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Immediate reaction: Real Madrid 2-0 Chelsea

A quick recap of the Champions League quarterfinal first leg

Real Madrid v Chelsea FC: Quarterfinal First Leg - UEFA Champions League Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid 2 - 0 Chelsea (Benzema, Asensio). Here’s our quick reaction at the final whistle. Still to come: Player ratings, post-game podcast, post-game quotes, stats breakdown, and much more.

Real Madrid started the game in a very shaky fashion, with Joao Felix getting a go at the goal from a transition opportunity in the early moments of the game. The theme of the game until the half-hour mark was very much this: Madrid trying to press really high with only Militao and Alaba left behind to cover the defensive space, and Chelsea breaking with swift counter-attacking moves. Madrid's press was too easy to exploit at times in the opening 15 minutes of the game.

As Chelsea were playing with a back-five, Real Madrid tried to counter this with Benzema, Vinicius, Rodrygo, Fede Valverde, and Dani Carvajal all pushing the Chelsea backline. However, the static nature of Madrid’s approach meant Chelsea was rather comfortable. Real Madrid needed someone to run at the Chelsea backline while someone else was on the ball, but that was missing early on.

However, the hosts slowly grew into the game and ended up dominating the first half. It started with the goal. Carvajal's chip found Vinicius, who squared it for Benzema. The Frenchman made no mistake from one yard out to put Madrid ahead. Real Madrid created a flurry of chances from the 30th minute onwards. They had 10 shots, and eight those on target before the first-half whistle was blown.

The second half started with a similar tone. Real Madrid made a slight adjustment in their build-up. The volume of long balls went up as Madrid tried to bypass Chelsea’s mid-block completely to reach the box. Camavinga did in fact reach Benzema with such a ball, but Benzema couldn’t bring the ball down in time. Luka Modric came close to scoring as well with a lovely curling effort from the top of the box in minute 50.

Chelsea was reduced to 10 men right before the hour mark when Chilwell brought down Rodrygo just outside of the box, who was through on goal. The referee wasted no time in showing a straight red. Madrid kept knocking on the door but the elusive second goal kept evading them.

Marco Asensio and Antonio Rudiger entered the pitch for Real Madrid as Rodrygo and Camavinga made way for them in the 70th minute. Camavinga was booked very early in the game, but he had yet another good game at left-back. The youngster made multiple timely interventions that could have resulted in Chelsea breakaways.

A tricky corner routine was executed to perfection by Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Vinicius, and Marco Asensio to finally put Madrid 2-0 up. The Spaniard drilled home from outside of the 18-yard area, with the Chelsea team visibly furious.

Aurelien Tchouameni and Dani Ceballos replaced Kroos and Modric for the final 10 minutes of the game. Militao and Carvajal both picked up yellow cards in the second half. Carvajal’s was for a less ideal cause, as he simply pulled down Cucurella for receiving a knock from him moments earlier.

Real Madrid came extremely close to going up 3-0 in the first minute of stoppage time, but Benzema missed the chance in front of an almost empty net. Alaba’s cross was parried by Kepa and fell to Benzema’s head, but the effort had no real power. Chelsea came close to making it 2-1 soon after, but Mason Mount’s shot was blocked inside the box by Rudiger.

The game ended 2-0 in Real Madrid’s favour.

We’ll break this down in much more detail in both written and podcast form in the coming hours.

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