Chelsea Tame Madrid to Cruise into All-English Champions League Final

The Champions League will speak English again. Chelsea joined their fellow countrymen of Manchester City into the lineup of an all-British Final as they disposed of Real Madrid with goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount on Wednesday night.

The 2-0 score doesn’t give full account of the Blues’ domination, who easily disposed of a patched-up Real Madrid side. Perhaps neither club was hoping to make it this far into the Champions League this season but, at the end of the day, it was the most vibrant and sparkling team of the two to have the upper hand.

Chelsea will be thus looking forward to another “miracle” after their 2012 triumph in the top European competition. History and coincidences seem to be on their side as – just like in 2012 – the Blues are making it to the last act thanks to a coach who took charge only a few months ago.

The man of the day is indeed coach Thomas Tuchel, who literally reanimated Chelsea after taking command only in January and after being sacked by Paris Saint-Germain – who, coincidentally, lost once again their chance of making it to the Final right yesterday. Football can be cruel sometimes.

Incidentally, tonight’s exploits makes Tuchel the first coach to ever reach back-to-back Champions League Finals with two different teams.   

Real Madrid did what they could but had already been punching above their weight this European season – if only because of the multiple injuries that plagued their roster in the past few months.

Coach Zinedine Zidane tried to deploy Sergio Ramos back in the defense, but the Merengues‘ talismanic captain was literally walking on the pitch. Eden Hazard joined Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior on the front line but was of little help as well.

Still, Madrid had their chances to trouble the scorers in the first half, but found on their way the Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who kept his sheet clean with two spectacular saves from Benzema.

Tuchel’s side, on the other hand, were clinical and lethal. The German duo striking duo of Kai Havertz and Timo Werned partnered perfectly – something that will make Die Mannschaft‘s coach Joachim Low happy in view of the upcoming Euro. In midfield, N’golo Kante seemed to be back to his best Leicester days. 

The Blues had at least five scoring chances in the first half and converted two, both with Werner. The first one, however, was disallowed on grounds of offside. But when the German striker headed the ball home after his countryman Havertz hit the post from a Kanté service, everything was regular and Chelsea had their first.

Real struggled to keep up with the opposition’s pace after the restart and it took a couple of good saves on the part of Thibaut Courtois to keep Los Blancos afloat. Coach Zidane tried to reshuffle his cards around the one hour mark as he sent in Federico Valverde and Marco Asensio but the move didn’t bear any fruit.

Chelsea made it two with five minutes to go when Kanté took advantage of a sloppy Sergio Ramos clearance and triggered Christian Pulisic, who served Mason Mount an easy chance to push the ball into the back of the net.

On May 29, Chelsea will meet with Manchester City in Istanbul for the final showdown – a game whose appetizer will be served this very weekend as the two sides will square off in Premier League. That’s a confirmation that the English top-flight is still by far the top competition in European football – with no possible changes in sight.  



May 5, 2021 – Champions League 2020-21 Semi Finals
CHELSEA-REAL MADRID 2-0 (Chelsea advance 3-1 on aggregate)

SCORERS: 28′ Werner, 85′ Mount

CHELSEA (3-4-2-1): E. Mendy; Christensen, Thiago Silva, Rüdiger; Azpilicueta (88′ James), Kanté, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount (89′ Ziyech), Havertz (94′ Giroud); Werner (67′ Pulisic) (Kepa, Caballero, Marcos Alonso, Emerson, Zouma, Gilmour, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi) Coach: Tuchel
REAL MADRID (4-3-3): Courtois; Nacho, Militao, Sergio Ramos, F. Mendy (63′ Valverde); Kroos, Casemiro (76′ Rodrygo), Modrić; Hazard (89′ Mariano Diaz), Benzema, Vinícius Júnior (63′ Asensio) (Altube, Lunin, Gutierrez, Odriozola, Marcelo, Valverde, Arribas, Antonio Blanco, Isco) Coach: Zidane

REFEREE: Orsato (Italy)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Jorginho, Christensen, Mount (C), Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Kroos, Valverde (R); Extra Time: First Half 0′, Second Half 4′