Chelsea must reverse a two-goal deficit with Real Madrid after Karim Benzema’s hat-trick ensured a 3-1 victory over the errant holders at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the quarter-finals.
Benzema sent two great headers into the rain-soaked Stamford Bridge in the first three minutes of the first half as Madrid began to avenge last season’s semi-final defeat to the reigning European champions, Thomas Tuchel, in perfect fashion.
Kai Hawartz held a lifeline for Chelsea before half-time, but it evaporated 46 seconds after the restart when Edward Mendy left his area and played an under-hit pass to Antonio Rudigar to put Benzema’s hat-trick clinching goal on the plate.
Substitute Romelu Lukaku turned down two chances to reduce the backlog as Chelsea’s comeback effort was short-lived in a night of intense frustration that ended with the Blues losing the balance of the Champions League defense before returning to the Bernabeu next week.
Chelsea: Mendy (3), Christensen (4), Thiago Silva (6), Rudigar (6), James (5), Kante (5), Jর্গrgenho (6), Mount (5), Azpilicueta (5), Hawartz (7). , Police (4).
Members: Kovasic (5), Lukaku (5), Loftas-chic (5), Ziach (5).
Real Madrid: Courtois (8), Mendy (7), Alaba (7), Militao (7), Carvajal (7), Cruz (7), Casimiro (6), Modric (7), Vinicius (7), Benzema (9), Valvarde (7).
Members: Nacho (5), Camavinga (5), Bell (n / a), Ceballos (n / a).
Man of the Match: Karim Benzema.
Chelsea Champions League defense is in balance
Chelsea’s attempt to blow up Real Madrid eventually contributed to their early death, with their interest in attacking Real in midfield and behind, which they did within about 10 minutes, when Vinicius Jr. was pushed. Crossbar
- Reese James, Andreas Christensen, Jurginho and Christian Pulisic are back as Chelsea make four changes to their squad for Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Brentford in the Premier League.
- Federico Valvarde and Dani Carvajal have replaced Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez as Real Madrid made two changes after winning La Liga in Celta Vigo on Saturday.
The hosts ‘worst fear was realized in the 21st minute when Vinicius’ third successful take-on ended against Andreas Christensen and the Brazilian floated a cross into the area that Benzema headed home to a strong post nearby.
A quick twist, within three minutes, Benzema headed in Luka Modric’s great cross, stunned Stamford Bridge and dangerously hung up Chelsea’s Champions League defense.
Madrid created more opportunities to deepen Chelsea’s plight, with Eder Milita also heading straight for Mendi from a corner before Dani Carvajal’s shot painfully bounced off the Chelsea goalkeeper and Kristensen cleared in desperation.
But to avoid further damage, Chelsea returned to the game five minutes before the break, when Jিনrgenho’s looping cross found the head of Hawartz and his effort avoided diving Thibaut Courtois.
Chelsea’s hopes will last less than a minute after the break, with Benzema pushing over Mendy’s insane moment to block his weak pass to Rudigar and completing a consecutive Champions League hat-trick with a mixed finish in the unprotected net.
Captain Cesar forced Azpilicueta to save a stunning finger tip from Cortois as Madrid thwarted Chelsea’s increasingly desperate attempt to find a way back to the tie. Lukaku’s introduction in the 64th minute seemed to give Chelsea their second lifeline, but as Madrid held on to their healthy first-leg lead, he took a two-point lead.
TUCHEL: The tie is no more
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel: “Today, this [tie] Living with this performance? No, not now. We have to find ourselves again, not knowing where we have been since the international break. There was a repeat of the second half against Brentford in the quarter-finals against Real Madrid tonight. He has scored seven goals in five days. It’s worrying.
“Whatever the game demands, you can’t expect results from this kind of performance. We were far from our level, strategically, individually, in shape, in challenge. We tried to play in the new formation and made a big mistake and stopped playing.
“It’s never about one player or players, it’s about all of us, including me. Individually we have lost shape and sharpness. We haven’t seen the same thing since the international break, and I really don’t have an explanation. “
It’s hard to imagine Chelsea’s return
The sky Sports’ Jack Wilkinson:
Saturday’s humility was supposed to be a blip in Brentford’s hands, but it was complicated by another catastrophic Chelsea outing on a night of intense frustration at Stamford Bridge.
An evening that began with the intention of setting a marker for the reigning European champions in the quarter-finals, ended with a quiet Champions League clinic run by the 13-time winners.
Chelsea’s defense – and the season – is in balance. With the Premier League title long gone, defending their European crown was the last big prize for Thomas Tuchel, but now, even the Germans can’t sue for a comeback.
While in charge of Paris Saint-Germain, Tuchel became the only manager in the history of the Champions League to see a two-goal first-leg lead overturn on home soil when Manchester United knocked the Parisians out of the last 16 of 2018/19. Campaign
No need to remind Tuchel of that defeat, one he labeled “painful and brutal”, especially when his latest management venture went unnoticed. But it is now in front of Chelsea, and the message is clear – save your season while they still have one.
Real Chelsea defense unveiled – Opta statistics
- Real Madrid have now beaten the current Champions League champions in each of their last four matches, and for the sixth time in a row, now the most of any team in the history of the competition (Juventus 5).
- Chelsea lost for the second time at home under Thomas Tuchel, as they did in April last year. The Blues, however, have scored 3+ goals at Stamford Bridge for the first time since October 2012.
- Since the formation of the Champions League in 1992/93, only one of the previous 43 parties has reversed the deficit of 2+ goals in the first leg by going out of the house in the second leg, Manchester United defeated PSG in the last 16 in 2018/19.
Chelsea travel to Southampton in the Premier League at 3pm on Saturday, before heading to Real Madrid for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday at 8pm.