Christian Pulisic’s goal in the Champions League semifinals gives Chelsea a huge boost. For a few welcome hours Tuesday in rainy Madrid, the turmoil and commotion surrounding the short-lived European Super League were set aside for the resumption of the continent’s cornerstone, the UEFA Champions League.
U.S. star Christian Pulisic’s goal gives Chelsea a big boost in the Champions League semifinals https://t.co/oRIBMHPYqR
— Post Sports (@PostSports) April 27, 2021
A young American from Pennsylvania burst back into the spotlight with a first-half goal, putting his club in line to reach the May 29 final on a night pitting two of the world’s heavyweights who had threatened to withdraw nine days earlier.
Chelsea acknowledged a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid in the first of two legs, with Christian Pulisic, a 22-year-old winger from Hershey, becoming the first American national team player to score in a Champions League semifinal.
Pulisic said, “It’s a proud moment, but the work is far from done.” “We still have a lot of work to do.” Chelsea will travel to west London for the second leg on Wednesday, needing a win or a scoreless draw to qualify for the championship game against Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain in Istanbul.
Pulisic’s goal was a crucial away goal, as it served as the first tiebreaker if the teams were tied on aggregate. He was also the first American player to score against the Spanish giants in a competitive match. And now he’s on the verge of becoming the first American to play in a World Cup final — a significant step forward for American soccer. He started on the right-wing, posed a constant threat in the first half, and played 65 minutes before being substituted for tactical reasons, another impressive performance after regaining Manager Thomas Tuchel’s favour this spring.
Team fouls in the game
Pulisic was fouled six times, while the rest of the team was fouled five times. In the last ten years, he joined Lionel Messi, Neymar, and three other players in absorbing so many in a semifinal. Real Madrid had no player receive more than two fouls.
Mason Mount broke free from midfield in the 10th minute and crossed to Pulisic, who headed the ball to Timo Werner for a six-yard stab and a nearly-certain score. Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, on the other hand, made a fantastic kick save with his right foot.
Pulisic scored his fifth Champions League goal four minutes later, breaking a tie with DaMarcus Beasley for the most in a single season for the United States. He perfectly paced his sprint to get behind the defence and deflect Antonio Rüdiger’s long ball. Courtois came off his line to challenge Pulisic, but the American pulled the ball away from the lunging Courtois and calmly fired an 11-yard shot past two retreating defenders.
“I didn’t intend to be so free in on goal when I turned,” Pulisic said. “I took my time with it and shot it at the right time. “Wonderful goal.” Chelsea hoped to capitalize on the momentum by scoring another well-deserved goal. Madrid targeted Pulisic, who absorbed two hard tackles, the second of which earned Vincius Jnior a yellow card.
Chelsea’s chances, on the other hand, were squandered. “When you have a good half-hour like we did, with so many opportunities and half-chances, everybody wishes for more calm and precision,” says the player. Tuchel remarked. “It was more of a challenge not to think too much and not to lose confidence.”
Madrid, on the other hand, started to find its feet. Karim Benzema hit the far post with a strong shot from outside the penalty area. Chelsea also struggled to clear the ball from danger in the penalty area in the 29th minute. In a beautiful series, Benzema headed the ball to himself and tied the game with a wicked side volley from seven yards.
The first half of the game
The teams were tied at halftime, but Chelsea must have thought it deserved to be ahead after such a strong start.
“We weren’t at our best in the first half,” Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane admitted, “but we improved in the second half.” As a result, it was a fair outcome.” The second half lacked motivation and opportunities, which Chelsea took advantage of given the environment and circumstances.