Chelsea’s hopes of completing a miraculous comeback in the Champions League were dashed after they could only manage a 3-2 win at Real Madrid after extra time.
The Whites squandered their two-goal lead before scoring late to extend the tie for a further 30 minutes, during which Karim Benzema again stepped up to send them through to the semi-finals at the expense of the defending champions with a 5-5 aggregate victory. Four. .
The reigning European champions took the lead on the night after 15 minutes as Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Timo Werner combined before passing Mason Mount, the midfielder launching a ferocious effort past Courtois to give the visitors some hope.
Real Madrid’s attackers struggled to be on the same page, with Vinicius Junior getting into good positions on the channels before giving the ball up under pressure on several occasions.
A speculative half-volley from Benzema hit Thiago Silva’s shoulder and sailed over the crossbar before Casemiro fired over the top as Real Madrid’s frustration continued and they headed into half-time just a goal ahead on aggregate.
Tuchel’s men continued their dominance after the break with Reece James’ shot deflected wide behind Luka Modric, and Antonio Rudiger scored from the ensuing corner, heading into the far corner to level the aggregate scoreline.
A low cross from Ferland Mendy that Benzema evaded finally brought the Bernabeu crowd to their feet as Real looked to get back in front.
Federico Valverde nearly brought down the renovated roof halfway down the venue with a whipping volley from range, narrowly sailing.
And Real thought they had been made to pay when Chelsea went down the other end immediately and scored. N’Golo Kante and Marcos Alonso staged a quick counter-attack, with Dani Carvajal blocking the Spaniard’s initial shot but being unable to stop the bluesy left-back’s wicked rebound.
However, replays showed that Carvajal’s block bounced off Alonso’s hand before his second shot and the goal was disallowed.
Benzema headed the crossbar at the other end, before Werner convincingly found Chelsea’s third of the night. The German ran into Mateo Kovacic’s beautiful pass and sat Casemiro and David Alaba on their butts before his shot deflected past Courtois.
The lanky Belgian flung out a strong hand to deny the Blues their fourth when Havertz rose higher from a corner kick, and Real leveled the equalizer through substitute Rodrygo moments later. A curling ball from Modric from above fell perfectly for the Brazilian, who brushed the goal with a superb volley.
Christian Pulisic squandered two great chances to steal victory in stoppage time, but twice he shot wide and a back-and-forth second leg went into extra time.
Real Madrid regained the aggregate lead in the 96th minute when they caught Chelsea asleep, with a Vinicius cross for Benzema to score his third header of the tie, past Rudiger, who slipped at a costly moment.
Hakim Ziyech fired a ferocious shot at the near post from Courtois with seven minutes remaining, but the former Blues goalkeeper was up to the task, and Kai Havertz’s free header from James’ pinpoint cross went agonizingly wide.
A dragged goal from Jorginho after Real Madrid failed to clear a corner was Chelsea’s last half chance as Carlo Ancelotti’s men held on to go away as the victors of a classic Champions League draw.
Here are the ratings of their players…
Thibaut Courtois (Goalkeeper) – 5/10 – He was hardly imposing given his size and almost puntd directly to Havertz three times.
Dani Carvajal (RB) – 7/10 – It was not horrendous despite the itinerant presence of Alonso. Padding well in the center of the back, too.
Nacho Fernandez (CB) – 5/10 – Actually, it’s not that bad given the inept defense going on around it.
David Alaba (CB) – 4/10 – My God, the Austrian will not want to see this clumsy performance again.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – 3/10 – Useless at both ends of the field. Towed for Marcelo.
Casemiro (DM) – 5/10 – He provided little security in midfield and was hooked on striker Rodrygo.
Luka Modric (CM) – 8/10 – He didn’t dominate the match but he picked and chose his moments, notably creating Rodrygo’s equalizer.
Toni Kroos (CM) – 3/10 – He couldn’t keep up with Loftus-Cheek and was constantly harassed. Substitute with 73 minutes on the clock.
Federico Valverde (RW) – 5/10 – Everywhere, no matter what position he was playing.
Karim Benzema (CF) – 9/10 – Isolated for much of the night, but looked as dangerous as ever when he had the ball.
Vinicius Junior (EI) – 6/10 – He looked like the Vinicius of old, wasteful and playing with his head down, until he turned on the afterburner in extra time.
Eduardo Camavinga (73′, CM for Kroos) – 7/10 – He brought a much-needed urgency to the midfield.
Marcelo (78′, LB for Mendy) – 6/10 – He was much more useful than Mendy.
Rodrygo (78′, RW by Casemiro) – 8/10 – What an impact. Work done.
Lucas Vázquez (88′, LD of Nacho) – 6/10
Dani Ceballos (115′, CM for Vinicius) – N/A
Edouard Mendy (goalkeeper) – 6/10 – There wasn’t much he could do about either goal.
Reece James (RB) – 6/10 – Yellow card after 10 minutes for a foul on the edge of his own area. A first test part but much more comfortable later.
Thiago Silva (CB) – 5/10 – He seemed pretty cunning at all times, again.
Antonio Rüdiger (CB) – 7/10 – So close to a supreme performance, and his slip in overtime ultimately cost his team. Other than that, he was phenomenal in what could have created a lot of leverage for his contract negotiations.
Marcos Alonso (LB) – 7/10 – Real Madrid really had no solution to stop Alonso other than to hope that Carvajal would get lucky from time to time.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CM) – 7/10 – Where did this performance come from? He used his physicality to bulldoze his way through the Real Madrid midfield, making mincemeat out of Casemiro and Kroos.
N’Golo Kante (CM) – 5/10 – Swept well but was loose in possession. Sacrificed to bring another attacker on Ziyech.
Mateo Kovacic (CM) – 7/10 – He thoroughly enjoyed driving and weaving through a field he used to call home.
Mount Mason (AM) – 8/10 – Chelsea’s glue guy was on his feet when his team needed him once again. Well deserved goal and assist.
Kai Havertz (FC) – 5/10 – He had some good touches and dribbles, but didn’t seem like he was taking the game by the neck.
Timo Werner (CF) – 8/10 – A constant thorn in the side of Real Madrid, fully deserving of his goal. The hosts would have been glad to see him replaced.
Christian Pulisic (83′, Werner CF) – 6/10 – Walked in and it was busy, but decidedly wasteful.
Hakim Ziyech (99′, AM by Kante) – 5/10
Saul Niguez (106′, CM for Loftus-Cheek) – 5/10
Jorginho (106′, CM for Kovacic) – 5/10