Real Madrid look the part in 2-0 win over 10-man Chelsea
Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio found the back of the net as defending champions Real Madrid secured a 2-0 advantage vs Chelsea as the sides faced off in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals in the Spanish capital on Wednesday.
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Chelsea looked lively and dangerous on the counter-attack early on, but eventually Real Madrid settled into prolonged periods of possession, forcing the Chelsea defense to withdraw deeper and deeper.
In the 21st minute, the pressure paid off, as Dani Carvajal lifted a ball into the penalty area and Vinicius Junior forced a tough save out of Kepa Arrizabalaga. Too far away to hold onto the ball, Kepa was only able to poke it into the path of Benzema for an open-goal tap-in and a 1-0 advantage.
Two minutes later, Raheem Sterling had Chelsea’s best scoring chance, but former Blue Thibaut Courtois got down quickly and sprawled out across his goal to palm the ball wide of the post.
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Real Madrid continued to threaten and cause problems and eventually, just before the hour mark, Chelsea were reduced to 10 men. Rodrygo got on the end of a long ball in behind the Chelsea, before Ben Chilwell pulled him down from behind on the edge of the penalty area. Denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, and a straight red card.
It was all Real Madrid following the sending-off, and Los Blancos got their (deserved) second goal in the 74th minute. Vinicius whipped a cut-back cross to Asensio atop the penalty area, and Asensio whipped a first-time, left-footed finish through traffic and just under Kepa’s hand to make it 2-0.
Difficult to see where Chelsea go from here
Sure, there is a chance that Chelsea overturn the two-goal deficit in the second leg and miraculously reach the semifinals, where they will almost certainly face Manchester City, but in all reality this is the end of the road for the 2022-23 season.
Thomas Tuchel’s side Graham Potter’s side Frank Lampard’s side sits 11th in the Premier League, eight points off the European places with eight games left to play, and just two wins in their last 11 league fixtures.
In those 11 games, Chelsea scored just seven goals. To make matters (much) worse, the Blues only scored a goal in four of them. Their current run has seen them go four games without a goal (all competitions) for the first time since December 1993 (seven months shy of 30 years).
This season (in all competitions): 15 wins, 16 defeats.
Stars of the show
Chelsea will welcome 7th-place Brighton to Stamford Bridge in Premier League play on Saturday (10 am ET), before Real Madrid turn up for the second leg next Tuesday (3 pm ET). Real Madrid, meanwhile, will be away to 14th-place Cadiz on Saturday (3 pm ET).
Real Madrid vs Chelsea first leg, live score: 2-0
21st minute - Karim Benzema scores the opening goal home after Vinicius’ shot saved by Kepa
59th minute - Ben Chilwell pulls Rodrygo down, is shown red card
74th minute - Marco Asensio guides home Real Madrid’s second goal
How to watch Real Madrid vs Chelsea live, stream link, updates and start time
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
Chelsea lost 1-0 at Wolves at the weekend in Lampard’s first game back and it wasn’t pretty. Perhaps they were focused on this tie against Real Madrid? Perhaps not. This Chelsea side is a mess on the pitch right now. Star players are bumbling around in a confused state as they still seem to be recovering from Thomas Tuchel’s shock departure, plus Graham Potter’s uninspiring tenure and now Lampard turning back up. Scoring goals continues to be their main problem and they have failed to score in their last three games in the Premier League heading into this clash. Maybe a trio of Christian Pulisic, Raheem Sterling and Joao Felix can be the answer to their problems in attack?
Real Madrid rested plenty of key players and suffered a shock 3-2 home defeat against Villarreal at the weekend as that all but ended their La Liga title hopes. Ancelotti was not happy with that performance and although Real are still very good, they aren’t as impressive as last season. Still, the likes of Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Thibaut Courtois, Toni Kroos and Vinicius Jr always seem to show up for these big European nights. The experience in this Real side is phenomenal and they can end a tie with a 30-minute blitz, as Liverpool found out in the last round.
Real Madrid team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Ferland Mendy (knock)
Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Armando Broja (knee), Cesar Azpilicueta (head)