March 18 (UPI) — Hakim Ziyech and Emerson Palmieri each scored to lead Chelsea to a 2-0 shutout of Atletico Madrid and help the Blues advance to the Champions League quarterfinals.
Ziyech scored in the 34th minute and Palmieri scored in stoppage time of the round of 16 second-leg victory Wednesday at Stamford Bridge in London. The Blues beat their La Liga foes 1-0 in the first leg of the soccer tournament matchup Feb. 23 in Madrid.
“There were some difficult moments in the game, but most of the time we had it under control,” Ziyech told reporters.
“It was a little bit like seeing how the game would go in the first 10 minutes and then after 10 minutes we had the control and played our game and we did well.
“It is a big win, an important win, and I think at this moment everybody in the world who supports Chelsea is happy.”
Blues striker Timo Werner tracked down a pass on a breakaway at the start of the first scoring sequence. Werner then sent a grounded pass through the box, which found Ziyech to his right.
Ziyech used his first touch to smack a shot past Atletico keeper Jan Oblak.
The Blues took the narrow lead into halftime. United States Men’s National Team star Christian Pulisic then came on as a substitute in the 77th minute.
Palmieri entered the game in the third minute of stoppage time and teamed up with Pulisic for the game’s final score about 20 seconds later.
Pulisic received a pass just beyond the Chelsea box to spark the breakaway score. He then dribbled from right to left until he laid a pass off to Palmieri to his left just above the Atletico box. Palmieri used his first touch to rip a shot past Oblak.
“If you want to have special results, you need a special atmosphere and a special approach,” Blues coach Thomas Tuchel told reporters.
“The group has to be strong. That will never change in soccer. If you have a special bond, you can achieve special moments.”
Chelsea will learn of its next Champions League opponent during Friday’s quarterfinal and semifinal draws. The Blues battle Sheffield in the FA Cup at 9:30 p.m. EDT Sunday in London.
Atletico faces Alaves in Spain’s La Liga at 1:30 p.m. EDT Sunday in Madrid.