Friday 31 August 2012
Chelsea's hopes of winning the UEFA Super Cup for a second time were ended by a superb hat-trick Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao.
The Colombia striker hit a first-half hat-trick as the Spanish winners of the Europea League beat the European champions 4-1 in Monaco.
Chelsea won the trophy in 1998, beating Spanish opposition in Real Madrid but they were always on the back as Falcao served a fourth-minute warning by hitting the crossbar with a shot. The forward made no mistake three minutes later when he raced clear, waited for Petr Cech to commit and dinked the ball beyond the lunging David Luiz on the line and in off a post.
Roberto Di Matteo's side did briefly look a threat at the other end, Eden Hazard drilling over, but Adrian Lopez and Arda Turan both went close for Atletico before Falcao struck again in the 18th minute, curling a 15-yard shot into the far top corner.
Falcao hit the woodwork for the second time when he threw his head at Lopez's air-shot only to see it hit a post - but he completed a deserved hat-trick moments before half-time when Turan ran 60 yards and squared for the unmarked striker to finish.
Atletico made it 4-0 on the hour mark, Miranda poking Mario Suarez's lay-off home.
Jorge Koke's crossed free-kick almost went straight through but was saved by Cech before Cahill drilled a consolation goal after Atletico failed to clear Frank Lampard's corner.
Di Matteo bemoaned his team's poor start to the match. "The first half we started very sloppy," the Chelsea manager said. "It was a slow start and if you give Falcao space he's very dangerous and we should have blocked him before that.
"We didn't have much penetration. It went in their favour with the early goal and we found it difficult to find the space in the middle and tried to go our wide. We were very defensive and they countered on us."