Chelsea currently hold the advantage in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 fixture after securing a slender 1-0 win against Atletico Madrid in the game’s first leg on Tuesday.
Olivier Giroud’s spectacular overhead kick in the 68th minute gave Chelsea a vital away goal and settled matters at the Arena Naţională in Bucharest, Romania, instead of the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.
The tie was played in Romania instead of Spain because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Giroud demonstrated athleticism and technique to send an acrobatic effort beyond Atletico keeper, Jan Oblak. The goal was originally ruled out for offside before a video assistant referee review revealed the ball had bounced off Atletico defender, Mario Hermoso.
The French striker’s superb moment of improvisation continued the new manager, Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start at Chelsea and put them in pole position to reach the quarter-finals.
It was a reward for Chelsea’s more progressive style in the face of the usual attritional approach from Diego Simeone’s Atletico.
Chelsea were regarded as underdogs in this last-16 tie against the La Liga leaders but apart from a couple of early scares – keeper Edouard Mendy miscued early in the game before Suarez flashed the ball across the face of goal – they were in charge.
They showed more ambition than a strangely lethargic and even more cautious than usual Atletico.
The home team rarely troubled Tuchel’s side who comfortably kept the in-form but increasingly frustrated Luis Suarez at bay.
Chelsea have now gone eight matches unbeaten since Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard while Giroud is emerging as their Champions League talisman after scoring all four goals in the group-phase victory against Sevilla and a last-minute winner away to Rennes.
Elsewhere, defending champions, Bayern Munich, brushed aside their wobbling domestic form to thrash Lazio 4-1 at the Stadio Olimpico.
Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring in the ninth minute, scoring his 72nd goal to overtake Raul as the tournament’s third-highest scorer.
Jamal Musiala doubled the Germans’ advantage in the 24th minute when he finished smartly from outside the box. Musiala becomes Bayern’s youngest scorer and the youngest English scorer in the competition.
Kingsley Coman then toyed with the Lazio defence and when his shot was palmed out by Reina, winger Leroy Sane was on hand to tap in a third in the 42nd minute.
Sane’s dangerous delivery was turned into his own net from close range by Francesco Acerbi immediately after the break to all but wrap up Bayern’s progression to the quarter-finals.
Lazio, on their first appearance in the knockout stages for 21 years, found a consolation when Joaquin Correa jinked through the Bayern defence for a clever solo goal in the 47th minute.
Bayern host Lazio in the return leg on 17 March.