April 29, 2021

Benzema stunner earns Blancos a valuable draw against Chelsea

It ended 1-1 at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano in Madrid as both the blues and the whites earn a credible result at the end.

Thomas Tuchel, who named an unchanged team for the first time since he was appointed in January, saw his side make a lively start to the game with Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell going close either side of Pulisic’s 14th-minute goal.

Karim Benzema after scoring Madrid’s equaliser against Chelsea with a beautiful ‘touch and shoot’ finish.   –  GETTY IMAGES

Chelsea could have been 2-0 up but Timo Werner`s close range shot was well saved by Real`s in-form Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

They continued to pile forward, with N’Golo Kante breaking down the right and having his pick of teammates to pass to on the left side of the penalty area before Chilwell shot wide on 24 minutes.

The 13 times European champions were finding it hard to contain Chelsea and equalize and their in-form midfield were completely outplayed by the blue outfit and it just needed a bit of class to break them. Just then in the 29th minute Madrid`s talismanic goalscorer Karim Benzema rose to the occasion who controlled a knockdown on his chest before volleying into the roof of the net.

The visitors then had to withstand some late pressure from the hosts, as Toni Kroos drew a save from Edouard Mendy in the Chelsea goal before Raphael Varane put a header wide from the subsequent corner.

Chelsea deserved a win that night but Militao and Courtois were unbeaten after that Pulisic goal.

Let`s see how the post match press conferences faired out

Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea Manager) : “We started the game very very well, with a lot of courage and quality, We deserved to win the first half, we had chances. Unfortunately they scored from a set-piece and they had nothing else, we didn’t allow any chances.”

“It was a disappointing score at half time. We had to stay calm and not lose confidence. The second half was very tactical, you could feel that we are a bit tired. We only had a few days to recover from another tough away game. We have to live with 1-1.

“The goal was well deserved and we should have scored at least one more. We conceded more or less out of nothing and that can always happen against individual quality.”

Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid Manager): “The first half was a bit difficult but we were much better in the second, we controlled it better, and had more order,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “In the first half they started strongly, they’re good and quick, but in the end it’s a fair result.

“We wanted to press them high, man-to-man. But when you don’t start well it’s really difficult, and that’s what happened in the first 20-25 minutes until the goal, then we were much better. We had more control. In the end we’re alive, we’ll play the second leg. We’re happy with what we did in general.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.   –  REUTERS

“They’re really good team, very competitive, in 20 games, I think it’s 16 without conceding a goal, and it shows. They’re a team that’s in the semi-finals for a reason. It was a competitive game.”

That leaves things finely balanced ahead of the return leg in London next Wednesday when Madrid will look to reach the final for the fifth time in eight years.

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