Cheslea beaten with Benzema late goal as Real Madrid book

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MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 12: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates with teammates after scoring their team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Chelsea FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 1 Image credit: Getty Images
MADRID, SPAIN – APRIL 12: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates with teammates after scoring their team’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Chelsea FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 1

Image credit: Getty Images

There’s a reason why football appeals to some of the worst people in the world – the world has nothing else remotely like it – and this sensational match, one in which both sides made incredible comebacks, illustrated that precisely.

At the end of it, though, it was Real Madrid who went through to play Atletico Madrid or Manchester City; somehow, football was both the winner and the loser.

In the first half, Chelsea looked an entirely different team to the one that subsided so meekly at home, overpowering Madrid with their physicality intelligence and speed. They didn’t create many chances, but their dominance was such that it was no great surprise when they took the lead on the night, Mason Mount finishing superbly after good work from Mateo Kovacic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Timo Werner.

If the first half was good, the second was an absolute brute, and in the best-possible way. Chelsea started it superbly, Antonio Rudiger’s header hauling them level, and though Marcos Alonso had a fine goal disallowed for accidental handball, Werner then did brilliantly to put them in front.

But Madrid weren’t simply accepting their humiliation, and shortly afterwards, Luka Modric arced a geniuses’ cross into the middle, for Rodrygo to caress home a volley with his first touch, levelling the tie.

Though Chelsea finished normal time the stronger, Madrid started extra time well, Vinicius Jr caressing a gorgeous cross onto the head of Karim Benzema, whose finish was characteristically expert. His powerful header was the final goal, the one that sent Real through to the last four.

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