Region:
Europe
Category:
Sports

Chelsea power past Real Madrid to set up all-English Champions League final

  • Chelsea power past Real Madrid to set up all-English Champions League final
    The Blues deserved no less than a 3-1 aggregate win against the Spanish giants. Chelsea power past Real Madrid to set up all-English Champions League final
  • Chelsea power past Real Madrid to set up all-English Champions League final
    The Blues deserved no less than a 3-1 aggregate win against the Spanish giants. Chelsea power past Real Madrid to set up all-English Champions League final
Region:
Europe
Category:
Sports
Publication date:
Print article

Chelsea reached their first Champions League final since 2012 as goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount secured a 2-0 victory Real Madrid in their semifinal second leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday to win the tie 3-1 on aggregate.

 

Chelsea set up an all-English Champions League final with Manchester City as goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount earned them a 2-0 win over Real Madrid over Stamford Bridge.

The Blues deserved no less than a 3-1 aggregate win against the Spanish giants. Across the course of 180 minutes Madrid were consistently inferior by a significant margin and it was only the profligacy of Chelsea across both legs that kept this from being a humbling for Zinedine Zidane's men.

Werner's struggles seemed to be continuing when he tapped into an empty net but only after drifting into an offside position but even with his confidence having been so thoroughly battered in recent weeks he could not miss when Kai Havertz's lob over Thibaut Courtois bounced back off the crossbar and onto his head two yards out.

Madrid had their chances in the first half through Karim Benzema but twice he was denied by goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. After the interval Chelsea looked by far the more likely to score what would have been the tie's decisive fourth goal, Havertz and Thiago Silva flashing headers slightly too high. Mason Mount should also have scored after a fine backheel by Werner but for once the youngster did not make the best of a crucial opportunity and blazed the ball over Thibaut Courtois' crossbar.

Havertz spurned the best chance of the lot just before the hour, a simple ball over the top undoing the Madrid defense only for the German to put the ball too close to Courtois' outstretched legs, and yet more were to come. But for the second, third, fourth, etc chances Chelsea handed their guests the Blues never seemed to lose their heads with Mount firing home the cutback from substitute Christian Pulisic in the 85th minute as Thomas Tuchel became the first manager to reach back-to-back Champions League finals with different clubs.

Early on this was not the Chelsea we have come to expect from Tuchel. They did not use possession as a defensive weapon but instead accepted that Luka Modric and Toni Kroos were going to have extended spells where they simply did not give the ball away. What they managed to do for most of the first half was restrict Madrid to long shots. Early in the half they came from the sort of players that the Blues would be relatively happy to let take them.

Modric and Kroos can certainly hit a ball from range but it is not a bad outcome from an extended spell of Madrid possession if the two midfielders are forced to try their luck from distance. Rather more problematic was when the ball came Benzema's way. Madrid's No.9 picked the ball up on the edge of the box in the 26th minute and in a blink of an eye had swiveled and curled a low drive towards Mendy's near post. It took a sprightly effort from the goalkeeper to get down low and parry with his left hand.

His save from a bullet header by Benzema soon after was even better, Mendy bouncing high to push the ball over the bar to safety. Whenever the ball went near Benzema Madrid looked like they would score but the load on him seemed altogether too heavy with Eden Hazard offering little alongside him and Vinicius Junior having to fill in at wing-back on occasion.
 

Chelsea kept pushing as the second half began and it was remarkable that their lead was not impregnable in the 59th minute. It was then that Jorginho sent Havertz clean, only for Courtois to make a one-on-one block.

Previously, Havertz had seen an imposing header from a Cesar Azpilicueta center blow the crossbar, Thiago Silva headed off after getting up unchallenged to find a Chilwell free kick and Mount soared above the bar with only the goalkeeper to beat. after exchanging passes with Werner.

The feeling that Real's goal was leading a charmed life deepened when Werner broke in the 66th minute and sneaked into Kanté's overlap. His shot was blocked once again by Courtois.

Mount gave the answer with five minutes to play, and he and his teammates were finally able to breathe.