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Varane: “Benzema’s goal was decisive”

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The defender talked to the press after the 1-1 draw against Chelsea.

Real Madrid v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Leg One Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane addressed the media right after the 1-1 draw against Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League Semifinals. Los Blancos managed to survive and will visit Stamford Bridge next week hoping to advance to the Final, even if a home draw isn’t the best result for a first leg.

“It was a game of two halves. They made a really strong start and pressed us a lot and played with a high tempo. They managed to break through our first line of pressure and were very direct. That’s why they caused so much danger at the start of the game. But after Karim’s goal, we controlled the game better and dictated the pace. The second half was much better,” said the French defender.

Varane’s analysis is accurate, as Madrid were in big trouble during the first half. The defender also explained why the team struggled a bit offensively.

“We couldn’t quite find the killer pass to split their defence and they caused us problems with their pressing. We’ll have to learn from the way the game started for the return leg,” he added.

Varane wanted to praise Karim Benzema, who scored Madrid’s only goal and was the team’s leader for most of the game. He also wanted to credit goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for a great save early in the game.

“In games like this, Karim’s goal was decisive and it changed the complexion of the game. We know how much quality he has and he helps us a lot. Courtois made a vital save at the beginning of the match. He’s having a great season and he’s really important for the team. He really kept us in the game and he did well not to concede more goals at the start,” said Varane.

The defender concluded his interview by explaining what the team can do in order to advance to the Final.

“At this stage of the competition, both the physical and psychological aspects are essential. We have to go there to win. We have to go for it and play high up in their half,” concluded Varane.