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Chelsea ensure Atlético pay a high price for their stretched resources | Barney Ronay

Atlético Madrid’s no transfer policy contributed to their failure to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League, while Eden Hazard’s dazzling display gives Chelsea cause for optimism

At the end of this occasionally heated, largely room temperature night of make-or-break Champions League football Atlético Madrid’s travelling fans could be seen still singing in the away end 20 minutes after the final whistle, scarves twirling, flags draped, a wall of consolatory red and white.

Atlético may have just failed to reach the knockout stages for the first time in seven seasons after this 1-1 draw. They may have looked blunt, a powerhouse whose resources have been stretched, with a team who have aged together. But this is a club built on that same collective will and heart that made the creaky, grubby Vicente Calderón such an uplifting place to visit. You can’t kill the spirit and there was a warmth to the end notes here on a night that left Diego Simeone taciturn and glowering – or rather, even more taciturn and glowering – as he picked over his team’s exit.

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