An intense start from Chelsea was a good demonstration of how they were not going to Real Madrid’s reserve stadium Alfredo Di Stéfano to maintain a goalless draw. So much so that we were rewarded a great chance 10 minutes into the match, with the shot by Timo Werner being parried by former Blues shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois.
Four minutes later, a long-range pass from Antonio Rüdiger would meet Christian Pulisic in Madrid’s penalty box. The American used his speed to veer away from Courtois, and shoot for the ultimate glory of scoring in a Champions League semifinal.
Chelsea continued to be the better side on the pitch, but the hosts no longer looked as awkward in a three-man defensive setup that they rarely put in place throughout the season. Shots from Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema showed that the Spaniards were a real threat to our intentions today.
Along came a short corner play, and a Marcelo cross propped by Militão in our box. The ball fell to Benzema who, with an amazing display of technique and flexibility, managed to keep control of the ball and take a powerful shot against our goal. The ball hit the inside part of the crossbar, and then fell behind the goalline to become the hosts’ tying goal.
Chelsea were still superior, and were still finding the better part of chances. At the end of the first half, Werner tried a shot from the right flank. However the attempt only hit the side of Courtois’ net.
The second half started out well for Chelsea, with an early chance for Werner being blocked by Madrid defender Éder Militão. Madrid responded with Benzema with a shot well over the crossbar.
However, both sides showed they would not be able to bring the intensity of the first half into the second one. Chances were few and far between, including a well-taken free-kick by Hakim Ziyech — a substitute to Pulisic — that forced Courtois to intervene.
- No chances made from the starting eleven that faced West Ham and won 1-0 at London Stadium. In fact the most interesting tidbit lies on the opposition, since Madrid are playing with a three-man defence for the sixth time this season.
- Subs are Hakim Ziyech for Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz for Timo Werner, and Reece James for César Azpilicueta
- Chelsea’s first half was stupendous. With better finishing, we could have had the lead despite Karim Benzema’s display of magic with his goal.
- N’Golo Kanté is a gem. We cannot say that enough.
- Seeing Eden Hazard not wearing our colours was very weird. Miss ya, buddy!
- Next up: Fulham at Stamford Bridge for the Premier League.