Goalgist 10

Chelsea’s defence of the Champions League is hanging by a thread after Karim Benzema’s ruthless hat-trick saw the Spanish giants leave Stamford Bridge with a 3-1 lead to take into the second leg of their quarter-final.

Two goals in three first half minutes put the visitors in front, before Kai Havertz pulled one back for Chelsea before the break.

The two-goal advantage was gained once more by Madrid in the opening minute of the second half when an Edouard Mendy error was pounced upon by Benzema to roll into an empty net and collect the match ball.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was not happy with what he saw, telling BT Sport:

It is a heavy loss. It was one of the worst first halves that I saw from us here at Stamford Bridge. Individually and as a team it was by far not enough. It was far from our standards.

Tuchel was left baffled by his team’s inability to complete the basics of the game, saying:

Passing, where we passed, how we passed when we passed, when we attacked, the ball possession game. First half was so from any standards that we set ourselves that we cannot complain when we lose.

The second half was undoubtedly a better showing from Chelsea, but Tuchel is not taking many positives from that, saying:

We had 16 shots in the second half. You can always come back and win it but when you kill the game by yourself after 45 minutes it is harder and harder.

For only the second time since Tuchel took over at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have lost back-to-back home fixtures, with their defeat against Madrid following the 4-1 Premier League humbling at the hands of Brentford. The German coach wants his players to focus on getting back to winning ways, and not be thinking ahead to their return leg at the Bernabeu.

He said:

No, we don’t have to go to Madrid, we have to go Southampton and it is very important to process this. It is crucial that we go to Southampton. If we keep playing like this we will lose at Southampton and then we will get hammered at Bernabeu.

As for Benzema, it was a back-to-back Champions League hat-trick, which sees him join a very select group of players to have achieved the feat; Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Luiz Adrian.

He’s the first player to score a European treble against Chelsea in any competition, and the French striker called it a “magic” night.

Speaking to Movistar Plus after the match, Benzema said:

Today we came out to win, to show we’re Real Madrid. Things worked out well for us as we played well, from the first minute to the last.

The 34-year-old knows his three goals were important for the team, but also for his own confidence, saying:

They’re very important goals. I’m happiest to have scored the third as I missed one in the first half and I was thinking about that chance because it’s very important to score goals. Then I got another and I’m very happy.

Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti knows there is still a lot of work to do, telling BT Sport:

It was a good night but it is only the first half of this round.

We have an advantage. We have to prepare for the next game in the league and then Tuesday will be another game. We have a lot of respect for this team who were the winners of the last Champions League.


By Amara

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