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Chelsea might still be the European Champions on paper, but their reign at the top suffered an embarrassing blow at Monaco as they were torn to shreds by Atletico Madrid, who ran away 4-1 winners to lift the UEFA Super Cup. Radamel Falcao was the star of the show as the Colombian netted his 2nd hat-trick of the week, following up his treble against Athletic Bilbao in La Liga with a stunning display of his finishing prowess.
Falcao completed his hat-trick by half-time as he first opened the scoring on 6 minutes before doubling his tally 11 minutes later to leave Chelsea reeling. The Blues never regained from the early blow as Atletico went from strength to strength and a great half was capped off by Falcao's third on the stroke of half-time. Defender Miranda made it 4-0 for the Spaniards on the hour mark before Gary Cahill gave the score line a semblance of respectability from Chelsea's perspective with a goal on 75 minutes. The night belonged to Atletico and Falcao though as they rejoiced their 2nd Super Cup triumph in two years.
Chelsea were led by veteran England international Frank Lampard, who took over the captain's armband due to the suspension of club captain John Terry, who was sent off against Barcelona in the second leg of last season's semi-final. That meant that David Luiz and Gary Cahill lined up in the heart of defence, while Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic occupied the wide positions. John Obi Mikel sat in front of the back four with Lampard while Juan Mata continued in his free role behind the sole striker Fernando Torres, a former Atletico captain. New signing Eden Hazard and Brazilian Ramires provied the width.
Atletico had a couple of notable absentees as well with Tiago suspended and Kader out with a collarbone injury. Gabi led Atletico's team out to the middle and their biggest threat was posed by superstar Colombian stirker Radamel Falcao, who has been spectacular since arriving in Europe, breaking records each season. Arda Turan and Adrian Lopez would look to ensure that he would have enough ammunition to work with.
Chelsea began by passing the ball around at their own pace, until Falcao reminded them of the quality at Atleticoâ€™s disposal as he rattled the crossbar after just 3 minutes, crashing in at the far post to meet Felipeâ€™s cross. The Blues were indeed living dangerously and Falcao made up for that earlier miss by finding the back of the net six minutes in as he ran onto a through ball down the left from Gabi before rounding off Petr Cech and finding the far corner with a precise left-footed strike despite Luizâ€™s best efforts.
Atletico looked threatening every time they came forward as Chelseaâ€™s defence was in sixes-and-sevens, with Adrian only denied by the on-rushing Cech. But the Spaniards wouldnâ€™t be kept quiet for too long as their Colombian star hammered a 2nd nail into the Chelsea coffin after 19 minutes.
Luiz and Cole were at fault this time around as they failed to close down the striker, who ran onto to a pass on the right-channel this time. Falcao then shifted the ball to his left feet before curling a stunner into the top corner, past the stumbling Chelsea defence and the diving Cech.
The Champions League winners were being bludgeoned into submission by their Spanish counterparts, with a wayward shot from Hazard the only sign of attacking instinct from Chelsea. The red wave of attacks kept coming as Cech then had to save Gabiâ€™s effort after Atletico ripped Chelsea open from a counter-attack.
The chances kept flowing for Diego Simeoneâ€™s side as Falcao headed against the post after the half-hour park. Chelsea seemed to have steadied the ship as half-time approached but another deadly counter-attack left them in ruins. Atletico surged forward in numbers after clearing a Chelsea corner, with Turan then providing the killer pass across the box for Falcao who once again produced a clinical finish to leave Cech helpless, this time from a tight angle on the left-channel.
Like the 1st half, Chelsea controlled possession after the break but mostly in non-threatening areas and at a pace which allowed Atletico to get men behind the ball. Di Matteo brought on Oscar for Ramires at the restart to spruce up the attack, but apart from a Torres strike that flew wide of the post, the English side struggled to create anything of note.
The side from Madrid then added a fourth goal to their tally on the hour mark as a free-kick from the right was dreadfully defended by Chelsea, allowing Miranda to get ahead on the right and the defender calmly dinked the ball past Cech, with the ball eventually going in off the sliding Gary Cahill. Cahill was the man who drew a goal back for Chelsea on 75 minutes as he turned in a corner from close range to make it 4-1.
The Super Cup might be a glorified friendly, but there were no excuses for Chelsea as they put in an abysmal performance. Atletico outshined them in every department, with their attacking quartet in particular leaving Chelsea in tatters. All the plaudits will understandably flow towards Falcao, who once again showed that he was one of the deadliest finishers in the continent. Chelseaâ€™s quest for seven trophies has already seen them lose out on the Community Shield and the Super Cup and it is now back to the bread-and-butter of the league for both sides, with the one from Spain carrying all the momentum.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cole (Bertrand 90'), Luiz, Cahill, Ramires (Oscar 46'), Lampard (c), Mikel, Hazard, Torres, Mata (Sturridge 81')
Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Oscar, Moses, Meireles, Sturridge, Bertrand.
Atletico Madrid: Courtois, Godin, Felipe Luis, Juanfran, Miranda, Mario Suarez, Koke (Garcia 81'), Gabi (c), Arda Turan, Adrian Lopez (Rodriguez 56'), Falcao (Emre 87')
Subs: Sergio Asenjo, Raul Garcia, Rodriguez, Silvio, Cata Diaz, Diego Costa, Emre.
Final Score: Chelsea 1-4 Atletico Madrid (Falcao 6' 19' 45', Miranda 60', Cahill 75')
File Photograph Copyright: Ryu Voelkel
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