Pulisic scores vital away goal as Real and Chelsea draw level
UEFA Champions League semi-finals 1st leg:
Real Madrid 1 Chelsea 1 – Tuesday, 27 April 2021 – Alfredo Di Stefano stadium
Chelsea produced a clinical performance to earn a well-deserved draw with Christian Pulisic scoring a vital away goal to put his side in a strong position ahead of the second leg of the semi-finals at Stamford Bridge next week.
Chelsea did not have to wait long for their opener as a measured Antonio Rudiger ball over the top found Pulisic who skipped past the Madrid defense, dribbled around Courtois before slotting the ball in. 1-0 to the visitors in the 16th minute.
N'Golo Kante was superb as he kept breaking down the middle and picking up Ben Chilwell on a couple of occasions inside the box but the wing-back was wasteful as he shot wide.
The Blues' speed and intensity troubled their rivals no end, but the requisite finishing was found lacking in the final third as they missed chance after chance to score.
Karim Benzema almost made them pay for their missed opportunities with a 25-yard strike that kissed the post on its way out.
The ace Real forward found one in the 29th minute in spectacular fashion. Luka Modric's short corner into the box was headed by Eder Militao into the path of Benzema who swivelled around and struck an astonishingly volley to the roof of the net to bring the game to level terms.
Werner had another half chance after the break but wasted quite some time to score, allowing Raphael Varane to get back and make an important block.
Tuchel made three changes on the hour mark, bringing in Reece James, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz to replace Cesar Azpilicueta, Werner and Pulisic. Real introduced the injury-prone €100m Eden Hazard in the 66th minute as the hosts were beginning to gain ascendance in the proceedings.
The visitors had to put up with some late pressure from the thirteen-time champions as Toni Kroos forced Edouard Mendy into a save before Varane put a header wide from the subsequent corner with the match heading into a 1-1 stalemate.
Real Madrid starting XI: Courtois (goal), Marcelo, Nacho, Militao, Varane, Carvajal, Casemiro, Modric, Kroos, Vinicius, Benzema
Subs: Hazard, Asensio
Chelsea starting XI: Mendy (goal), Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Silva, Chilwell, Jorginho, Kante, Mount, Werner, Pulisic
Subs: Havertz, Ziyech, James
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