Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Real Madrid 2-0 Chelsea: What Were The Main Talking Points As Los Blancos Claim A First-Leg Advantage At The Bernabeu?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 12 Apr 2023

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With all eyes from across Europe falling on the Bernabeu, Real Madrid got their Champions League quarter-final adventure off to a flying start thanks to a 2-0 victory against Chelsea.

Looking to claim another Premier League scalp, Los Blancos didn’t have to wait long before a certain Karim Benzema tapped home from close range and opened the scoring in the 21st minute.

Now knowing that they sit firmly in pole position to punch their semi-final ticket when they travel to Stamford Bridge in six days time, Carlo Ancelotti’s men hold a real advantage as Spanish international Marco Asensio swept home midway through the second-half.

Largely in cruise control after England international Ben Chilwell was shown a straight red card just 14 minutes after the half-time break, Chelsea will know that they face a huge uphill battle when they return to SW6 next week.

While Frank Lampard’s struggling squad might have created some eye-catching chances in the Spanish capital, the midweek guests showed many of the attacking issues that have haunted them over recent times.

On a night when Benzema fired Los Blancos to a crucial first-leg advantage, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Wednesday’s Champions League showdown at the Bernabeu.

Madrid have their sights set on making more Champions League history

While Real Madrid might have continued to show a string of domestic issues this season, it is no secret that Los Blancos have their sights set on making more Champions League history in 2023.

All but relinquishing their La Liga trophy and sat 13 points adrift of runaway leaders Barcelona, Ancelotti’s side certainly have all of their eggs in the European basket.

Suffering what was a shocking 3-2 loss at home against Villarreal over the weekend, there is no doubt that the one-time AC Milan boss would have been excited by a routine response from his squad on Wednesday night.

Now sat in the driving seat to punch their Champions League semi-final ticket next week, Real Madrid could already be planning for a mouth-watering battle against Manchester City down the line.

Laying down a European marker on February 21st when they claimed a thrilling 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield, Los Blancos will believe that they can defend their Champions League crown this season.

Although there might be continued speculation over Ancelotti’s long-term future at the Bernabeu, the 63-year-old will be looking to add a fifth European trophy to his CV.

Benzema is the difference maker for Los Blancos

With Real Madrid’s sole attention now focused on defending their Champions League crown, there is no doubt that Los Blancos’ attacking talisman will have another key role to play over the coming weeks.

Becoming the eighth player in Madrid history to lift the Ballon d’Or this season, Benzema has only continued on yet another record-breaking romp in 2023.

Opening the scoring from close ranger midway through the first-half, the now-former French international has only cemented his spot as one of the greatest striking stars of the modern era.

With Wednesday’s strike his 90th Champions League goal, the one-time Lyon starlet has certainly proven that he is a man for the big nights.

Notching another European brace as Madrid breezed their way to a 5-2 romp back in February, Benzema has now scored 20 goals across all competitions since returning from the World Cup’s festive interval.

Forming what has quickly become a sensation strike partnership with Brazilian ace Vinicius Junior, the 35-year-old should be relishing a trip to west London next week.

Chelsea’s attacking issues haunt them again

Shocking almost everyone last week as it was announced that Lampard would be returning to Stamford Bridge on a temporary basis, the ex-Everton boss will know that he has a huge job on his hands.

Marking his second tenure in charge of the Blues with a 1-0 loss away at Premier League relegation scrappers Wolves over the weekend, Chelsea have only continued on a nightmare spell this season.

Still battling it out in the bottom-half of the Premier League table and sacking Graham Potter after just nine months in charge, the former European champions have come under a huge amount of scrutiny on either side of the World Cup’s winter break.

Along with recording just a single victory away from Stamford Bridge since opening 2023, Wednesday’s guests have also gained a real reputation for their rather glaring issues in the final third.

Drawing a blank away at Wolves last weekend and still yet to find a genuine option who can spearhead their attack, Lampard’s side have now failed to bag a single strike in any of their previous three appearances across all competitions.

Match Report

Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Camavinga, Valverde, Kroos, Modric, Rodrygo, Benzema, V. Junior

Subs: Asensio, Rudiger, Ceballos, Tchouameni

Chelsea: Kepa, Fofana, Silva, Koulibaly, Chilwell, Kovacic, Fernandez, Kante, James, Sterling, Felix

Subs: Mount, Chalobah, Gallagher, Havertz, Cucurella

Goals: Benzema (21’), Asensio (74’)

Yellow Cards: Real Madrid: Militao, Carvajal, Camavinga – Chelsea: Kovacic, Fofana

Red Cards: Chilwell

Referee: Francois Letexier

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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