“Real Madrid dominates Chelsea in Champions League quarter-final first leg”

Real Madrid dominates Chelsea in Champions League quarter final first leg
Real Madrid dominates Chelsea in Champions League quarter final first leg
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In the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie, Real Madrid defeated Chelsea 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Wednesday night. The Spanish side, who are the reigning champions, dominated the game and took the lead in the first half through Karim Benzema’s close-range goal after Kepa Arrizabalaga tipped a Vinicius Junior effort into his path. Despite controlling the game, it was not until the 74th minute that Madrid scored their second goal, with Marco Asensio drilling home from the edge of the box after a short corner routine.

Madrid relied on veteran midfielders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric to control the game against Frank Lampard’s struggling Chelsea. Lampard, in his second game as head coach, threw Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante straight into the starting line-up after injury worries. Kante shone against Madrid in the 2021 semis as Chelsea beat them en route to winning the trophy for the second time, and he was one positive for Lampard, slipping Joao Felix through on goal at the start. Despite early chances, Chelsea struggled to build in attack, and Modric curled a fine effort on to the roof of the net early in the second half as Madrid looked to put the tie out of reach.

Chelsea’s uphill struggle was made harder before the hour mark when Ben Chilwell was shown a straight red card for pulling down Rodrygo as he ran through on goal. The 14-time winners and reigning champions are now in a strong position to progress to the semi-finals after their impressive display, while Chelsea showed why they are struggling in 11th place in the Premier League.

Real Madrid’s victory was not unexpected, as they have been simply special in the Champions League despite their poor La Liga run. After surviving Chelsea’s early onslaught, Benzema and Asensio conspired to worsen the Blues’ plight. Benzema’s goal in the first half takes his tally to 14 goals in his last nine Champions League knockout games, and his last 11 goals in Europe’s premier club competition have come against English sides, with Chelsea, Manchester City, and Liverpool all falling victim to the reigning Ballon d’Or holder.

Carlo Ancelotti’s timely introduction of Asensio sealed the victory as the latter fired in the second goal and put Madrid in a commanding position to punch their ticket to the semi-finals. Madrid take a two-nil lead to London ahead of the return encounter, but this battle is surely not over yet. The record-holders of the competition looked comfortable and could have made the second leg a mere academic exercise. However, the Spanish giants failed to add to their tally, leaving the door open for Chelsea to stage a comeback at Stamford Bridge. The winners of the clash between Madrid and Chelsea next Tuesday will face Manchester City or Bayern Munich in the semi-finals.

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