Real Madrid secured their spot in the Champions League semi-finals with a dominant 2-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, giving them an emphatic 4-0 aggregate triumph. The defeat effectively ends Chelsea’s season, as they have now lost all four matches since Frank Lampard returned to the club as caretaker boss. Despite entering the match with poor form and history against them, the home team started brightly, playing enterprising football. However, two missed chances in the first half would come back to haunt them. Real Madrid took advantage of Chelsea’s profligacy when Rodrygo scored in the 58th minute, doubling his tally with another goal ten minutes before the final whistle.
Lampard restored Reece James, Mateo Kovacic, and N’Golo Kante to his lineup, but Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti stuck with the same team that won the first leg 2-0. Roared on by an expectant crowd, the home side made a bright start against the 14-time winners. But despite a glorious chance to take the lead, Kante skewed his left-foot shot wide from about 12 yards. Real Madrid, content to bide their time, looked sharp on the break.
Chelsea should have been ahead on the stroke of half-time when Reece James fizzed a ball across the box from the right, and it fell to Marc Cucurella at the back post. The defender took a touch and shot, but Thibaut Courtois came flying out of his goal to save. Kante had another golden opportunity to take the lead early in the second half, but his close-range effort hit Eder Militao and deflected away to safety.
Real took the wind out of Chelsea’s sails with just over half an hour to go when Rodrygo scored from close range after an assist by Vinicius. Lampard made a number of attacking substitutions, bringing on Raheem Sterling, Joao Felix, and Mykhailo Mudryk in a desperate bid to get back into the match. But Rodrygo found the net again in the 80th minute, tapping home after a clever assist from Federico Valverde.
Real Madrid will likely face Manchester City in the semi-finals, with Pep Guardiola’s team leading 3-0 against Bayern Munich after the first leg of their last-eight tie. Chelsea, on the other hand, are contemplating the final weeks of a disastrous campaign despite a staggering spend of more than £500 million ($621 million) in the first year of the club’s new ownership. They are already out of both domestic cups and languishing in 11th place in the Premier League, with little hope of qualifying for European football next season.
Chelsea had a go, bringing the hustle in the first half, and they almost fashioned a lifeline to counter the grave damage from the Bernabéu, with Kanté and Cucurella missing clear chances. It was a night when Chelsea were heavy on perspiration, low on inspiration, and Lampard’s lineup lacked the X factor, which is quite the oddity given the £550m lavished on new players by the ownership since their installation last May.
The fact that the chances fell to Kanté and Cucurella told its own story. Lampard left a couple of more natural occupants for the attacking roles on the bench at the outset, but the bottom line is that, despite the transfer market outlay, the club has – to put it bluntly – nobody to stick the ball in the net. It all became extremely predictable, lacking refinement, Chelsea slinging in too many hopeful crosses, their final actions imprecise.
Real Madrid, the holders and old masters, reeled Chelsea in and now progress to the