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Football News

Wednesday 24th February 2021

Champions League - Giroud overhead kick gives Chelsea win over Atletico

Olivier Giroud's spectacular overhead kick gave Chelsea an outstanding victory against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16 first leg in Bucharest.

Giroud's superb moment of improvisation not only delivered the win and a vital away goal but also continued new manager Thomas Tuchel's unbeaten start at Chelsea and put them in pole position to reach the quarter-finals.

In a tie played in Romania instead of Spain because of Covid-19 restrictions, Giroud demonstrated athleticism and technique to send an acrobatic effort beyond Atletico keeper Jan Oblak in the 68th minute. The goal was originally ruled out for offside before a video assistant referee review revealed the ball had bounced off Atletico defender Mario Hermoso.

It was reward for Chelsea's more progressive style in the face of the usual attritional approach from Diego Simeone's Atletico. They rarely troubled Tuchel's side who comfortably kept the in-form but increasingly frustrated Luis Suarez at bay.

Chelsea have now gone eight matches unbeaten since Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard while Giroud is emerging as their Champions League talisman after scoring all four goals in the group-phase victory against Sevilla and a last-minute winner away to Rennes.

Tuchel's Chelsea have been efficient rather than spectacular since the German coach was appointed following Lampard's departure in January - but there will be no complaints after the most impressive result of his brief time in charge.

Chelsea were regarded as underdogs in this last-16 tie against the La Liga leaders but apart from a couple of early scares - keeper Edouard Mendy miscontrolled early in the game before Suarez flashed the ball across the face of goal - they were in charge.

They showed more ambition than a strangely lethargic and even more cautious than usual Atletico.

It will increase Chelsea's confidence that they have appointed a coach who is comfortable operating at the highest levels after reaching the Champions League final with Paris St-Germain last season and impressing at Borussia Dortmund.


 

Everton end 22-year wait for win at Liverpool

Everton produced an outstanding Merseyside derby performance to beat Liverpool at Anfield for the first time since 1999.

In a landmark result for both sides, Everton earned their first derby win anywhere since 2010, while Liverpool have now lost four successive home matches for the first time since 1923.

Everton finally rid themselves of their Anfield bogey with a brilliantly drilled performance in which goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane were excellent, while Richarlison led the line tirelessly.


 

Caraboa Cup Final - Son and Sissoko send Spurs to Wembley

Jose Mourinho said Tottenham Hotspur had been rewarded for taking the Carabao Cup seriously as they moved to within one game of a first trophy in 13 years with a semi-final win over Brentford.

Spurs have not claimed silverware since they beat Chelsea in the 2008 League Cup final and they were made to work hard before seeing off the Championship promotion chasers in this one-leg semi-final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Mourinho has won the cup on four occasions and goals from Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-min ensured he now has the chance to make that five, having become the third manager to reach the final with three different teams.

Mourinho's side will now meet Manchester City the Caraboa Cup Final at Wembley on Sunday 25 April.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says the team are inspired to build on Colin Bell's legacy after reaching a fourth consecutive Carabao Cup final.

City, who have won the competition for the past three seasons, beat Manchester United 2-0 in the semi-final.

They had a minute's silence at Old Trafford and wore black armbands for club legend Bell, who died on Tuesday.


 

Arsenal beat Chelsea to win FA Cup

Arsenal's talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang worked his Wembley magic once again as they came from behind to beat Chelsea and win the FA Cup for a record 14th time.

Chelsea took the lead in the Heads Up FA Cup final inside five minutes through Christian Pulisic's smart finish but then fell victim to the brilliance of Aubameyang, who was also Arsenal's hero when he scored twice in the semi-final win over Manchester City.

The Gabon forward drew Arsenal level from the penalty spot before the break after he was fouled by Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, then produced a moment of world-class finishing to make the defining contribution to the first behind-closed-doors FA Cup final.

Chelsea were hampered by a first-half injury to Azpilicueta and were struggling even further when they lost the outstanding Pulisic to a hamstring problem after the break.

As the Blues battled to overcome those setbacks, the brilliant Aubameyang was able to give Mikel Arteta silverware in his first season as the Gunners' manager.

Aubameyang, who Arsenal are understandably desperate to secure on a new long-term contract, turned Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma inside out in the 67th minute before delivering the most audacious finish, chipping over keeper Willy Caballero from an angle.

Chelsea's agony increased further when Mateo Kovacic was very harshly sent off for a second yellow card, awarded by referee Anthony Taylor for the most innocuous of challenges on Granit Xhaka.

Arsenal closed out the win to secure a place in the Europa League next season but it was bitter disappointment for Chelsea manager Frank Lampard at the conclusion of his first campaign in charge.