After a temporary opening made Real Madrid look very comfortable, Chelsea increased the pressure and intensity to control the match.
And while Real Madrid seemed more than happy to sit behind the ball with ten men, Chelsea proved their ability to smash them, as Mason Mount shook the back net at the quarter-hour mark.
Chelsea have largely dominated the first half since then, but haven’t quite been able to design another high-quality opener, often not seeming to squeeze the problem as much as they should be.
The second half started the way the first did, and it didn’t take long to find a second goal that night as Rudiger headed home from a corner kick (maybe it wasn’t a corner kick).
It was still all with Chelsea where we were looking for a third. The first time we found it, the VAR ruled it out for the (supposed) ball grabbing Marcos Alonso’s hand. But there was no doubt about Timo Werner’s goal, to make it 3-0 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate.
But we still had 15 minutes left and, unfortunately, our lead lasted only a few minutes as Real Madrid finally got up and equalized on aggregate with Modric’s silly pass and Rodrygo’s easy finish – but not before Thibaut Courtois set up a superb goal. She saved a header from Kai Havertz to prevent his team from losing 4-0.
Chelsea were able to pull ourselves together after that short fragile period, and we should probably have won it before the end of regulation, with Christian Pulisic twice approaching in extra time.
And those mistakes came back to haunt us, as Karim Benzema found the net in extra time after a misunderstanding and a slip at the back. Chelsea had several chances to come back again, especially from set pieces, but there would be no fairytale ending. Not clinical enough after all.
With peace of mind.
- Just one change from Saturday’s 6-0 win, with Reese James coming in instead of Andreas Christensen, to tackle our weakness against Vinicius Jr from the first leg. RLC is once again in his hybrid role as the midfielder/right wing back.
- Pulisic for Werner in the likewise change of the game, the only one during the first 90 minutes. Ziyech, Sail, Jorginho play in overtime.
- Next up: Another big game, the FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace on Sunday
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