One team wanted to spoil; the other wanted to play. While Atlético Madrid were determined to make the contest as dull as possible, Thomas Tuchel gave Chelsea freedom to express themselves. Liberated, Chelsea stood up to be counted. They refused to rise to Luis Suárez’s provocation and they punished Atlético’s grinding negativity under Diego Simeone when Olivier Giroud, with a bit of help from VAR, came up with a special goal midway through the second half.
Tuchel could celebrate the perfect away performance in Europe and his most impressive win since replacing Frank Lampard last month. Chelsea were solid and professional at the back after recovering from a slow start, they were mature and precise in midfield and they were inspired when their first clear sight of goal arrived, Giroud’s astonishing overhead kick ensuring they left Bucharest with a slender advantage.