Courtois' 'impossible save' is the difference

LIGHTNING SAVE: Courtois (left) leaping up to grab a high ball from behind Chelsea striker Fernando Torres during Wednesday's match at Stamford Bridge.


    May 02, 2014

    Courtois' 'impossible save' is the difference


    CHELSEA'S Champions League semi-final defeat by Atletico Madrid hinged on a pivotal second-half minute and the expertise of a young goalkeeper on loan from the Premier League club to the Spanish side, Jose Mourinho said on Wednesday.

    Atletico beat Chelsea 3-1 to set up a final against city rivals Real Madrid after coming back from a goal down at Stamford Bridge.

    Atletico equalised just before half-time, and Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, on loan from Chelsea, displayed lightning reactions, keeping out a John Terry header on the hour.

    Less than a minute later, Chelsea striker Samuel Eto'o brought down Diego Costa in the area, and the Atletico forward converted the subsequent penalty.

    "The difference was one minute in the second half where a goalkeeper made an impossible save, and instead of 2-1 for Chelsea, there was a penalty...and after that, it was 2-1 for Atletico. And that completely changed the game," Chelsea's Portuguese coach told reporters.

    Mourinho, who won the Champions League with Porto and Inter Milan, suffered three successive semi-final defeats with Real before rejoining Chelsea at the start of the season.

    During his first spell as Chelsea coach, between 2004 and 2007, he took them to the semi-finals twice and lost on both occasions.

    Mourinho said: "These matches are normally decided by details, okand that minute had two details - the save was amazing - and the penalty. I think that minute was crucial. After that, Atletico had complete control.

    "We had the feeling that the game was lost - they had for sure the feeling of much more confidence. They played very well, a very mature performance, and I congratulate them."

    He felt the difference between his side and Atletico was that Diego Simeone had been building the Spanish league leaders for three years, while he had been back at Chelsea for only one season.

    "It's the difference between one year and three, and it's a big difference... they are a very good side, very adapted to the ideas of this manager. Every player fits his idea of how to play," Mourinho noted.