Devoid of ideas, lacking any sort of rhythm and shell-shocked by a stunning display from one of the world’s top marksmen, Roberto Di Matteo’s side were simply tossed aside by their Spanish opposition as they were ruthlessly punished for an uncharacteristically error-strewn performance in Monaco.
Falcao was unplayable as he hit an outstanding first-half hat-trick and Miranda grabbed a fourth for the La Liga side after the break, before Gary Cahill netted a consolation late in the second half.
Premier League table-toppers Chelsea had actually started brightly, stroking the ball around with confidence, but it was not long before the Europa League holders exerted their dominance on a surprisingly cool evening in Monaco.
Falcao, the scorer of 36 goals in 50 games last season, fired a warning shot Chelsea’s way with barely three minutes played as he ghosted in at the far post and saw his effort bounce back off the crossbar after meeting Adrian Lopez’s cross.
The Blues’ back four clearly did not heed the warning as Falcao sent the already-bouncing Atlético fans wild by firing the Spanish side into the lead in the seventh minute.
Slid through by Lopez, the Colombian forward took his time before dinking a precise finish past Petr Cech and in off the post as David Luiz scrambled in vein to prevent the ball crossing the line.
The Champions League holders were rocking and Falcao was the culprit, causing chaos amongst a flat-footed Chelsea defence at every turn.
And it soon got worse for Di Matteo’s men. Afforded far too much time just inside the box, Falcao took aim a curled a delicious left-footed shot past Cech and into the top corner.
It took until the 32nd minute for Chelsea to produce their first sustained spell of possession but the damage was already done.
With a minute left before half-time, Chelsea’s first corner was cleared. Atlético broke in numbers as they had done all half and Arda Turan held up possession before sliding a pass into the path of the arriving Falcao, who needed no second invitation to grab a superb first-half hat-trick and compound Chelsea’s misery as he poked his finish through Cech’s legs.
Di Matteo brought Oscar on for Ramires at half-time and Chelsea managed to string together 10 minutes of decent possession after the break.
But it didn’t last long. Miranda collected a loose ball from an Atlético free-kick, burst towards goal and chipped a neat finish over Cech to make it 4-0 on the hour-mark.
The Blues did grab a consolation in the 75th minute when Cahill was on hand to thump his shot home after Atlético failed to clear a Chelsea corner.
In truth, it was probably more than the west Londoners deserved as the cackling Atlético supporters were left to savour their second triumph in Monaco in three years.
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