Real Madrid vs Chelsea 27/4/21 – Full Match Report

An early Christian Pulisic goal was enough for Chelsea to leave Madrid with a crucially important away goal.


Pre-game:

Tuesday evenings European clash had all eyes on the Spanish capital, as Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea travelled to Madrid to take on the 13-time winners at the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium.


For Chelsea, it is the first time that they have reached the final four of the competition since their exit in 2014. That being said, the London club were set to make their eighth ever appearance in the Champions League semi-final – the most ever of any English club.


However, standing in the way of the Blues and the final was Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid – who also had former Blue Eden Hazard match fit and on the bench.


Ahead of the first leg, the Frenchman made 3 changes to the starting eleven that was involved in the last weekends stalemate against Real Betis – with Marcelo, Toni Kroos and Vinícius Júnior all being rotated into the side. The hosts however remained without Ferland Mendy and captain Sergio Ramos – who were both absent through injury.


The visitors however stuck with the same starting eleven that picked up all three points at the London Stadium on Saturday evening.


Going into the clash, Thomas Tuchel remained unbeaten in all of his previous games against Real Madrid, whilst also seeking victory in all of his seven semi-finals as a coach.


The meeting between the two sides was the first since the 1998 Super Cup, in which Chelsea won 1-0 through a late Gus Poyet goal.


First half:

Inside the opening 10 minutes, Chelsea had a huge chance to convert an all-important away goal.


As the Blues moved forwards through Mason Mount, the English midfielder worked the ball onto Christian Pulisic inside the penalty area, who headed the ball back across goal for Timo Werner to pounce. The German was instead left with his head in his hands, as he was denied by a superb Thibaut Courtois save.


Although it was early in the game, it seemed as if Tuchel’s Blues were in full control and dictating the pace of the game.


Just 5 minutes after the Werner chance, Chelsea broke the deadlock as they grabbed an early lead in Madrid.

It was another smooth move from the visitors, as this time defender Antonio Rüdiger launched a sublime ball forwards to the darting run of Christian Pulisic. After making a well-timed run, the American then took the ball round Courtois before firing the ball past the defenders and into the net. The effort was blocked by Raphaël Varane on the line, but the French defender couldn’t keep out Pulisic’s powerful effort as he fired the Blues in front.


With the pressure now on Madrid, the hosts were in need of an immediate reply. On the 22nd minute, Karim Benzema looked to find the leveller as he fired from range on his weaker foot. However, Los Blancos’ top scorer narrowly missed out on the top corner, and instead clipped the outside of the post.


Just 6 minutes later – Benzema had his goal and Madrid were level.

Having defended so well under Tuchel so far, this is a rare moment where you’d expect the Chelsea defence to do better. The hosts worked the ball onto Marcelo from a short corner, who then whipped a cross into the box. The header was won by Éder Militão, who knocked the ball back across the box in the hopes of a Madrid equaliser.


Chelsea lost a series of headers before the ball eventually fell into the possession of Benzema, who cushioned the ball brilliantly before volleying past Mendy for his 28th goal of the campaign.


Suddenly, there was a crucial turn in the early stages of the tie with Real Madrid starting to turn through the gears. The heavens had opened in the Spanish capital with torrential rain saturating the pitch. This only benefitted Zidane’s side, who were now passing and moving a whole lot better.


There were later chances for two German internationals, as Timo Werner and Toni Kroos both saw attempts off target.


Despite the heavy downpour in Madrid, the first half was stacked with entertainment – which shaped for even more important next 45 minutes.


Second half:

With a quarter of the tie played, the second half looked to be hugely important for either side – both for different reasons. In the opening 5 minutes, there was shots from both Werner and Benzema, but both caused no bother to either goalkeeper.


In contrast to the action packed first 45 minutes, the second half was played at a much slower pace with even more caution. In the hopes of breaking the hearts of his former team, Eden Hazard was subbed on for Real Madrid with just under 25 minutes left to play.

On the 70th minute, the Blues substitutes looked to combine as Hakim Ziyech played a teasing ball across the face of goal – but Kai Havertz failed to arrive in time.


7 minutes later, the German was able to exploit the rare open space and win the Blues a freekick in a dangerous position. The dead ball was struck by Ziyech, who saw his attempt comfortably saved by Madrid’s Belgian goalkeeper.


With minutes remaining, Madrid looked to grab a late winner and emerge as favourites heading into next week’s second leg. A long-range effort from Kroos was deflected wide for a corner, with Varane’s deflected header also causing danger just moments later.


However, despite the promising start to the ga,e – it ended all square in Madrid.


After the whistle:

In all honesty, it was a game of two halves. The first 45 minutes was full of chances and action – whereas the second half featured the more calculated, cautious football that we all expected.


For Chelsea, the early away goal is vital going into next Wednesday’s second leg. Leaving Spain with a draw is a great result, and the strong performance may just edge the Blues as favourites to reach the final on May 29th.


For the hosts, it was a game that the Spaniards can only improve from. Zidane’s side struggled to create many chances and were perhaps even fortunate to concede just the once in the first half.


With that being said, Madrid will be boosted by the potential return of captain Sergio Ramos for next week’s second leg – but know they have their work cut out against Tuchel’s determined Blues.


Before next week’s second leg blockbuster, Real Madrid will take on Osasuna in La Liga, whilst Chelsea face Fulham at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.

Final score:

Real Madrid 1-1 Chelsea.

- Pulisic (14’).

- Benzema (29’).


BBC Sports player of the match:

N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea).

Line-ups:

Real Madrid (3-5-2): Courtois; Militão, Varane, Nacho; Carvajal (77’), Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Marcelo © (77’); Benzema (90+2’), Vinícius Júnior (66’).

- Subs: Hazard (66’), Odriozola (77’), Asensio (77’), Rodrygo (90+2).


Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Christensen, Silva, Rüdiger; Azpilicueta © (67’), Kanté, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Pulisic (66’); Werner (66’).

- Subs: Ziyech (66’), Havertz (66’), James (67’).


Referee:

Danny Makkeile.


Possession:

Real Madrid (51%) vs Chelsea (49%).


Shots:

Real Madrid (9) vs Chelsea (11).

Shots on target:

Real Madrid (1) vs Chelsea (5).

Corners:

Real Madrid (4) vs Chelsea (6).

Fouls:

Real Madrid (11) vs Chelsea (9).

- (credit | BBC Sport).


Match highlights:

- (credit | BT Sport).

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