Chelsea advanced to the Champions League final with a 2-0 victory over Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge.
Timo Werner nodded in from point-blank range in the 28th minute after Kai Havertz’s effort hit the bar and Mason Mount doubled the lead from Christian Pulisic’s pull-back in the closing stages.
The Blues were fully deserving of their 3-1 aggregate victory over the two legs, which sets up a date with Manchester City at the showpiece in Istanbul in 24 days’ time.
Moments before Werner’s strike, Edouard Mendy produced a stunning save to deny Karim Benzema’s effort from the edge of the area and followed this up with another fine stop to deny the Frenchman.
Chelsea’s dominance grew in the second half, with Havertz and Mason Mount going close to extending the Blues’ advantage.
Zinedine Zidane threw on the likes of Marco Asensio and Rodrygo in the closing stages to no avail, with Chelsea standing firm against a tepid Real Madrid attacking performance.
And Mount converted one of the countless chances the Blues created in the second half in the 85th minute after more brilliance from N’Golo Kante.
Chelsea are now 90 minutes away from being crowned champions of Europe for the first time since 2012 and the second time in their history – but Pep Guardiola’s City stand in their way.
Here are five talking points from a joyous night for Thomas Tuchel’s side.
1. Werner’s fortuitous opener
Timo Werner had the ball in the back of the net twice during the first half an hour in west London.
The German thought he had put Chelsea in front in the 18th minute as he clipped in Ben Chilwell’s square pass, but the linesman’s flag was up instantly and replays showed he was clearly offside.
Werner will be disappointed not to have timed his run better for his disallowed effort, but he ended his wait for a first Champions League goal from open play for the Blues just 10 minutes later.
And it was arguably the simplest goal he’ll score in his career, as he headed in unmarked from one yard out after Kai Havertz’s dinked effort beat Thibaut Courtois, hit the bar and fell into his path.
N’Golo Kante played a major role in the build-up to the goal, surging forward from central midfield and combining with Werner to release Havertz for the initial shot.
2. Los Blancos’ ill-advised adjustments
Zinedine Zidane veered away from his regular 4-3-3 for the trip to Stamford Bridge.
Instead, the Real Madrid boss deployed the returning Sergio Ramos in the middle of Eder Militao and Nacho as part of a central defensive trio.
Ramos only just recovered from a calf injury in time for the second leg and the early passages of play implied Zidane was keen to provide the Spaniard with extra support in the form of a third centre-back.
But it quickly became apparent that this was in fact a hugely attacking line-up for the visitors.
Nacho and Militao hugged the touchlines whenever Real Madrid had the ball, while ‘wing-backs’ Ferland Mendy and Vinicius Junior practically played as out-and-out forwards.
Zidane knew his side needed a goal and set up from the outset to go and get one, but his aggressive approach left huge amounts of space for Chelsea to exploit, and this problem only became more glaring as the game wore on.
3. Mendy’s masterclass
There is a sense Edouard Mendy has been so-so during his first season with Chelsea.
While the Senegal shot-stopper has been formidable at times, there have been occasional lapses in concentration and questions of his distribution remain.
But Mendy saved one of his finest performances for the Blues for when it really counted.
The former Rennes star produced two magical saves to deny Real Madrid talisman Karim Benzema in the first half, first pushing a vicious, curling effort around the post and later parrying the Frenchman’s header over the bar.
This was perhaps the night Mendy staked his claim to be Chelsea’s No.1 for many years to come.
4. Havertz outshines Hazard
Much of the build-up to the match was centred on Eden Hazard’s return to Stamford Bridge almost two years on from his £150million transfer.
But the Belgian spent the night on the fringes, hardly seeing any of the ball and struggling to make any significant impact on the match.
Zinedine Zidane made a double substitution in the 63rd minute – with Ferland Mendy and Viniciur Junior making way – and it was somewhat to see Hazard stay on the pitch.
In contrast, Chelsea’s had an electric forward in their front line.
Kai Havertz – who scored both goals in the 2-0 victory over Fulham on Saturday – set up Timo Werner’s goal with his clipped effort and hit the woodwork again in the second half with a powerful header.
After a challenging start to life with Chelsea following his £72million arrival from Bayer Leverkusen, Havertz has hit his stride under Thomas Tuchel and was Chelsea’s main threat throughout the second leg.
As well as hitting the bar twice, Havertz was denied by an excellent Thibaut Courtois save in the 59th minute and was tantalisingly close to getting on the end of a cross in the 77th minute.
It was yet more evidence of the 21-year-old’s rapid progress, and he is quickly becoming indispensable to Tuchel.
5. Tuchel’s instructions heeded
Thomas Tuchel urged his side to “forget” their away-goal advantage ahead of the second leg, insisting they must take the game to Real Madrid and set out to win at Stamford Bridge.
“This game is about winning, this competition is about winning,” Tuchel told reporters before the match.
“We are in the semi final second leg, forget the first leg result, it’s not as important as everyone thinks.”
Tuchel’s players implemented his instructions to the letter.
On top of Kai Havertz’s deluge of chances, Chelsea had countless opportunities to tighten their grip on the tie, with Mason Mount and Thiago Silva among the players in royal blue to go close.
Perhaps what was most impressive about Chelsea’s performance was that their attacking threat never came at the cost of defensive sturdiness.
They never gave up the space at the back which Real Madrid did so recklessly, but still managed to create a great number of opportunities.
Overall, it was a simply brilliant performance by Chelsea against European royalty – and one which earns them a spot at club football’s biggest prize.
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