Chelsea produced a masterful performance by earning a fully deserved draw and a crucial away goal, putting them in a promising position for their first Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.
Thomas Tuchel’s men were superior that night and may even consider themselves unfortunate not to have taken the opportunity to return to Stamford Bridge eight days later in the 29th Premier League. May in Istanbul against Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.
Chelsea were superior to Madrid early on and should have taken the lead when Timo Werner shot straight at goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from six yards – but Madrid regained the lead on 14 minutes when Christian Pulisic played himself free and equalised with a delicate goal.
Real were in the thick of things, but the dangerous Karim Benzema shot wide from distance and brought the club back into the game with a stunning equaliser. He dodged the ball with a header and scored in the 29th minute. In the second minute, he volleyed an acrobatic shot over Edouard Mendy and into the net.
Chelsea won the second half, but failed to get what could have been a crucial second chance on goal. Still, manager Tuchel will be very happy with the performance and the result.
The only downside for Chelsea after leaving Madrid in the rain would be that they failed to show their moments of excellence after a performance of quality and discipline.
Werner had a miss early on when he shot straight at Courtois, but Chelsea soon celebrated the genius of Pulisic, who beat the keeper to a crowded penalty and placed the ball between two Real defenders on the penalty line.
Chelsea were momentarily upset when Benzema equalised, but there were few signs of unrest until the closing seconds when Rafael Varane headed wide.
Tuchel will be pleased, but he knows this draw is far from over. There is still a lot to do against this dangerous Madrid team, who have already proven their level in the Champions League with the elimination against Liverpool.
Chelsea have the advantage because of the goals, but Real are the home team in these situations and will travel to Stamford Bridge with confidence for the return match.
Never forget Real Madrid
Chelsea are rightly considered slight favourites after not only avoiding defeat but also scoring in their second game at Stamford Bridge.
Despite this, Real Madrid remain a serious threat and there is much to be thankful for that they were able to avoid defeat after a desperate start that could have earned them more than one goal, and to be thankful for that terrible miss from Werner.
And in a team full of experience and seasoned players who have been in situations like this before, there will be a steely determination to get past Chelsea in the final.
Benzema, 33, is still a formidable striker and will pose a major threat to Chelsea, who are looking to reach the final for the first time since beating Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in 2012.
The French striker was Real Madrid’s best player, which is why he was so often underestimated and overshadowed by Cristiano Ronaldo. The brilliant goal that gave Chelsea the lead was his 71st of the season. Goal in the Champions League. That makes him the fourth most prolific scorer in the league, along with another Real Madrid legend, Raul, and just behind Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.
Benzema’s class is constant and he will be a big threat in the second round at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel remains unbeaten –Statistics
- Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has played Real Madrid in the Champions League without losing more times than any other opponent (W1 D4) – he is the only coach in the history of the competition to have faced Los Blancos five times without losing once.
- Chelsea have not won any of their eight Champions League semi-final matches away from home (D5 L3), losing each of their last five consecutive games.
- Real Madrid have played Chelsea more times than any other team in all competitions, but have failed to win all four of their matches (D2 L2).
- Real registered just one shot on target against Chelsea – only against Paris Saint-Germain (0) in September 2019 have they had fewer in a Champions League match since 2003/04.
- Karim Benzema of Real Madrid scored his 71st goal of the season. goal in the Champions League, making him the fourth highest scorer in the history of the competition (along with Raul). Only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski have scored more goals than the Frenchman.
- Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic became the first American player to score in a Champions League semifinal and one of four Americans to score in the knockout phase of the competition.
- Christian Pulisic became the youngest Chelsea player to score in a Champions League semi-final in history (22 years and 221 days).
- Chelsea defender Thiago Silva (36 years, 217 days) became the oldest outfield player to start a Champions League semi-final since April 2011, when Ryan Giggs (37 years, 148 days) started for Manchester United against Schalke.
Player of the game
- Team number7Players nameEdge
- Team number10Player namePulisic
- Team number19Player nameMonument
- Team number2Player nameRudiger
- Team number6 Player nameTiago Silva
- Team number21 Name of playerChilwell
- Team number4Player nameChristensen
- Team number28Players nameAzpilikueta
- Team number16 Name of the playerMendi
- Team number5Jorginhos Player name
- Team number22Players nameZeach
- Team number24James
- Team number29Havertz Name of player
- Team number11Player nameVerner
- 5VaraneBooking at 78mins
- 2CarvajalReplaced byOdriozolat 77’minBoki in 89min.
- 14 Casemiro
- 8CroosBucks in 60 mines
- 12MarceloMade for 65 minutesReplaced by Asensio after 77 minutes
- 9BenzemaSubstituted by Rodrigavec 90+2 minutes
- 20Vinicius Júniora came on in the 27th minuteRemoved by E Hazardin in the 66th minute
- 7E Danger
- 13 Lunin
- 24 Mariano
- 35 Gutierrez
- 6Tiago Silva
- 28AzpilicuetaReplaced by James in the 67th minute
- 5 Jorginho
- 10PulisicBoat at 38min Replaced by Ziechat 66’min
- 11VernerReplacement for Havertsat 66’min
- 24 James
- End of match, Real Madrid 1, Chelsea 1.
- End of the second half, Real Madrid 1, Chelsea 1.
- Rodrigo (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
- Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea) is penalised after committing a foul.
- Replacement, Real Madrid. Rodrigo replaces Karim Benzema.
- Luka Modric (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
- Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea) is penalised after committing a foul.
- Alvaro Odriozola (Real Madrid) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
- Alvaro Odriozola (Real Madrid) is penalised after committing a foul.
- Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.
- Corner, Real Madrid. Prepared by Ben Chilwell.
- The attempt failed. Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Set up by Tony Kroos with a cross after a corner.
- Corner, Real Madrid. Granted, N’Golo Kante.
- Attempt blocked. Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Sponsored by Luca Modric.
- Offside, Real Madrid. Nacho tries a through ball, but Marco Asensio is caught offside.
- Rescue attempt. Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box goes wide.
- Rafael Varane (Real Madrid) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
- Kai Havertz (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
- Rafael Varan (Real Madrid) is penalised after committing a foul.
- Replacement, Real Madrid. Marco Asensio replaces Marcelo.
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