Defending champions Real Madrid defeated Chelsea 2-0 in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday. Although Chelsea had a chance to score a goal three minutes into injury time, the current European champions were ultimately too good.
Real Madrid dominates the first half
Real Madrid controlled the match from the beginning, with Chelsea struggling to avoid the press when in possession. Benzema scored the first goal of the match, followed by Asensio’s second, which came just one minute after he was substituted in. Despite several opportunities to extend their lead, the scoreline remained 2-0 in favor of Madrid.
Chelsea’s defensive weaknesses exposed
Chelsea’s defense was exposed by the Madrid attackers, particularly Vinícius Júnior, who relentlessly tore into Chelsea. The backline looked cornered, escaping impossible, a nervousness every time they had the ball. The team struggled to find passes out of their half, and their discomfort with the ball at their feet was evident.
As the game wore on, it became clear that Chelsea were outclassed by a Madrid team that was simply too good. Vinícius Júnior’s speed and skill on the ball was too much for Chelsea’s defense to handle, while Benzema’s clinical finishing ensured that Madrid would take a commanding lead into the second leg. Despite some late heroics from Mount and Rüdiger, Chelsea were unable to find a way back into the game, and will now face an uphill battle if they hope to advance to the semifinals.
At the end of a night when control was applied, Carlo Ancelotti called the team’s display “complete.” Chelsea will need a strong performance in the second leg to stand a chance of progressing to the semifinals.
Chelsea could be relieved that the deficit was only two goals, something to grasp going into the second leg. However, Real Madrid’s complete control of the game and their scoring ability make it unlikely that Chelsea will be able to turn the tie around.
It was a disappointing performance from Chelsea, who struggled to create chances and looked vulnerable at the back. While they will take some solace in the fact that they are only two goals down, they will need to produce a much better performance in the second leg if they hope to overturn the deficit and advance to the next round of the Champions League. With their Premier League campaign also in the balance, it will be a defining few weeks for the London club.