ball looped off former Chelsea striker Fernando Torres and onto the far post where Saul had drifted after losing his marker. He easily put the ball away. Stamford Bridge fell silent.

Simeone responded by removing Torres in a bid to defend their margin in the hope that results in the other match in the group would go their way. Pedro meanwhile was brought on by Conte.

However, Atleti’s hopes of progressing in the group were all but dashed when Chelsea clawed a goal back after Hazard’s winding run ended with Savic turning the ball into his own net.




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