Champions League: Energetic Chelsea earn 1-1 draw at Real Madrid

Christian Pulisic gave Chelsea the lead in the 14th minute, but Karim Benzema leveled the score with an impressive volley in the 29th minute.

Christian Pulisic scored the crucial away goal for Chelsea in a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid; Credit: Twitter/@ChelseaFC

Chelsea came into the match as underdogs against a Real Madrid side chasing their 14th European Cup. But, the blues certainly did not play like underdogs. They created the better chances and troubled the ageing Real team with their blistering pace and youthful exuberance. Christian Pulisic gave Chelsea the lead in the 14th minute. Karim Benzema leveled the score for Real with an impressive volley in the 29th minute at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.

Antonio Rudiger’s long ball over the top found Christian Pulisic’s run behind the Real defense. The American found himself in yards of space as Raphael Varane was slow to react. Pulisic rounded off Thibaut Courtois before firing the ball into the net. It was his fourth goal in the last six starts for Chelsea. The away goal could prove to be crucial going into the second leg.

In response, Karim Benzema hit the post from outside the box. Fifteen minutes after the goal, Real took a short corner, Marcelo curled a ball into the far post, Casemiro headed the ball into the box, Eder Militao’s header found Benzema just in front of goal. The Frenchman controlled the ball with his head and volleyed from a tight angle to send the ball past Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

It was Benzema’s sixth goal in this season’s Champions League and 71st goal overall. The Frenchman is now level with Raul in the fourth spot, in the list of all time top scorers in the tournament. Only, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski have scored more goals in the tournament.

Courtois the hero

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was the best player for Los Blancos on the night. The Belgian denied the Blues from getting the lead on a number of occasions. Courtois denied Timo Werner from close range in the 9th minute. He was the busier of the two goalkeepers as Chelsea had five shots on target compared to Real’s solitary attempt, in which they scored.

Zinedine Zidane’s side played with three at the back and Marcelo and Carvajal played as the wing backs. Chelsea’s pacey attackers pushed Reals’ wing backs deep into their own half and the Real defense struggled to contain them in the initial stage of the game.

N’golo Kante and Jorginho did a decent job in the middle of the park to contain Real’s midfield trio- Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric. Kante did not let the Real midfield settle in with his tireless running and closing down.

Thomas Tuchel will be disappointed to not get the win despite being the better side on the night. The German coach would be wary of Real’s ability to squeeze out a result against the odds, this season, going into the second leg at Stamford Bridge in eight days.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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