Saturday 16 November 2019

Falcao shows inept Chelsea what might have been

Chelsea 1 Atletico Madrid 4

Jamie Holland in Monte Carlo

Chelsea suffered Super Cup humiliation last night as Radamel Falcao showed them what might have been with a devastating hat-trick to help Atletico Madrid to a crushing victory.

The Blues looked anything but European champions in what was one of their most clueless performances since Roman Abramovich first began his quest for the greatest prize in club football.

The Russian spent another £80m this summer in a bid to ensure he would not have to wait another eight years for more Champions League glory.

But it was the one who got away who came back to haunt him on transfer deadline day as former target Falcao took advantage of some inept defending and tactical naivete to plunder a first-half treble, with Joao Miranda piling on the misery before Gary Cahill grabbed a consolation.

Falcao's hat-trick was his second in four days and saw him completely outshine Fernando Torres, who endured a nightmare reunion with his boyhood idols just 24 hours after declaring his 18 months of hell had come to an end.

Warning

Falcao served a fourth-minute warning when his sliding finish hit the crossbar but he made no mistake three minutes later when he raced clear, waited for Petr Cech to commit himself and dinked the ball beyond the lunging David Luiz on the line and in off the post.

Chelsea briefly looked a threat at the other end, Eden Hazard drilling over, but their midfield had almost no structure and Adrian Lopez and Arda Turan both went close before Falcao struck again in the 18th minute.

Unbelievably, the Blues defence simply stood off one of the world's most lethal finishers as he curled a delicious 15-yard shot into the top corner.

Chelsea now needed the kind of comeback that helped them secure European glory last season but there was no discipline to their attacking and Cech had to save from Gabi after Atletico found themselves five on three.

Falcao hit the woodwork for the second time before he completed a deserved hat-trick moments before half-time when Turan was allowed to run 60 yards unchallenged and square the ball for the unmarked striker to finish.

Atletico made it 4-0 on the hour mark, Miranda poking Mario Suarez's lay-off home.

Jorge Koke's crossed free-kick almost went straight through but was saved by Cech before Cahill drilled the ball home after Atletico failed to clear Frank Lampard's corner.

Irish Independent

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