Giant Belgium is currently spending a season-long loan at Atleti from the Blues.
Chelsea head coach Jose Mourinho claimed that an “impossible” save from on-loan Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was the turning point in Wednesday night’s Uefa Champions League semi-final second-leg clash at Stamford Bridge, according to reports in the Guardian.
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The west London club were knocked out of Europe’s premier club competition 3-1 by the La Liga leaders, who progressed to the final in Lisbon next month against city rivals Real Madrid.
However, after the full-time whistle the self-styled Special One claimed that it was the razor-sharp reflexes of Atleti’s young keeper that had ultimately proved the difference between the two sides, as with the scores locked together at 1-1, Courtois pulled off a stunning low save to keep out a header from Chelsea skipper John Terry.
And then just moments later, the visitors went up the other end of the pitch and were awarded a spot kick following a clumsy foul on striker Diego Costa by Blues substitute Samuel Eto’o which the Brazil-born attacker confidently converted to all but end the tie as a contest.
“The difference was one moment in the second half, where the Atletico goalkeeper makes an impossible save from John Terry’s header, an amazing save, and instead of 2-1 to Chelsea a few minutes later [we concede] a penalty,” said Mourinho.
“After that, there was only one team on the pitch. My team played with pride, honour and professionalism, but we had immediately the feeling the game was lost.”