Upon arrival at Stamford Bridge, there was already a different tone to what had adorned SW6 against Brentford. A downpour, an improved atmosphere and quite simply the air of a big game. The Shed produced an impressive display as the teams lined up, but Karim Benzema soon showed Chelsea the task they would have.
The Frenchman put his side ahead with two headers as Real Madrid cut through the centre of the park with ease in the opening half and left the Blues struggling to rediscover their confidence. Kai Havertz reignited their hope with a solid header of his own from a spectacular Jorginho cross. Benzema’s hat trick was complete in the 46th minute when Edouard Mendy served him the ball when aiming for Antonio Rudiger, and the former Lyon star was sure not to miss.
Chelsea controlled most of the second period as Romelu Lukaku, Mateo Kovacic, Hakim Ziyech and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all entered the field but did not often enough test Thibaut Courtois in the opposition goal. Nevertheless, the Blues faithful put on a special atmosphere for large parts of the game, though they were quietened as the final whistle approached, and Madrid’s antics to slow the game down took hold.
football.london takes a look at some of the moments you might have missed below:
As the players headed back in the tunnel following their warm-ups ahead of the game, it was of course, those on the bench that followed the first team. The likes of Hakim Ziyech and Trevoh Chalobah lingered, testing their skill from outside the box with the remaining Champions League balls.
They too started to follow, however, with Marcus Bettinelli also making his way back towards the dugout. However, the Blues’ reserve stopper and Chalobah soon had a glint in their eye as they reached the halfway line. The former Fulham goalkeeper turned around and looked towards the goal he had recently left before launching a ball in its direction. It coursed through the air with eyes following it all the way onto the crossbar of the goal, and Bettinelli quickly raised his arms to celebrate his achievement.
Why Andreas Christensen left Thomas Tuchel lost for words and what left him raging
Thomas Tuchel was immediately a more active presence on the sideline against the La Liga leaders, providing a real sense of the occasion. It wasn’t long before frustration took over with Christensen slipping on the wet turf and allowing Vinicius in for a real chance on goal that he wastes. He soon did it again by the halfway line as Real Madrid looked to break. In between those moments, Christensen did receive some applause after going in firmly from behind on Vinicius and giving away a free kick, but the German coach seemed to prefer his proactive intention.
The visitors were 2-0 up, and the Blues were pretty rattled following Benzema’s brace. The moment was summed up when Reece James headed the ball straight out for a corner. The Blues boss was very much unimpressed and made sure those around him knew it as he raged.
What Cesar Azpilicueta did following Kai Havertz goal
The Spanish defender spent the evening at left-back and generally performed pretty well and, as always, provided a captain’s mentality. He was firm in the tackle and firm in the shot, and relentless in his work rate. In the aftermath of Havertz’s header, his motives were clear. While some Chelsea players celebrated, he claimed the ball and ensured everyone knew there was still a job to do in the tie.