Chelsea postpone Real Madrid bid for 14th Champions League title

Sports Desk, May 5 (EFE).- Real Madrid saw their dream of lifting the Champions League trophy for a record-extending 14th time put off Wednesday for at least another year as Chelsea beat the Blancos 2-0 in the second leg of the semifinal to win 4-1 on aggregate.

Chelsea will be returning to the final for the first time since their dramatic triumph on penalties against Bayern Munich in 2012.

But for Blues coach Thomas Tuchel, the May 29 tie in Istanbul will be his second final in less than 12 months. The German was in charge of the Paris Saint-Germain squad that lost the 2020 final to Bayern.

Chelsea is to face Manchester City in the second all-English Champions League final in the last three years.

After the 1-1 first leg in Madrid, the two teams took the pitch at London’s Stamford Bridge with diametrically opposed strategies.

“Long possession!,” Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos exhorted his teammates, while the hosts opted for the high press, deep passes over the top and constant movement.

The Blancos, who would end the night with 68 percent possession, dominated in the early going and created the first chance, a strike by Toni Kroos in the 10th minute that didn’t unduly trouble Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

A deceptive effort by Antonio Rüdiger at the other end two minutes later posed more of a challenge for Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois.

Timo Werner beat Courtois from close range in the 18th minute, but the offside flag went up immediately.

Karim Benzema, the Blancos’ most reliable goal-scorer, tested Mendy with a low blast in the 26th minute.

Two minutes later, Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante set up a great opportunity for Kai Havertz, whose shot hit the cross-bar. But Werner knocked in the rebound to put the hosts up 1-0 on the night and 3-1 overall.

Mendy did well to tip a Benzema strike over the cross-bar in the 35th minute.

Havertz looked ready to put the contest out of reach two minutes into the second half, instead he hit the cross-bar again before teammates Thiago Silva and Mason Mount fired over on good chances.

Courtois thwarted Havertz just ahead of the hour mark and Mendy denied former Chelsea man Eden Hazard in the 64th minute.

Fede Valverde helped out Courtois with a block against Kante a few minutes later.

The Blancos struggled to put any real pressure on Mendy and with five minutes left in regulation, Mount nailed down the victory on a play that began with a Kante takeaway in the Chelsea end.

Late sub Christian Pulisic assisted on the goal. EFE


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