Mason Mount and Timo Werner were on target for Chelsea, while Luka Modric starred for Real Madrid in their stunning UEFA Champions League quarter-final showdown.
Chelsea almost managed to pull off one of the greatest comebacks of the UEFA Champions League history against Real Madrid on Tuesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu but faltered at the finish line. Coming into the second leg of their quarter-final tie with a 3-1 deficit from the first leg at Stamford Bridge, the Blues showed that they meant business from the word go.
Chelsea played with an intensity and vigour that had lacked in the first-half display at the Bridge last week. And their positive start paid off when Mason Mount put them in front just 15 minutes into the game. Real Madrid, meanwhile, struggled to produce anything meaningful in attack, with a couple of speculative efforts from a distance by Karim Benzema and Casemiro being their only attempts in the first half.
Chelsea continued to put their hosts under pressure in the second half and were soon able to level the aggregate scoreline when Antonio Rudiger thumped home a header from a corner in the 51st minute. With Los Blancos seemingly rattled, the Blues went for the jugular and had soon made it 3-0 on the night when Marcos Alonso fired home a fierce strike, but the goal was chalked off for handball.
Benzema came close to pulling one back for Real Madrid, but his header hit the bar. And it looked like it was not meant to be for the Spanish giants as Timo Werner produced a stunning goal in the 75th minute to make it 3-0 for Chelsea and put them in front on aggregate as well. However, with less than 15 minutes left, Real Madrid rallied back strongly, putting the visitors under the cosh for the final stretch.
It was then that Luka Modric produced a moment of magic, with his sublime outside-of-the-boot cross finding substitute Rodrygo Goes who volleyed home to make it 4-4 on aggregate and force the tie into extra-time as Chelsea substitute Christian Pulisic squandered two great chances to win it for his team late in normal time.
And six minutes into the first half of the extra time, Real Madrid were back in front on the aggregate scoreline as Benzema came back to haunt Chelsea with a thumping header from a Vinicius Junior cross. Thomas Tuchel’s men pushed and probed for an equaliser, but the home team kept their discipline to see out a 5-4 aggregate win that earns them progression to the semi-finals.
Chelsea, who are the present holders of the Champions League, put up a spirited fightback but could not get across the line and fell agonisingly short. Here are our player ratings for both sets of players after a gripping encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid Player Ratings
Thibaut Courtois: 7/10
Courtois and a special shot in a difficult time against Haveritz. pic.twitter.com/4oSrpKV0kM
— Hozayfa Rachdan حذيفة رشدان (@hrashdan76) April 12, 2022
The former Chelsea goalkeeper could not have done much about any of the three goals that the Blues scored. However, he did make some vital saves, denying Havertz at 3-0 and Ziyech at 3-2, apart from a couple of other stops. Courtois also showed some neat footwork and distribution on the night.
Dani Carvajal: 7/10
The Spaniard was partly culpable for Chelsea’s opening goal as he did not track his runner. And there were some sloppy moments on the ball when put under pressure. But Carvajal stuck to his task and produced a dogged display, even after moving into an unfamiliar centre-back role for the final thirty minutes or so.
Nacho Fernandez: 5/10
Getting into the side due to Eder Militao’s suspension, the senior defender was far from convincing. He charged out of his line aggressively, leaving space behind, which Chelsea capitalised on for the first goal. He did not look solid enough on the night, and he was taken off injured late in the game.
David Alaba: 6.5/10
Like Nacho, Alaba had some ill-advised moments early on when he stepped out of the line one time too many, which allowed Chelsea space to cause problems. However, he recovered strongly as the game wore on and made some crucial interventions while also marshalling Carvajal as his centre-back partner through the extra time.
Ferland Mendy: 4/10
A poor display from the Frenchman, who recovered from fatigue to make it to the starting XI. Mendy looked off the pace and lacked ideas throughout his stay on the pitch. He did not offer much going forward, while Chelsea had much joy attacking his flank. He made way for Marcelo.
It has been that kind of season for Casemiro when he has often looked well below his best. On Tuesday, it was another of those nights as he struggled to cope with the Chelsea midfield unit and failed to offer security to his backline. He made way for Rodrygo in the second half.
Luka Modric: 8/10
Luka Modric’s pass looks even better as a gif ?? #UCL // #RMACHE pic.twitter.com/vjyAMV69ak
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) April 12, 2022
One of the few Real Madrid players who did not look fazed under the pressure after Chelsea made a stirring comeback, Modric battled hard all through the night, defying his age, as he pressed with intensity, tried to provide defensive support and the attacking thrust.
The veteran Croat then produced a stunning moment of magic in the second half, assisting Rodrygo with a delectable outside-of-the-boot pass to turn the tide around. Modric continued to work hard and helped Real Madrid see the game out, bringing out all his experience and know-how on Tuesday night. Simply brilliant.
Toni Kroos: 5/10
Like Casemiro, Kroos was struggling to stamp his authority on the proceedings and found it hard to go toe-to-toe against Chelsea, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek getting the better of him. His passing was not up to the usual mark, even though he finished with 91% accuracy on the night. The German did not create much of note and was taken off in the 73rd minute, which did not please him.
Federico Valverde: 7/10
The Uruguayan was again full of heart and energy for Real Madrid as he kept pushing Chelsea when they were in possession, trying to force mistakes. A willing runner, Valverde did not take the foot off the gas for one minute throughout the game. His energy and enthusiasm were key for the home team to get over the line.
Karim Benzema: 7/10
38 official games this season.
38 goals, 12 scored in UCL.
Karim Benzema. ⭐️?? #UCL pic.twitter.com/GbVzekdavU
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 12, 2022
The hero of the first leg was starved of chances for the majority of the game as Chelsea’s game plan to isolate him at the top worked well. It forced him to drop deep in an attempt to get on the ball, making him ineffective in the final third. However, when the chance presented itself, Benzema made no mistake, burying home a fine header to send Real Madrid through to the semi-finals. Clutch.
Vinicius Junior: 6.5/10
The Brazilian was lively as usual and made some good runs down the left flank, but his decision-making was off in the early phases of the game, which led to some avenues getting wasted. However, Vinicius once again combined with Benzema to set him up for the goal in the extra time that sealed Real Madrid’s progression.
Eduardo Camavinga: 7.5/10
He came on for Kroos in the 73rd minute and made a big impression. The youngster did well to protect the ball under pressure from Chelsea, made intelligent passes, drove forward when required and hung back when needed, showing great poise and maturity. Camavinga played a part in the second goal for Madrid, and he deserves more opportunities from the manager.
What a performance! @Camavinga pic.twitter.com/rFFMfhHBQZ
— MadridistaReal (@RMadridistaReal) April 12, 2022
The Real Madrid captain replaced Mendy in the 78th minute and offered a much better outlet on the left while also doing his best at the back. Marcelo had a hand in the buildup to the second goal.
Rodrygo Goes: 7/10
Fine volley to turn Modric’s cross into the net moments after coming on for Casemiro.
Lucas Vazquez: 6.5/10
He was sent on in place of the injured Nacho in the 88th minute. Vazquez slotted in at right-back with Carvajal moving to centre-back. The Spaniard battled hard for the 30 minutes or so that he was on the field.
Dani Ceballos: N/A
Late substitute in extra time, coming on for Vinicius.
Chelsea Player Ratings
Edouard Mendy: 6/10
Mendy was much more assured with the ball at his feet than in the first leg. But the Senegalese international could do little to stop Real Madrid’s goals on the night. He was not forced into any major saves, otherwise.
Reece James: 7.5/10
Karim Benzema asking for Reece James shirt at the end. Just shows you the respect our academy players get in world football. pic.twitter.com/ouBLy68Tv9
— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) April 13, 2022
Starting on the right side of the back three, James looked a bit shaky early on as Vinicius threatened to tear away from him, leading to a foul and a booking just ten minutes into the game. However, he regained his composure and did very well to keep the Brazilian in check for the majority of the game from then on. But he lost the Real Madrid winger in the lead-up to Benzema’s all-important goal in extra time.
Thiago Silva: 6/10
The veteran defender marshalled the backline well for large parts of the game, dealing with the threat of Benzema well and ensuring that the Frenchman stayed isolated. However, he lost his bearings in two vital moments of the clash as first Silva was caught out for Rodrygo’s goal, and then he stood back and allowed Vinicius to pick his cross for Benzema’s strike.
Antonio Rudiger: 7.5/10
The German international proved again why a host of top clubs are gunning for his signing this summer as he put in a near-perfect display filled with energy, heart and passion. Rudiger defended with everything he had, making blocks and interceptions to keep Real Madrid at bay and then popped up to score a powerful header at the other end that brought his team back level on aggregate.
However, an unfortunate slip in the extra time allowed Benzema to pull free and head home the goal that sealed the deal for the hosts. Up until that point, Rudiger had been masterful and made a strong case for Chelsea to hand him his desired contract.
Give Thomas Tuchel everything he wants to improve this Chelsea side and give Antonio Rudiger anything he wants to sign that contract.
The master tactician and his mightiest warrior. Leaders on and off the pitch. With the right backing, we will be competing for all the trophies pic.twitter.com/3bt0btxsSR
— CfcSheikh (@CfcSheikh) April 12, 2022
Ruben Loftus-Cheek: 7/10
A surprise selection on the night, but Loftus-Cheek repaid the faith shown by Tuchel with a powerful performance on the right-side channel. The Englishman proved too much for Kroos to deal with as he pushed forward with power and physicality, and played a role in the buildup to the opening goal. Off the ball, too, Loftus-Cheek did many things right on Tuesday.
N’Golo Kante: 6.5/10
After a disappointing display in the first leg when he was taken off at half-time, Kante bounced back with a fine performance at the Bernabeu. The Frenchman harried the Real Madrid midfield with his relentless pressing and used the ball effectively in the first half of the game. While he continued to sweep things up well after the break, Kante started to show signs of tiredness, and it was his sloppy pass that was intercepted, leading to Rodrygo’s goal.
Mateo Kovacic: 7.5/10
Back to his old home, Kovacic was up to the challenge against Real Madrid as he constantly weaved through the home team’s press and drove Chelsea forward when on the ball. When not in possession, the Croatian did a good job of keeping his compatriot Modric quiet. The 27-year-old also played a fine pass leading to Werner’s goal in the second half and continued to run himself into the ground for the rest of the game in hopes of a late turnaround.
Marcos Alonso: 7/10
Another former Real Madrid ace, Alonso, too, had a positive game on his return to his old club. The Spaniard was a constant outlet down the left side and played in some nice passes for Werner. He even found the back of the net with a fine strike but saw the goal get chalked off for an unlucky handball.
Mason Mount: 8/10
Mason Mount’s game by numbers vs Real Madrid (120 mins):
100% tackles won
100% long ball accuracy
82% pass accuracy
36 passes completed
5 duels won
4 chances created
2 crosses completed
The holders are out, but they have a star. ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/lohCmDc8LP
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 12, 2022
The in-form Chelsea academy graduate continued from where he left off against Southampton at the weekend. Mount got the ball rolling for Chelsea’s comeback on the night as he showed superb movement before producing a fine finish to make it 1-0. He then got the assist for Rudiger’s goal with an accurate corner kick. His line-breaking runs often caused problems for Real Madrid, but he seemed to tire out in the latter stages of the game.
Kai Havertz: 6/10
Sharp movement, unselfish work, but Havertz did not pose much of a goal threat on the night. He did come close to scoring just before Rodrygo’s goal but was denied by Courtois. The German should have done better with another chance in extra time when he headed wide.
Timo Werner: 8/10
The former RB Leipzig forward was a constant thorn in the side for Real Madrid as his pace and movement off the ball posed a lot of problems. Werner had a hand in the opening goal that Mount scored and then made it 3-0 in the second period with a finish that saw him sit down several Real Madrid players. Werner was taken off soon after, and Los Blancos would have been relieved to see his back.
Respect Werner ?? pic.twitter.com/uEWMtIbNZC
— Art olamide (@AkinosunOlamide) April 13, 2022
Christian Pulisic: 4/10
Pulisic came on for Werner in the 83rd minute. He had two great chances to win it for Chelsea, but the USMNT international was wasteful, and his misses ended up costing his side.
Hakim Ziyech: 5/10
Ziyech replaced Kante for the final twenty minutes of extra time. Drew a save from Courtois.
On for the final 15 minutes or so. Jorginho did not do much of note apart from dragging a shot wide late on.
Saul Niguez: N/A
The Atletico Madrid loanee replaced Loftus-Cheek for the final 15 minutes.
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