Chelsea tops Atlético in CL with Giroud’s bicycle-kick goal

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Olivier Giroud’s bicycle-kick goal awarded after video review gave Chelsea a 1-0 win against Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday.

It took nearly three minutes for Giroud and his teammates to be able to celebrate the important 68th-minute away goal that was initially disallowed for offside.

Giroud was clearly in front of the defenders when he pulled off his acrobatic overhead shot, but VAR determined that the ball came from Atlético defender Mario Hermoso, thus annulling the offside.

Atlético was the home team but the match was played in Bucharest, Romania, because of travel restrictions preventing visitors from Britain entering Spain.

The second leg will be on March 17 in London.

In the other round-of-16 match on Tuesday, Bayern Munich defeated Lazio 4-1 in Italy.

It was the second consecutive loss for Atlético after a seven-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. It was also the eighth straight game in which the Spanish club has conceded a goal, extending its worst run without a clean sheet since coach Diego Simeone arrived in late 2011.

“It’s been a difficult week but we have to keep competing,” Atlético midfielder Koke Resurrección said. “We have to raise our heads and try to win the second leg. There’s no other option for us.”

Chelsea is yet to lose in its eight matches since coach Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at the helm.

It had been a lackluster match until Giroud’s goal, with neither team managing to create many significant scoring opportunities and with the goalkeepers not having to work too hard. Chelsea controlled possession and looked a bit more dangerous, but both sides appeared to be satisfied with the scoreless draw and didn’t take too many risks.

Atlético was outshot by Chelsea and finished the match with no attempts on target.

Hermoso was trying to clear the ball from the area while under pressure from Mason Mount and kicked it backward. Giroud reached up high with his left foot to send the ball toward the corner past Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

“The game was decide on details,” Koke said. “It didn’t look like a dangerous play but they ended scoring a great goal.”

Mount and Jorginho were shown yellow cards and will miss the second leg because of accumulation of cards.

Simeone had to improvise with midfielder Marcos Llorente as a right back against Chelsea because of several absences on defense, including Kieran Trippier following an English betting investigation.

The teams had played in the group stage of the Champions League in the 2017-18 season, with Chelsea winning 2-1 in Spain before a 1-1 draw in London. Atlético eliminated Chelsea in the semifinals in 2014.

It was in Bucharest that Simeone won his first title with Atlético, the 2012 Europa League.

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