Real Madrid are on the brink of advancing to the Champions League semifinals after Karim Benzema guided Los Blancos to an impressive and deserved 3-1 win over Chelsea in a rainy and windy Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. The French superstar produced two brilliant headers and scored on an Eduoard Mendy mistake, recording back-to-back hat tricks in the UCL. Benzema’s three in the second leg of the round of 16 saw Real bounce PSG from the competition, and he was just as hot in the first leg of the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The 34-year-old veteran now has 37 goals in 36 games for his club this season.
The Blues, winners of this tie in the semifinals last season en route to the title, were thoroughly outplayed on a soaked pitch at Stamford Bridge. Real took the lead 21 minutes in, and it took just 25 minutes for Benzema to score all three, putting his first two away on sensational headers. Here’s the first:
The second came on another header with delicate, top-tier placement, and the third came less than a minute into the second half on a shocking Mendy mistake.
Chelsea had no answer for Vinicius Junior playing on the back shoulder of the defense. When he crashed a shot off of the bar in the opening minutes of the match, it should’ve been a warning sign before he got free to assist Benzema. Part of the reason why he was able to play like that was confidence that Luca Modric would find everyone in attack as the Croatian midfielder had another magnificent day orchestrating play from deep.
Chelsea finished the match with 20 shots, 12 more than Real Madrid, but they have very little to show for it and face a massive uphill climb in the second leg. Former Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois is part of the reason behind that as he made a few impressive saves during the match to ensure that Chelsea couldn’t get much going.
After losing to Brentford 4-1 on the weekend, defense has to be a concern for Thomas Tuchel as his side has now allowed seven goals in their last two matches. The Blues don’t have many options to change things either as with Romelu Lukaku out of form, it’s not like they can pull out a traditional striker and Tuchel seems to feel the same.
When asked if the tie was still alive, Tuchel simply said “no,” adding, “We have to find our level back. I don’t know where it is since the international break, the first half is a repetition of the second half against Brentford.”
With Chelsea only being down two goals and also having big Premier League games on the horizon, hopefully the players take this as a challenge otherwise, things may get ugly.- CBSSports