Chelsea vs Real Madrid 5/5/21 – Full Match Report

Blues book their tickets to Istanbul having dominated Madrid at the Bridge.


Pre-game:

After a 1-1 draw last week in Madrid, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea had their European destiny in the palm of their hands as they faced Spanish giants Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge.


A clean sheet looked to be more than enough to send Chelsea to their third ever Champions League final. Statistically, this looked more than achievable, especially given the fact that Tuchel’s side had kept 17 clean sheets in their previous 23 games under the German.


Having said that, the Blues were set to face a Real Madrid side that oozed experience. The semi-final clash was Madrid’s 14th in the Champions League – a competition record. Los Blancos also entered the match unbeaten in their previous 19 games – conceding just nine goals in the process.


It looked to be the battle of the defences in the first ever London based meeting between the two clubs. Both sides had their eyes set on the final in May, hoping to join Manchester City, who confirmed their spot in the final on Tuesday night.


For Chelsea, there was just one change to the side that started last week in Madrid, as Kai Havertz replaced goal scorer Christian Pulisic in the Blues attack. The visitors however made three changes to their starting line-up, as Sergio Ramos, Ferland Mendy and Eden Hazard all returned to Zidane’s starting eleven.


First half:

The game began with Madrid firmly in control of possession as they looked to dictate the tempo of the game from the opening whistle. There were early challenges on Eden Hazard, Toni Kroos and Nacho – as the Blues also looked to mark their authority on the game.


The first attempt of the game arrived on the 10th minute, as Toni Kroos looked to test Édouard Mendy from range. However, the attempt posed no threat and was gathered safely by the Senegalese shot stopper. This then encouraged long range from efforts from both Antonio Rüdiger and Luka Modric – with all players seeing their efforts comfortably saved.


On the 18th minute, Chelsea and Timo Werner had the ball in the back of the net after the German converted a sweeping cross from Ben Chilwell. However, Werner was penalised having been clearly offside when the ball was played and the game remained goalless.


As we reached midway through the first half, Madrid came close as Karim Benzema looked to find the bottom corner after a dazzling effort. However, an unbelievable stop from Mendy denied the Frenchman – who looked set to fire Madrid ahead with an important away goal.


Just minutes later, the value to Mendy’s previous save drastically increased – as Chelsea launched themselves to have one foot in Istanbul.


Although Madrid posed a threat going forward, they defensively struggled to keep up with Chelsea’s blistering pace. In a swift counterattack, N’Golo Kanté found Kai Havertz who found himself one on one with Thibaut Courtois.


As cool as you like, Havertz chipped the Belgian but saw his effort glance off the crossbar. Fortunately for the Blues, fellow German Timo Werner was there to head home the rebound and fire Chelsea ahead.

The pace of Werner looked too much for the Madrid backline to handle. On the 31st minute, the German looked in again with defender Antonio Rüdiger emerging alongside him. However, Werner’s pass was off the mark and the chance went begging.


The visitors looked to make the Londoners pay, as minutes later an encouraging Madrid cross found the head of Benzema – who was denied once again by an inspired Mendy.

Just before the halftime whistle, Chelsea had another chance to find a crucial second as they broke through Kai Havertz. The Blues however struggled to create and convert against a depleted Madrid defence. Albeit Tuchel’s side took a commendable one goal lead into the break – knowing they were just 45 minutes away from the final.


Second half:

Despite Chelsea’s lead, a goal from Zidane’s side would completely change the complexion of the tie. An equaliser from Madrid would have sent the game into extra time. The Blues needed a second goal for breathing space, and came close to finding it just a minute into the second half.


Blues captain César Azpilicueta delivered a teasing cross into the penalty area which was met by Kai Havertz, however, the German saw his effort clip the crossbar for the second time of the game. The Blues had a chance again just minutes later, as Thiago Silva’s header glanced over the bar following a Blues freekick.


It was chances galore at Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea had three chances to find a second within the opening eight minutes. In yet another Blues attack, Timo Werner’s backheel matched the run of Mason Mount – who found himself in on goal with a chance to snatch the headlines. Instead of chipping the Belgian, the England midfielder opted for power – and saw his effort sail over the crossbar.


On the 58th minute – Real Madrid should have been out of sight.


A simple ball over the top was latched onto by Kai Havertz – who once again found himself in a one on one with Courtois. The young German however failed to beat the Belgian, who saw his effort saved by the former Chelsea goalkeeper.

Seven minutes later, there was another break and another chance missed for Tuchel’s side.


With Werner once again leading the Blues charge, the German found N’Golo Kanté – who saw his effort sensationally blocked by substitute Federico Valverde.


There were later chances for both Thiago Silva and Kai Havertz – but once again the Blues failed to capitalise on their opportunities.


Having seen chance after chance go begging, it almost seemed as if the game was set up for Real Madrid to equalise. The frustration was beginning to show from some of the Chelsea players, who just couldn’t find thatall important second goal.


However, suddenly – Chelsea found their second breakthrough and had their plane booked to Istanbul.


Having once again counterattacked through the ever-present N’Golo Kanté, the Frenchman switched the play onto substitute Christian Pulisic – who looked destine to at least get a shot on goal.


The American instead cut back and squared the ball to an unmarked Mason Mount – who made no mistake in burying Chelsea’s well deserved second goal that booked their place in Istanbul’s final on May 29th.

With just minutes remaining, there wasn’t enough time left on the clock for Madrid to pull back what would have been an unforgettable comeback. Instead, it was Chelsea’s day in South-West London – as the Blues look forward to two cup finals over the coming weeks.

After the whistle:

Honestly speaking, Chelsea could have found the back of the net four or five times having missed countless golden opportunities on the night. The Blues looked sharp from the get-go, and won the tie based on their combination of defensive security and blistering attacking pace.

For Thomas Tuchel, the German remains unbeaten against Real Madrid and has clinched his second Champions League final in back-to-back seasons. Tuchel will hope to go one better this year, having tasted defeat last year against Bayern Munich with Paris Saint-Germain.


For the visitors, it seemed as if a lot of the Madrid players were living off memory. Despite their experience, Zidane’s side looked below par, and struggled to keep up with the high intensity that Chelsea played with.


Next up Los Blancos is an important home game against Seville, as they look to keep their league title dreams alive back in Spain.


For Chelsea, the Blues travel to the Etihad to take on fellow finalists Manchester City in the Premier League. A win for Guardiola’s side would be enough to clinch the Citizens the league title – whilst Tuchel’s side looking to spoil the party in Manchester.


Final score:

Chelsea 2-0 Real Madrid.

- Werner (28’).

- Mount (85’).


BBC Sports player of the match:

N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea).

Line-ups:

Chelsea (3-1-4-1): Mendy; Christensen, Silva, Rüdiger; Jorginho; Azpilicueta ©, Kanté, Mount, Chilwell; Werner, Havertz.

- Subs: Pulisic (67’), James (88’), Ziyech (88’), Giroud (90+4’).


Real Madrid (3-5-2): Courtois; Militão, Ramos ©, Nacho; Vinícius Júnior, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Mendy; Hazard, Benzema.

- Subs: Valverde (63’), Asensio (63’), Rodrygo (76’), Mariano (89’).


Referee:

Daniele Orsato.


Possession:

Chelsea (32%) vs Real Madrid (68%).


Shots:

Chelsea (15) vs Real Madrid (7).

Shots on target:

Chelsea (5) vs Real Madrid (5).

Corners:

Chelsea (2) vs Real Madrid (3).

Fouls:

Chelsea (18) vs Real Madrid (12).

- (credit | BBC Sport).


Match highlights:

- (credit | BT Sport).

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Written by Ryan Bellenie (@BellenieSport).

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