The fixture, originally scheduled to take place in the Spanish capital, has been relocated to Romania due to coronavirus-related travel rules, and marks the first meeting between the clubs in three seasons. The teams met twice in the group stage of this very competition in late 2017, with Chelsea winning one of the clashes and the other ending in a draw.
The Blues enter tonight’s fixture undefeated under Thomas Tuchel, who joined the Premier League side in January, having gone through the Champions League group stage unbeaten before Frank Lampard’s departure. Tuchel is out to go one further with Chelsea than he did with Paris Saint-Germain last season, when the Ligue 1 side were beaten in the final of the tournament by Bayern Munich. But La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid pose a stern challenge here, having recovered from an opening-round thrashing by Bayern to go undefeated through the remainder of the group stage this term – alongside their fine domestic form. Follow all the build-up, live match updates and post-game reaction from the Champions League last-16 first leg between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea below.
Due to coronavirus restrictions tonight’s game is being played at a neutral venue. The Arena Naţională in Bucharest.
Michael Jones23 February 2021 18:34
EARLY TEAM NEWS
Thiago Silva is absent for Chelsea this evening but the Blues are boosted by the returns of Kai Haverts and Christian Pulisic who are both fit again and could feature against the La Liga leaders.
Atletico Madrid are without the injured Jose Gimenez, Sime Vrsaljko and Yannick Carrasco whilst Hector Herrera is absent after testing positive for Covid-19 and Kieran Trippier is still serving his suspension for breaking betting rules.
Luis Suarez and Joao Felix should both start for Atleti.
Michael Jones23 February 2021 18:32
Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Alex Pattle23 February 2021 18:25