Holders Real Madrid continued their quest to retain their UEFA Champions League title with a 2-0 success against Chelsea in the second leg of their quarter-final tie.
Trailing 2-0 after last week’s first leg, the home side understandably took the game to their opponents from the very beginning and had the first opportunity of the match with just over ten minutes gone. N’Golo Kanté was quickest to react to a loose ball after Kai Havertz had an effort blocked in the Madrid penalty area, but the midfielder struck his half-volley into the turf and the shot skewed wide.
The reigning champions did not take long to respond and Rodrygo almost applied the finish to a neat move to the right of the area, but his fierce drive cannoned off the outside of the upright.
Both sides had further chances before the interval, Vinícius Júnior outpacing Wesley Fofana to meet Luka Modrić’s inviting centre, but the Brazilian international’s attempt to place his effort out of the reach of Kepa Arrizabalaga meant it flew the wrong side of the post.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois showed why he was named Player of the Match in the 2022 final, scrambling off his line to narrow the angle and deny Marc Cucurella a sight of goal after Reece James’ low centre had somehow found its way through the crowded box to his fellow wing-back.
The hosts, roared on by their supporters, appeared to be in the ascendancy after the break but were undone by the speed of a Real Madrid counterattack. Rodrygo collected an intelligent Éder Militão pass near the right wing before skipping past Trevoh Chalobah’s challenge and reaching the byline. He picked out Vinícius Júnior, who unselfishly returned the favour for his international team-mate to power in from close range.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men struck again with ten minutes remaining thanks to another goal crafted via their South American contingent. Vinícius Júnior’s cut-back found Federico Valverde on the edge of the box, who burst past two defenders before teeing up Rodrygo for a simple finish.
Frank Lampard, Chelsea manager, speaking to BT Sport: “We played really well for 60 minutes. We had really good chances and at this level you have to take them. You don’t want to praise a performance too much when you lose at this level, because it’s finite. It is what it is.”
Conor Gallagher, Chelsea midfielder, speaking to BT Sport: “We played well and had a lot of chances, definitely more and better chances than they did. But football is all about taking your chances and we didn’t do that today, which was disappointing. Of course, we’re going to be gutted, but we played some good stuff today.”
Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid coach: “This was a match where we really had to suffer to win. Initially they caused us some problems down the left but we sorted that. By the end, we had produced a very complete performance. We hit a good level – and we were particularly solid at the back. This is a merited result over and we’re all absolutely delighted.”
Rodrygo, Real Madrid goalscorer: “I still don’t know how to explain how the Champions League makes us all react and perform, but I have to say that it’s very special indeed. Whenever I play, my only intention is to help my team. Now I want to keep playing – and scoring – and I want to win more Champions League trophies.”
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