Decisive role for Hakim Ziyech, Chelsea to quarter finals



Hakim Ziyech during the UEFA Champions League match between Chelsea FC and Atletico Madrid.EPA image

Was he good then, Hakim Ziyech, against Atlético Madrid (2-0) on Wednesday? Well, no. After the break it went better, but in the first half he made his goal. He walked a lot, but they all do that with the still undefeated trainer Thomas Tuchel, who has boarded up the previously leaky defense. Ziyech frequently lost the ball and is not yet an automatic starting point, not yet that undisputed playmaker ..

Typically before the break was a moment when teammate Werner shot out of the turn and the ball went wide via Ziyech’s foot. Ziyech was a top buy from the club that was allowed to spend millions again after a penalty. His season is changeable, just like Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, two other newcomers. It is partly due to injuries, adaptation and a change of trainer, from Lampard to Tuchel.

Ill at ease

They looked so uncomfortable in the first half hour on Wednesday that the question arose how much they had cost the three of them again last summer: a whopping 170 million. Ziyech’s transfer was partly due to the wonderful spectacle of last season, in which his then club Ajax felt caught by the arbitration and saw the 1-4 score change into 4-4.

At times he already showed works of magic at Stamford Bridge, which enraptured them in London and the surrounding area. Then again he was injured, or it was said that he didn’t get along with Tuchel. But on Wednesday, when the pressure is high, when Tuchel designates him and the two Germans as the attacking squadron, there is that one attack that makes the decision, as Chelsea had already won the away game 1-0.

Havertz perfectly extends the ball to the left wing on a breakout, where Werner left in time and finds time along the way to look to the right, where Ziyech sprints. He pushes the ball in with the right. It is not a convincing conclusion, but goalkeeper Oblak reacts poorly.

Relaxation

The hit brings peace of mind and relaxation. Ziyech plays better after the break, until his substitution fifteen minutes before time. He gives measured depth passes on Werner. Atlético plays mediocre football, reflecting the sharply declined performance in the competition, which has jeopardized the seemingly national title last month.

With his first touch of the ball, substitute Emerson makes 2-0 in injury time. Zo Three of the eight clubs in the quarter-finals come from England: Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool. The other participants: Real Madrid, FC Porto, Paris SG, Borussia Dortmund and cup holder Bayern Munich, which also won against Lazio Roma for the second time on Wednesday.

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