Real Madrid have advanced to the Champions League semi-finals after an unbelievable quarter-final second leg against Chelsea.
The Blues seemed set to pull off one of Europe’s greatest comebacks after going ahead 3-0 in Madrid, overturning the 3-1 deficit from the first leg. But the hosts scored before full-time and in the first-half of extra-time to claim the tie 5-4 win on aggregate.
In the first half, Chelsea looked an entirely different team to the one that subsided so meekly at home, overpowering Madrid with their physicality intelligence and speed.
They didn’t create many chances, but their dominance was such that it was no great surprise when they took the lead on the night, Mason Mount finishing superbly after good work from Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Timo Werner.
Chelsea remained in the ascendancy after the break, with Antonio Rudiger thumping in an equalizer soon after the restart, though Marcos Alonso had a fine goal disallowed for accidental handball, Werner then did brilliantly to put them in front.
Madrid weren’t simply accepting their humiliation, and shortly afterwards, Luka Modric a player on the periphery of the match -picked out substitute Rodrygo with a wonderful ball over the top and so the match went to extra-time.
Over the course of this second 90 minutes, Chelsea were probably worthy semi-finalists. If not for Benzema going berserk at the Bridge, they would have secured their passage to the last four. Instead, they needed one final push to book their spot, but they were again denied by the Frenchman.
The Frenchman powerfully headed Vinicius Junior’s cross past a helpless Mendy just six minutes into extra-time. The French star was again the match-winner, hitting his 38th goal of the campaign in his 38th game, and is this Champions League season’s outstanding player.