Real Madrid rallies past Chelsea in Champions League quarterfinals 1st leg

Defending Champions Real Madrid defeated Chelsea 2-0 in their Champions League quarterfinal first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday. Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio struck for Real Madrid on a night where the reigning champions dominated 10-man Chelsea to open up an aggregate 2-0 lead in their process to reach the semi-finals. The record 14-time winners rallied to a comfortable win against Chelsea, who saw Ben Chilwell being sent off in the second half for bringing down Rodrygo Goes as he ran through on goal.

The Blues started strong under new manager Frank Lampard and created a couple of chances early in the game. Joao Felix and English winger Raheem Sterling went so close early on only to be hindered by Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who was playing against his former club. But Madrid slowly grew into the game and started to dominate with ball possession and accurate passes. And as a result, the hosts went ahead after 20 minutes of play.

Benzema leaped on a loose ball and rolled it into an open net from close range after Kepa Arrizabalaga deflected a Vinicius Junior shot into the French striker’s path. The 35-year-old Frenchman scored his 90th Champions League goal with the last 11 all coming against English clubs. Madrid produced eight shots on goal in the first half of the game but managed to find the net only once. The visitors went into the break trailing only 1-0.

Madrid continued to dominate their Premier League opposition in the second half too and Chelsea’s job to level the score became even harder when Chilwell was shown a straight red card in the 59th minute. In a battle between the last two Champions League winners, Madrid exhibited their strength with impressive play, while the Blues showed why they are struggling in the Premier League.

Despite controlling the game, Madrid managed to double their lead in the 74th minute when Asensio lashed home a shot from the top of the penalty area minutes after replacing Rodrygo on the field. Madrid held on to the lead and secured a comprehensive win. It was another fantastic night for Vincius as the Brazilian winger notched two assists to take his total goal contributions to 11 in European competition this season, second-most behind Erling Haaland’s 12.

Chelsea manager Lampard believes that his men can produce a ‘special’ night and overturn a 2-0 deficit against the title holders in order to advance to the semi-finals of the Champions League.