After all the ESL Fiasco, the UEFA Champions League, returned last night. Semi-Finals. Heavyweights Real Madrid, taking on a resurgent Chelsea side was on the menu cards. After an intense first half and an “All Accepted” second, the game ended all square. All to play for at Stamford Bridge. However, Chelsea has got in their bags, the all-important away goal.
REAL MADRID (3-5-2)
Defenders: Nacho, Varane, Militao
Midfielders: Carvajal (Odriozola-77’), Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, Marcelo (Asensio-77’)
Attackers: Benzema (Rodrygo-90+2’), Vinicius (Hazard-66’)
Defenders: Christensen, Silva, Rudiger
Midfielders: Azpilicueta (James-66’), Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell
Attackers: Mount, Pulisic (Ziyech-66’), Werner (Havertz-66’)
Chelsea started the semi-finals on the front foot. Real Madrid was playing with spaces in between the lines. Mason Mount and Kante walked away with the ball as if their marker did not exist. Chelsea should’ve opened the scoring way earlier through Timo Werner. He missed an open sitter at 9’, which turned out to be a great save by the Galactico Custodian. However, the constant attack did reward the visitors at 14’, when Pulisic dribbled past Courtois and scored the goal. Karim Benzema was the only spark, in what was a dim first half for the hosts. A left-footed thunder strike by the number 9, just clipped the goalpost. Set piece play and the Frenchman scored a beauty of a goal. It was a well-deserved equalizer for Benzema. The first half ended 1-1, but Chelsea deserved at least a one-goal lead.
Tactical battle from both the managers in the second half. Real Madrid played rather deep. Benzema and Hazard dropped deep to collect the ball and make changes. Zidane did not want to concede more. Chelsea was being invited deep into the opposition half. But the poor performance in the final third did not trouble the scoreline. Real Madrid, managed to create some decent chances, through set plays. However, the intensity levels dropped from both teams and seemed to have decided to play everything for, in London.
Two great individual goals decided the semi-final. The game ended a stalemate, as Chelsea grabbed an all-important away goal. Real Madrid should be happy too. With the comeback of Ramos, Mendy among others, they will be spurring with confidence, come the return leg. Kovacic is expected to return too, which will solidify the Chelsea midfield. Everything to play for, these teams will be wanting to book their tickets to Istanbul. Will it be the seasoned campaigners? Or will the youngsters outwit their opponents? Let’s wait for an all-exciting leg at Stamford Bridge!
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