Saturday, June 3, 2023

Chelsea 0-2 Real Madrid (0-4 agg): Los Blancos cruise into Champions League semi-finals

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Apr 2023


Real Madrid kept their Champions League title defence alive with a 2-0 win over Chelsea on Tuesday that secured a 4-0 aggregate success in the quarter-finals.

Rodrygo’s second-half double helped Los Blancos see off any chance of a Blues comeback at Stamford Bridge to book their semi-final spot.

Frank Lampard’s hosts offered an energetic improvement on their performance in the reverse fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu last week.

But their inability to convert chances ultimately left the door open for Carlo Ancelotti’s side to make it a comfortable passage to the last four in the end.

Chelsea started with dogged intent, going close when N’Golo Kante sliced a volley wide 11 minutes in.

Madrid did not rest on their own laurels, however, with Rodrygo striking the post almost midway through the first half after he was played smartly into the box.

Luka Modric tested Kepa Arrizabalaga with a powerful shot just past the half-hour mark, while Thibaut Courtois denied Marc Cucurella from six yards after the Blues man found himself in space.

But their best chance arguably fell to Kante just after the restart, his strike off Conor Gallagher’s header was blocked at close-range.

That miss allowed Madrid to make the breakthrough instead, with Rodrygo smashing home Vinicius Junior’s square return ball in the 58th minute.

His effort took the sting out of the contest, and when the Brazilian added a second in the 80th minute from Federico Valverde’s cut-back, it allowed the visitors an easy ride to the finish line.

What does it mean? Madrid remain on track

With a two-goal advantage from their first leg and the prospect of a misfiring Chelsea team mired in domestic strife, expectations were for the visitors to progress comfortably.

After an entertainingly even first half, they did so in clinical fashion once again, throwing down a gauntlet to either Manchester City or Bayern Munich in the last four.

Courtois shines on Stamford Bridge return

The goalkeeper famously left the Blues for Real Madrid and initially struggled in his first season during the 2018-19 campaign.

His quality has only been reinforced over the past few years, though, and with six saves in London, he was imperative to snuffing out any Chelsea threat.

Old habits die hard

Needing to chase a result, it was a lively performance for the first hour from Chelsea, and until Rodrygo’s opener, they had certainly pressed their case.

But from 19 shots and six on target, Chelsea were yet again wasteful in front of goal, as their biggest issue from this season shows no sign of subsiding.

What’s next?

Madrid return home to host Celta Vigo in LaLiga on Saturday, while Chelsea next face Brentford in the Premier League a week on Wednesday.


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