A rare meeting between Real Madrid and Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals with both teams aiming to reach the last stage in Istanbul.
Los Blancos defeated English opponents, Liverpool, in the quarter-finals; while Chelsea already faced Sevilla in the group stages and knocked Atletico Madrid out in the last 16 of the competition.
Madrid almost stole the lead when N’Golo Kanté’s pass was intercepted by Vinícius Júnior inside the Chelsea box however, the defence sorted out the blunder which led to a Blues counter-attack.
A deflection of Luka Modric allowed Christian Pulisic to redirect the ball in front of the goal for Timo Werner to score, but Thibaut Courtois made himself big and saved the attempt with his left leg in the 9th minute.
The second chance, Pulisic decided to go on his own after a long ball by Antonio Rüdiger allowed the American to beat Nacho and go around the goalkeeper with composure, giving Chelsea the precious away goal in the 14th minute.
As the rain started to pour, Real Madrid slowly began to assert their game plan which resulted in Karim Benzema’s shot from outside the box hitting the outside of the post in the 22nd minute.
However, after missed opportunities for Chelsea to extend their lead, Real Madrid was awarded a goal in the 29th minute.
A short corner to Marcelo allowed him to cross it deep to Casemiro who headed back into the box for Éder Militãoto to flick it towards Benzema. The French talisman then controlled the ball with his head and volleyed it past Chelsea’s goalkeeper.
The half ended with Chelsea failing to capitalise on the space and chances created from the counter-attack and conceding an uncharacteristic goal.
The second half began with both Werner and Benzema having half-hearted attempts at goal but the game became more measured with Real Madrid playing deeper to stop Chelsea’s counter-attacks.
After the hour mark, both coaches looked to the bench to gain the upper hand. Tuchel used a triple substitution with Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, and Reece James on for the goal scorer Pulisic as well as Werner and César Azpilicueta. Eden Hazard made his appearance in the 65th minute for Los Blancos.
After Chelsea’s first meaningful counter-attack of the second half with 12 minutes left to go, Raphaël Varane fouled Havertz in a dangerous position on the right-hand side of the box, but Courtois comfortably saved Ziyech’s free-kick.
The game ended with Chelsea taking an away goal back to Stamford Bridge but after their first-half performance, many Chelsea fans will believe it should have been more.
Source of Image: Champions League’s Twitter
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