Atletico beat Chelsea 3-1 to reach CL final
By Rob Harris ,AP
May 2, 2014, 12:21 am TWN
LONDON -- Atletico Madrid overpowered Chelsea 3-1 on Wednesday to ensure its remarkable season will end with a derby in the Champions League final against Real Madrid.
Although former Atletico striker Fernando Torres put Chelsea in front at Stamford Bridge after a scoreless first leg of their semifinal, Adrian Lopez leveled before halftime to give the surprise Spanish league leaders a crucial away goal.
Atletico's place in a first European Cup final in 40 years was secured in the second half when Diego Costa netted a penalty on the hour, and Arda Turan knocked the ball into an empty net.
"We completely controlled the game against a great side," Atletico manager Diego Simeone said through a translator.
It was a fourth successive semifinal loss for Jose Mourinho since winning the competition in 2010 with Inter Milan, after previous setbacks at Real Madrid before returning to manage Chelsea last year.
Without Mourinho, Madrid has ended a 12-year wait to reach a Champions League final after trouncing holder Bayern Munich 4-0 on Tuesday and 5-0 on aggregate. The title decider will be a city derby for the first time, in Lisbon on May 24.
By then, Atletico could have been crowned champions of Spain for the first time since 1996. Just two wins are required from the final three matches to break up the Barcelona-Real Madrid stranglehold on the trophy.
After seeing Chelsea win the 2012 Champions League and 2013 Europa League from afar, Mourinho's first season back at the club could now end without a trophy. Although the Blues are second in the Premier League, they require leader Liverpool and third-place Manchester City, which has a game in hand, to slip-up in the final matches.
If Mourinho wanted to prove criticism of recent ultra-defensive tactics didn't affect him it came with the lineup, with six defenders in the starting eleven. In an anxious opening, Mark Schwarzer, deputizing in the Chelsea goal for the injured Petr Cech, was beaten in the fourth minute — with only the crossbar blocking Koke's looping shot.