Champions League Match Report: Real Madrid and Chelsea share the spoils in exciting first-leg semi-final clash

Real Madrid welcomed Chelsea to Valdebebas for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, Tuesday evening and were able to keep themselves in the tie with a 1-1 draw against the English outfit.

The London club were up against their the reigning La Liga champions for the first time in Europe’s elite competition, and went into the game looking to put themselves in good stead ahead of the return leg at Stamford Bridge. The visitors return to London with a precious away goal, but the tie is very much in the balance.

An ailing Chelsea under Lampard, have been re-invigorated since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel and they made their new status reflect in the game. After an earlier spurned chance by Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic made amends by putting the London side in the lead in the 14th minute.

Antonio Rudiger played a high ball over the top to catch out the Madrid defence and give Christian Pulisic space. The Chelsea man became the first American to score in the semi-final of the Champions League, turning Thibaut Courtois before finishing neatly.

The lead didn’t last long though and Madrid showed why they haven’t lost a game this year, hitting back with a 29th minute equalizer. Toni Kroos played a short corner to Luka Modric, who fed Marcelo and the Brazilian dropped the ball to the back post, where Casemiro nodded it back across goal.

 A scramble saw Militao flicking it on for Karim Benzema and it was almost certain what would happen. The Frenchman seized the opportunity by calmly collecting it on his chest, before sending a stunning overhead kick past Edouard Mendy and into the back of the net. That marked a spectacular goal that earned Real Madrid a lifeline in an all-important tie.

Speaking after the game, Zinedine Zidane was pleased with his side’s showing and says they were ready to put out a fight for the return leg at Stamford Bridge.

“We were much better in the second half, we had much more order,” the French manager was quoted to have said after the game. “They started strong and are very fast. The result is fair. We wanted to push up, one by one, but when that doesn’t go well it’s difficult. After the goal, we improved. We controlled the game more.

“We’re alive, and we’re going for the second game. We’re happy with what we’ve done, in general. We know we’re good at playing on the rivals’ turf, but they’re competitive. They’ve played 16 games without conceding a goal, that’s clear. They’re in the semi-final for a reason. It’s been a very tightly-contested match.”

A crunch clash now awaits for the return leg next week Wednesday, on the 5th of May. Having conceded an away goal, Real Madrid now know they must also get on the score-sheet to stand any chance of progressing to the final.

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