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Place in final to be decided in London

MATCH REPORT. 27/04/2021. Alberto Navarro

Chelsea took the lead, before Benzema levelled with terrific strike to leave everything to play for in next Wednesday's second-leg decider.

The semi-final tie between Real Madrid and Chelsea will be decided on Wednesday 5 May at Stamford Bridge. Everything is to play for in the return leg after the teams served up a stalemate in the first instalment at the Di Stéfano. The two goals came before the half-hour mark. Christian Pulisic struck in the 15th minute to put the visitors in the ascendancy, before Karim Benzema lashed home a superb strike to level matters.

The first half was played at a rip-roaring tempo and the chances didn’t take long to come. The first opening of the evening went Chelsea’s way with 10 minutes on the clock. Mason Mount began a counter-attack and Pulisic’s cushioned header found Timo Werner, whose effort from point-blank range was brilliantly kept out by Thibaut Courtois. Just four minutes later, the visitors hit the front, when Antonio Rüdiger played a ball in behind the Madrid backline and Pulisic skipped around the madridista custodian before side-footing home.

Video.1-1: Place in final to be decided in London

This was the Premier League side’s best spell of the game, but Madrid soon changed the pattern of the match. First Benzema went close with a left-footed strike from distance that came off the post in the 23rd minute, before the equaliser came six minutes later. Toni Kroos played a short corner to Luka Modrić who slipped the ball to Marcelo. The Brazilian crossed to the far post for Casemiro to flick the ball on to Militão, who in turn nodded it on to Benzema. The Frenchman controlled the ball with his head and acrobatically volleyed into the roof of the net. Zidane’s side then went close on 32’ when Kroos curled an effort wide from the edge of the area. This was the last clear-cut chance before the break.  

The hosts dominate
The game changed after the restart, as both teams enjoyed long spells of possession and Real Madrid began to apply the pressure. Chelsea sat deep and seemed content to go away with a valuable draw and away-goal advantage and hardly gave the hosts any spaces to exploit. Kroos had Madrid’s best chance when his strike from the edge of the box deflected wide for a corner. On 88’, the resulting corner kick, taken by the German midfielder, was headed inches wide by Raphaël Varane. It’s all to play for in the return leg of the Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge.

450TH EUROPEAN CUP GAME

Real Madrid hosted Chelsea at the Alfredo Di Stéfano in the club’s 450th European Cup outing to become the first team to achieve this feat in the competition.

EIGHTEEN GAMES UNBEATEN

Real Madrid are riding an 18-game unbeaten streak. The run started back on 6 February against Huesca and Zidane's charges have come out on top in 12 of these games.

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The referee

Danny Makkelie (Holland), assisted by Hessel Steegstra and Jan de Vries. Orel Grinfeeld was the fourth official, whilst Kevin Blom (Holland) was the VAR.

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