Chelsea beat Real Madrid 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to set up an all-English Champions League final with Manchester City, thanks to goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount.
#Chelsea set up an all-English Champions League final against Manchester City as goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount beat Real Madrid 2-0 in a dominant display on Wednesday to seal a 3-1 aggregate victory at Stamford Bridge.https://t.co/dSEJj662Fb
— Sports Express (@Xpress_Sports) May 6, 2021
The Blues deserved a 3-1 aggregate victory over the Spanish champions. Real Madrid was consistently inferior over the course of 180 minutes, and it was only Chelsea’s profligacy in both legs that stopped this from being a humiliating defeat for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
Werner’s woes seemed to be continuing when he tapped into an empty net after drifting offside, but even with his morale battered in recent weeks, he couldn’t lose when Kai Havertz’s lob over Thibaut Courtois bounced back off the crossbar and onto his head two yards out.
Madrid had chances in the first half through Karim Benzema, but goalkeeper Edouard Mendy denied him twice. Chelsea appeared much more likely to score the tie’s deciding fourth goal after the break, with Havertz and Thiago Silva both flashing headers far too far. Mason Mount should have scored after Werner’s fine backheel, but the youngster failed to take advantage of a crucial opportunity, blazing the ball over Thibaut Courtois’ crossbar.
Just before the hour, Havertz squandered the best chance of the game, a simple ball over the top undoing the Madrid defence only for the German to bring the ball too close to Courtois’ outstretched legs, and there were still more to come.
But for the second, third, fourth, and so on chances, Chelsea gave their visitors, the Blues never seemed to lose their cool, with Mount converting a cutback from substitute Christian Pulisic in the 85th minute, as Thomas Tuchel became the first manager in Champions League history to reach back-to-back finals with two different clubs.
Chelsea maintains a healthy distance from Real Madrid
This was not the Chelsea we had come to expect from Tuchel from the start. They didn’t use possession as a defensive tool, instead of accepting that Luka Modric and Toni Kroos would have long periods in which they didn’t give the ball away. For the majority of the first half, they were able to limit Madrid to long shots. They came early in the half from the kind of players the Blues would be content to let take them.
Modric and Kroos can both hit a ball from space, but it’s not a poor result from an extended period of Madrid possession if the two midfielders are forced to try their luck from afar. When the ball was thrown to Benzema, things got a little more complicated. In the 26th minute, Madrid’s No.9 picked up the ball on the edge of the box and swivelled and curved a low drive towards Mendy’s near post in the blink of an eye. The goalkeeper had to work hard to get down low and parry the ball with his left hand.
Soon after, he made an even better save from Benzema’s bullet header, bouncing high to drive the ball over the bar to safety. Whenever the ball came close to Benzema, Madrid seemed to be on the verge of scoring, but the burden on him seemed to be much too great, with Eden Hazard providing little support and Vinicius Junior filling in at wing-back on occasion.
As the game progressed, Madrid seemed to be running out of ideas and resources, being pushed backwards by the strength of Chelsea’s press as the cornerstones of their recent success – Benzema, Modric, and Ramos – made fundamental errors.
Indeed, there were times when it seemed as if Zidane’s players had come to the conclusion that the only way to get back into this tie was to let their opponents have and miss so many chances that some kind of narrative force would inevitably gift them an equaliser. Needless to say, it was a failed strategy.