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UEFA Champions League

Giroud Gives Chelsea Win Over Athletico Madrid, Bayern Munich on Rampage

Olivier Giroud’s 68th minute strike settled the scores as Chelsea ran away winner of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg.

The Frenchman had an improvised overhead kick to maintain manager Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start to his Chelsea career and a vital away win.

The La Liga leaders have been faltering in recent times and it continued last night in Romania rather than Spain due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Tuchel has stopped the rot since he took over in 27 January after Chelsea came unstuck under former manager Frank Lampard.

Tuchel was full of praise for Giroud, 34, whose effort was initially ruled out for offside but overturned by VAR.

He said: “If you see him on a daily basis, you cannot be surprised. He is totally fit, his body is in shape and his physicality is on top level.

“He trains like a 20-year-old, like a 24-year-old. He is a guy who has a good mixture of serious and joy in training. He is always positive and it is a big factor for the group.”

Tuchel further stated: “Fantastic result, fantastic goal. Well deserved.

“We wanted to dominate in the opponents’ half, to never lose concentration, not to do any easy mistakes and always be aware of quick counter-attacks for all their quality.

“It was a very disciplined performance – a deserved shut-out. This is the hard work, a team effort – the basis for a big win.

“We knew they were ready to suffer with eight people in the box. The intention was to keep the intensity high. This is what we did very good. We never let them breathe or come out for counter-attacks. We have a big reward with this result.

“This is one of the toughest challenges to open a defence like Atletico.”

In Germany, Bayern Munich shrugged off the loss last weekend to hand a 4-1 comprehensive hiding to Italian side Lazio.

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