Following a 3-1 first leg advantage, Real Madrid were on the brink of capitulating against Chelsea at the Santiago Bernabeu yesterday. After a disappointing defeat at Stamford Bridge, the Blues showed character from the first minute against a Los Blancos side who appeared to have gotten complacent and deservedly opened the scoring in the 15th minute through Mason Mount to make it 3-2 on aggregate.
The game went to extra time and 6 minutes into it, Karim Benzema headed his side back in front following a sublime pass from his regular partner in crime Vinicius Junior as Los Blancos held on to progress to the Semi finals, 5-4 on aggregate.
For context, Chelsea were the better side in this second leg and one can conveniently argue that they didn’t deserve to be eliminated after such a spirited display at the Bernabeu. It wasn’t until the Blues had raced into a 3-0 lead with 15 minutes to go that Carlo Ancelotti’s men finally awoke from their slumber. As a team, Madrid were disoriented for much of the game especially at the back, but in the end, the individual quality of Modric and the head of Benzema made the difference.
Champions league number 14 is still on for the La Liga leaders as either Atletico Madrid or Manchester City awaits them in the semi finals, but if they continue to play the way they did against Chelsea going forward, it would be difficult for them to conquer Europe this season especially with teams like Liverpool or City still in the mix. Yes, Madrid survived Chelsea scare last night, but Carlo Ancelotti must know that his team are not yet there and they might not be so lucky again next time. Perhaps, if Chelsea had been more prolific or if VAR had not disallowed Marcos Alonso’s goal, it could have been a different story for the home side.
Kudos to Thomas Tuchel’s men for playing with so much aggression and purpose, it was a brave attempt to defend their crown and a kind of defeat that felt like a victory.