Real Madrid imposes its ‘DNA’ against Chelsea and advances to Champions League semifinals
Real Madrid qualified for another Champions League semi-final after defeating English side Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday in a match that they were able to handle with the support of their experience and with Rodrygo Goes and Thibaut Courtois playing a leading role. The reigning champions came out on top of their visit to London where they struggled at times against an opponent that showed the reasons for their poor season, especially in attack. Even so, they had some good chances, especially one on the stroke of half-time that was saved by the Belgian goalkeeper.
Militao will not be able to play the first match of the semifinals
In the second half, when the home side were pressing hardest, the Madrid team found the space for Rodrygo, better than an off-key Vinicius Jr, to score the first of his two goals, with which he has now scored 15 in this competition. From then on, everything was easier for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, two games away from another final for the third consecutive season and the 32nd time in their history. The worst news, apart from Alaba’s injury, was Militao’s yellow card, which will make him miss the first leg of the semifinals. Chelsea wanted to ‘cheat’ with their eleven and disguised an apparent line of three centerbacks, with only two, turning Fofana to the right side despite the threat of Vinicius Jr to put Reece James further up. The Englishman and N’Golo Kanté, also very advanced in the pressure, were the main headaches for Real Madrid where Camavinga suffered in the side where many opponents appeared.
Chelsea tried to no avail
The visitors took refuge in the ‘handle’ of Kroos, who was the one who calmed the local start with his usual mettle, but they lacked more bite up front, with Modric not starting off well and with little prominence of Benzema and ‘Vini’. Despite this, the first big scare was ‘blue’ with a ball that fell very clearly to Kanté inside the area, but the Frenchman failed to execute well to the relief of Courtois. This made Frank Lampard’s team grow, but they lacked some offensive power due to the lone presence of Havertz. The German created problems for Militao, but he did not have much company and could not connect any of the numerous lateral crosses his team resorted to in many moments.
Courtois’ saving stop
Gradually, with Valverde joining the ‘8’ in the middle, the champion was settling more and could enjoy good chances with shots from Rodrygo, who crashed against the post, Modric, well repelled by Kepa, and especially one of Vinicius who did not hit well with everything in favor a great cross from the Croatian from the right, where the visitors were also doing damage. Real Madrid withstood Chelsea’s final push well and came close to surprise with a counterattack launched by Valverde that Benzema could not finish off properly, but just before the break, the London side had the best chance to strike a blow. Cucurella found a lost ball sent once again from the right and the time it took him to think was the one Courtois took advantage of to get up and cover him to the frustration of the stands.
Ancelotti was forced to make changes to his defense at halftime with the introduction of Rüdiger due to Alaba’s physical problems. Real Madrid did not come out as lively as a Chelsea team that came out more aggressive and came close to scoring the first goal with a shot by Kanté almost in the six-yard box that crashed into Militao. The Madrid side were going through their worst minutes, somewhat under siege, when they found the spaces they like. Cucurella jumped into the pressure and left space behind him for Rodrygo, who also beat Chabolah, who took too many risks and planted himself alone in the box. Benzema couldn’t get on the end of his killer pass, but it fell to Vinicius, who had the cool head to return it to his compatriot and put one foot and a half in the semifinals.
The Blues were determined to try to recover their chances as soon as possible, but showed their offensive problems of this season, although Courtois put a good hand on Enzo Fernandez. In another counterattack, Benzema could have scored and Lampard played Joao Felix, Sterling and Mudryk, while Ancelotti replied with Tchouameni for the ‘9’. Despite putting more ‘gunpowder’, Chelsea did not have order nor were they able to worry Courtois too much. Vinicius could have scored, but it wasn’t his night, it was Rodrygo’s, who scored a brace to put the English team to the sword after a ‘gift’ from an even more brilliant Valverde in the second half.