Real Madrid beat Chelsea 2-0 in first leg of quarter-final
Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio struck for Real Madrid as they dominated 10-man Chelsea and opened up a 2-0 Champions League quarter-final first-leg lead on Wednesday.
The record 14-time winners and reigning champions eased to a comfortable win against Frank Lampard’s side, who had Ben Chilwell sent off in the second half for pulling down Rodrygo Goes as he ran through on goal.
Benzema netted from close range after 21 minutes after Kepa Arrizabalaga tipped a Vinicius Junior effort into his path.
Despite controlling the game, Madrid had to wait until the 74th minute for their second, with Asensio drilling home from the edge of the box after a short corner routine.
In a battle between the last two Champions League winners, Madrid demonstrated their strength with an impressive display, while Chelsea showed why they are struggling in 11th in the Premier League.
“It was one of our best games of the season, but we have the second leg to go and we have to keep calm and go out there as strongly as we came out today,” Vinicius told Movistar.
“We had a lot of space and we always want to score more goals, but we played against a great team — we know that it’s hard to play away, so that’s why we wanted to score more.”
Carlo Ancelotti, who coached Lampard at Chelsea between 2009-2011, relied on veteran midfielders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric to pull the strings.
Lampard, in his second game at the helm since replacing Graham Potter last week, threw Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante straight into the starting line-up after injury worries.
Kante shone against Madrid in the 2021 semis as Chelsea beat them en route to winning the trophy for the second time, and he was one positive for Lampard, slipping Joao Felix through on goal at the start.
The Portuguese forward, on loan from Los Blancos’ rivals Atletico Madrid, drilled a low effort at Thibaut Courtois.
Benzema, who netted a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge last season and scored the goal which sent Madrid through against the Blues in the second leg, forced Kepa into a smart save at his near post.
Madrid fans had shown their support for Fede Valverde before the game, after he allegedly punched Villarreal’s Alex Baena on Saturday, and he nearly rewarded them with a piledriver which flew narrowly off-target.
The hosts soon found the opener, with Benzema netting his sixth goal against Chelsea and certainly his easiest.