Chelsea held their very own away to Actual Madrid however needed to accept a 1-1 attract Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg after Karim Benzema scored an acrobatic aim to cancel out an early strike from Christian Pulisic.
Chelsea made a vivid begin in heavy rain on the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium and deservedly went forward when U.S. ahead Pulisic rounded Thibaut Courtois to attain within the 14th minute.
13 instances European Cup winners Actual regarded ragged and quick on concepts however pulled degree within the twenty ninth with a second of true class from the talismanic Benzema, who managed a knockdown earlier than volleying into the roof of the online.
Chelsea regarded the higher aspect within the second half as nicely however couldn’t break down Actual once more after which needed to face up to some late stress from the hosts, who go to Stamford Bridge within the second leg on Could 5 seeking to attain the ultimate for a fifth time in eight years.
Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel was pissed off his aspect couldn’t benefit from their early dominance.
“We began the sport very nicely, we had been aggressive, we confirmed braveness and high quality, we deserved to win the primary half. Sadly they scored from a set-piece, there was nothing else from them for us to defend,” he stated.
“It was a disappointing outcome at halftime the second half was a really tactical recreation. A bit extra composure and precision in entrance of aim and we’d have gained the primary half however we’ve to dwell with 1-1.”
This was the primary ever Champions League assembly between the 2 sides, who had been each named as founding golf equipment within the controversial European Tremendous League final week earlier than Chelsea swiftly withdrew from the competitors.
It was removed from an idyllic setting for such an event, performed on the tiny, empty enviornment positioned at Actual’s coaching floor and the continuous rain made it more durable for both aspect to create flowing passing strikes.
The guests had the primary clear opening when Pulisic nodded throughout to Timo Werner however former Chelsea keeper Courtois thwarted the German striker along with his legs.
Pulisic took no possibilities the subsequent time he acquired into the realm, controlling a protracted ball from Antonio Rudiger and dribbling round Courtois earlier than calmly passing it into the online, regardless of the efforts of Raphael Varane and Nacho to dam the shot.
Benzema carved out Madrid’s first likelihood by means of his personal efforts, swivelling away from a Chelsea defender on the sting of the realm earlier than aiming for the highest nook and hitting the publish.
The Frenchman had higher fortune along with his subsequent try, controlling Eder Militao’s header following a nook earlier than unleashing an unstoppable strike, scoring his twenty eighth aim of the season and his 71st within the Champions League, becoming a member of Actual nice Raul because the competitors’s joint-fourth high scorer of all time.
The second half was extra cagey because the spirit Chelsea had confirmed early within the match dried up as they drained, though they nonetheless managed to manage the sport whereas barely permitting Actual a sniff till the top.
Actual defender Marcelo admitted his aspect had underperformed however was assured about their possibilities of making it to the ultimate in Istanbul on Could 29.
“We knew that might occur however there’s one other recreation to come back, we’re nonetheless feeling good and we all know what we’ve to do, the return leg might be completely different.”
“We did not dictate the tempo of the sport and needed to adapt however we’re feeling calm.”