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Chelsea to face Real Madrid in Champions League semifinals

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The Eden Hazard Derby, sans Eden Hazard

The Real Madrid and Chelsea Club Badges Photo by Visionhaus

Real Madrid, holding a 3-1 lead from last week’s first leg, put in a pragmatic performance at Anfield today to hold Liverpool to a 0-0 draw and advance to the Champions League semifinal for the first time in three years. That’s quite the drought for them considering that they had made the semifinals for eight (8!) seasons in a row before then, winning it all four (4!) times.

Meanwhile, we will making our first semifinal appearance for seven years, since the 2013-14 season, when we lost to another team from Madrid, though of the more red stripe-y variety, and I don’t mean the beer.

After having to play both legs in Sevilla for our quarterfinal matchup against Porto, for the semifinal, we will be back in our usual spots. The first leg, coming up in two weeks, will be played at the Santiago Bernabeu Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano (due ongoing renovations at the Bernabeu), with the second leg following a week later at the Bridge — exact dates and times yet to be confirmed. That game will be Real’s first ever visit to SW6, which will make it doubly unfortunate that there will be no fans allowed back (yet).

Incidentally, Chelsea have never lost a competitive match to Real, with our most recent meeting seeing Chelsea win the 1998 UEFA Super Cup, 1-0, in Monaco (Gus Poyet with the late winner). Our only other two meetings came in 1971, both in the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup held in Athens. Instead of extra time or penalties, the teams replayed a game that finished 1-1 (Peter Osgood with the goal) two days later, with Chelsea winning 2-1 this time (John Dempsey and Osgood staking the Blues to a 2-0 first half lead).

UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup
Osgood, Harris, Dempsey
Photo by Reg Burkett/Daily Express/Getty Images

We’ve played a couple times since in preseason tournaments such as the International Champions Cup, including in 2013 and 2016, with Real winning both times, but those were just friendlies. And with Eden Hazard ruled out through (probably?) a season-ending injury, there will certainly be no love lost in these games coming up. Sorry, not sorry, Thibaut.

The winners will face the winners of PSG vs. Manchester City in the final on May 29 in Istanbul.

Real Madrid v SD Huesca - La Liga Santander Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images