In another magical night for Karim Benzema, Real Madrid hit almost everything they tried this afternoon (6) and beat Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge to open a big lead in the quarter-finals of the Champions League . The number 9 scored the three goals, while Mason Mount decreased for the English.
With the victory in London, Real Madrid can even lose by a goal difference at home, on Tuesday (12), which still advances to the semifinals. And you’ll be able to play exactly like today, waiting for your opponent to take the initiative. Before that, however, both teams have commitments for the national leagues this Saturday (9): Chelsea visit Southampton, while Real receive Getafe.
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It went well: Benzema is the master of the knockout
It may sound repetitive, but Benzema, again, was the protagonist of all the moves that unbalanced today’s game in favor of Real Madrid, just like the historic turn in the round of 16 against PSG. The Frenchman was dominant on the field and became only the fourth player in history to score two consecutive triplets in the Champions League (only Messi, Cristiano and Luiz Adriano had done so before).
They were bad: Chelsea defense misses too much
Real Madrid went to London with the intention of playing in Chelsea’s mistake, so they had a lot of raw material to build their victory away from home. There were too many mistakes in the English marking, which left Benzema free twice in the first half and was still lucky not to take more —Vini Jr. and Carvajal also had great chances, but they didn’t. In the final stage, Mendy’s mistake was even more illustrative of a bad performance collectively as well.
Real play their game on counterattacks
Carlo Ancelotti set up Real Madrid with one striker down and Valverde making up the right side, closing on a five-line when Chelsea had the ball. It worked just after ten minutes, when the Uruguayan stole a ball and started the counterattack that Vinícius Jr. would finish on Mendy’s crossbar.
Thiago Silva suffers with Vini. Jr and co.
The scheme with three Chelsea defenders left Real’s attack one-on-one, an ungrateful situation for those who need to stop Vinícius Jr. and Benzema. In the 21st minute, the Brazilian escaped on Christensen’s back and crossed for the Frenchman to open the scoring, completely free after Thiago Silva was lost between the chase and the coverage of the area.
Benzema punishes loose marking
Chelsea were still groggy from the first goal when they conceded the second. Modric had all the freedom in the world in the middle to cross Benzema’s head, once again unmarked inside the area. The second goal set the pace of the game from then on: Real Madrid satisfied and closed off, and the English team forced to run after the loss. Lucky for Chelsea that Benzema squandered his third chance just before half-time.
Chelsea doubles down on strategy and declines
Chelsea gradually found themselves again after the two goals conceded and then managed to establish pressure for the first time, turning the ball and squeezing Real’s exit. It worked in the 40th minute, when Jorginho took off a precise assist for Mason Mount to appear behind Carvajal and decrease. After taking a lot of risks in the first half, the blue team even took a profit with the disadvantage of a single goal at half-time.
Who will stop Benzema?
The second half seemed to reserve news when Chelsea appeared with two changes and one less defender, but Benzema once again proved to be a giant in this Champions League. He believed in a failure by Mendy, stole the ball after the error and made the third move that reminded Donnarumma’s blunder in the round of 16. The third goal put Real in a comfortable position in the game and forced the home team to row all over again.
Chelsea can’t find the strength to resume
Caught in Ancelotti’s trap, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea did not find ways to respond to Real Madrid. He tried to control the possession of the ball, but he couldn’t create with the urgency that the score demanded. In the best chances he had in the second half, Azpilicueta stopped in a beautiful defense by Courtois, and Lukaku made a great effort and headed out a great opportunity inside the area.