‘That’s how VAR is supposed to work’ February 23, 2021 – Posted in: Soccer

Olivier Giroud’s stunning bicycle kick downed Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night and put Chelsea on course for a Champions League quarter-final spot.

The Blues took away a 1-0 victory from the away leg of their last-16 tie, which was played in Bucharest, and they had VAR to thank for giving them a helping hand.

Olivier Giroud scored a stunning bicycle kick against Atletico Madrid

Giroud’s winning strike came midway through the second half, and there was plenty of drama involved.

After a cross into the box was deflected, Giroud produced a superb overhead kick from 12 yards which beat Jan Oblak and found the bottom corner.

But the goal was initially ruled out for offside, with Mason Mount deemed to have knocked the ball forward for his team-mate.

A lengthy VAR review then took place and after three long minites it was adjudged that Atletico centre-back Mario Hermoso had got the decisive final touch – and the goal was given.

talkSPORT’s commentary team of Danny Mills and Sam Matterface were full of praise for the way the officials handled the situation.

Mills said: “I told you it was going to have to be a world and that’s what it was. The ball popped up and it’s an incredible finish by Giroud.

“He’s only touched the ball about five times this game.

“I’ve been very complementary of the officials, they’ve been sharp and on it and it was very difficult to tell (who touched it).”

Matterface added: “They’ve done a terrific job there. That’s how VAR is supposed to work. They managed it well and were was no confusion. It was pretty clear they were having a long discussion about it.”

Giroud has given Chelsea the upper hand in the tie

Giroud has given Chelsea the upper hand in the tie

It was a tight game in Bucharest with Callum Hudson-Odoi a surprise name in the Chelsea starting line-up.

The England international had lasted only 31 minutes following his half-time introduction at Southampton on Saturday, but manager Thomas Tuchel played the youngster at right wing-back.

Chelsea’s night started on a poor note when inside 60 seconds Mount was booked for a foul on Joao Felix, meaning he will be suspended for the second leg at Stamford Bridge next month.

Edouard Mendy almost contrived to pile more misery on the visitors after a heavy touch in the penalty area but Saul was unable to make the most of the goalkeeper’s mistake.

But, after early pressure from Atletico, including a dangerous Luis Suarez centre across the face of goal, the Premier League side started to dominate possession and a long-range effort from Marcos Alonso represented the first shot on target from either side.

Joao Felix tried a bicycle kick but was not as successful as Giroud

Joao Felix tried a bicycle kick but was not as successful as Giroud

Chelsea have the advantage going into the second leg

Chelsea have the advantage going into the second leg

It was routine for Atletico goalkeeper Oblak, who had gone seven matches without a clean sheet and was forced into more strenuous action six minutes before the break as Timo Werner’s strike from a tight angle was well saved.

Goalless at the interval, Diego Simeone would have been the happier of the two managers with numerous absentees including England full-back Kieran Trippier due to suspension.

Not long after Suarez saw an effort deflected wide by Andreas Christensen, Joao Felix fired an overhead kick off target following Cesar Azpilicueta’s poor headed clearance in a sign Atleti were set to be more adventurous in this half.

Jorginho became the second Chelsea player to be ruled out of the second leg in the 64th minute when he brought down Joao Felix, and a draw looked the most likely outcome.

But Giroud had other ideas and produced his stunning finish on 68 minutes.

It was Giroud’s sixth goal in the Champions League this season and gives the Blues a huge advantage heading back to their home ground next month.

Source link – talksport.com