MADRID (AFP) – Luka Modric turned the tie and Karim Benzema settled it as Real Madrid held off a sensational fightback from Chelsea on Tuesday (April 12) to win an enthralling Champions League quarter-final 5-4 on combination.
Chelsea worn out Madrid’s 3-1 lead from the primary leg in beautiful vogue on the Santiago Bernabeu as Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner put Europe’s reigning champions on the point of a unbelievable victory.
But the 36-year-old Modric intervened with one other second of genius to add to the easiest of his glittering profession, a luxurious go with the surface of his proper foot organising Rodrygo to volley in and sending a nerve-shredding contest into extra time.
After scoring a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge, Benzema then stepped ahead to declare the winner, the Frenchman capitalising on a Rudiger slip to head in, a 3-2 defeat sufficient to see Madrid into the semi-finals.
At the ultimate whistle, Modric and Benzema dropped to the ground, their mixed 70 years of age belying one other two classic contributions which have dragged Real Madrid in sight of a 14th European Cup.
They will face both Manchester City or rivals Atletico Madrid in the final 4.
After being thrashed by Brentford after which outplayed by Madrid in the primary leg final week, Chelsea got here in rejuvenated after placing six previous Southampton in the Premier League final weekend.
Thomas Tuchel stated on Monday they would wish a “fantastic script” to pull off this comeback and so they definitely delivered that, their solely failing an lack of ability to stop Modric and Benzema doing what they’ve performed so many instances earlier than.
Mount’s objective in the fifteenth minute set the tone, Madrid instantly consumed by stress and Chelsea given early hope.
Mateo Kovacic had been key in the build-up nevertheless it was Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s fast go into Werner that caught Madrid chilly, the German steering the ball along with his knee into the trail of Mount, who superior and fired previous Courtois.
For 20 minutes, Chelsea have been dictating, Madrid pegged again. Reece James was doing a effective job proscribing Vinicius Junior, blocking Madrid’s escape route.
Chelsea take command
Benzema, Modric and Toni Kroos tried to wrestle again management however Chelsea’s authority was much more pronounced early in the second half and inside minutes they’d a second, Rudiger rising excessive on the again put up to head in from a nook.
With their lead gone, Madrid briefly exerted, the group coming into the competition. But Chelsea have been celebrating a 3rd when Marcos Alonso pivoted spherical Dani Carvajal’s sliding deal with and slammed into the highest nook.
Madrid appeared overwhelmed, the stadium useless, however the referee was ready. VAR noticed Alonso had managed along with his hand and when the choice was reversed, the Bernabeu erupted.
With 28 minutes left, the tie was again in the stability. Madrid had renewed impetus and virtually scored, Benzema’s looping header on the again put up dropping onto the crossbar.
But it was transient, Chelsea coming once more in the 73rd minute as Kovacic slid by Werner, who coolly slalomed previous two sliding Madrid defenders and despatched a deflected end dribbling into the nook.
A disenchanted Kroos was taken off earlier than a wild contest turned once more on the second of magic from Modric. With the surface of his foot, Modric stroked a 30-yard go over to the fitting of the penalty space the place Rodrygo, on in its place, volleyed in.
Chelsea appeared the extra probably to nick a late winner and almost did, Kai Havertz nodding throughout the six-yard field however Christian Pulisic shot over.
Into extra time and Madrid discovered one other gear, Vinicius lastly discovering area to tear into. His floated cross may need been simply cleared by Rudiger however the defender slipped, giving Benzema simply sufficient area to information his header in.
Chelsea, so composed all night time, instantly appeared ragged. Eduardo Camavinga fired over. Courtois Cruyff-turned round Havertz.
But they threw every thing at Madrid in the ultimate minutes, Courtois saving from Werner earlier than Fede Valverde had to block a shot from Thiago Silva. Edouard Mendy went up for a last nook nevertheless it was cleared, Madrid holding on.