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Matchday LIVE: Real Madrid vs Chelsea in Champions League semi-final first leg

Join us for all the action as the Blues travel for Spain for the first leg of a marquee European clash

Pulisic Benzema GFX



That's all from tonight's matchday thread. That wasn't a bad start to the semi-finals was it?

We will be back here tomorrow for another cracker - Paris Saint-Germain v Manchester City.

See you then!!

Pulisic Benzema GFX

Benzema denies Chelsea to remind Perez who Madrid are


After a remarkable week in which Real Madrid president Florentino Perez tried to change the future of football, it took a brilliant goal from Karim Benzema to snap los Blancos back to reality on Tuesday night and remind them that there is plenty to fight for in the present. 

The Frenchman’s brutal strike past Edouard Mendy earned Madrid a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in a sodden Champions League semi-final first leg clash at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, after the Blues had started the game at a pace that left the home side trailing.

Read more from Goal's Spanish Football Writer Rik Sharma here.

Karim Benzema Florentino Perez Real Madrid GFX

'Could be better and it could be worse'


Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard was philosophical about the first leg draw against his former side, saying: "It could be better and it could be worse! We will go there looking for the win."

On his own return to fill fitness, he added: "I am just going step by step, of course I want to play, I want to be on the pitch. I played a bit more today than before, we have games before the end of the season and I want to be ready.

"I am just happy to be playing again. It's always good to play against friends. Now I am a Real Madrid player so I just want to win."

Eden Hazard Real Madrid Chelsea
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The Tuchel effect?


'We have to live with it'


Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel was not completely satisfied with the draw but concedes his side "have to live" with the result.

"We started the game very very well, with a lot of courage and quality," he told BT Sport. "We deserved to win the first half, we had chances. Unfortunately they scored from a set-piece and they had nothing else, we didn't allow any chances.

"It was a disappointing score at half time. We had to stay calm and not lose confidence. The second half was very tactical, you could feel that we are a bit tired. We only had a few days to recover from another tough away game. We have to live with 1-1.

"The goal was well deserved and we should have scored at least one more. We conceded more or less out of nothing and that can always happen against individual quality."

Thomas Tuchel Chelsea 2021
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Cesar satisfied with draw


Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta was satisfied with the team's performance in Spain, telling BT Sport: "I think we started really well for the first 20-25 minutes, we got the goal and I think we could have scored more. They got back from a set play.

"It is just the first half, we knew against Real Madrid it would be tough. We started with courage, we had to perform at our best level. The semi-final of a Champions League asks you to play your best. We missed that little last pass where we could choose the best option.

"I think in the overall analysis we performed well. Benzema scored a great goal, he is a very good striker. He dropped, he got the ball and got that goal. We have to be aware for the next game. As a unit I think we are all improving and all growing."


Kante MOTM?


Advantage Chelsea?


The second half did not quite live up to the standards of the first, but Chelsea will be the happier of the two teams given they have that crucial away goal.

On the other hand, they also missed a number of chances against a below-par Real Madrid side who will surely be better at Stamford Bridge next week.

All to play for!

FT: Real Madrid 1-1 Chelsea


It ends all square!! ðŸ¤

Stoppage time


Into the final minute of stoppage-time - will we find a winner??



Raphael Varane gets on the end of Kroos' corner but his header is deflected just wide! The corner comes in from the other side and Edouard Mendy manages to claim!

Into the final minute of normal time.....



Real Madrid are pressing for a winner but Chelsea are working so hard to keep them at bay.

Toni Kroos has a shot from distance that deflects behind for a corner....



Hakim Ziyech curls a free-kick from 25 yards over the wall but it is comfortable for Thibaut Courtois to save.

Real Madrid have switched to a back four following those subs - Zidane tightening things up for the closing stages?

15 minutes to go 😬


In to the final 15 minutes of the game, will either team take a lead into next week's second leg?

Meanwhile, Marco Asensio and Alvaro Odriozola are on for Marcelo and Dani Carvajal.

Ziyech making his presence felt


Hakim Ziyech makes an early impact as he darts into the box and fizzes the ball across goal, but no one in blue can get on the end of it.

Here's Hazard!


Subs all round!

Eden Hazard is on for Vinicius Junior for Real.

It's a treble change for Chelsea as Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Reece James come on for Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner and Cesar Azpilicueta.

Yellow for Marcelo


As blatent as you like.

Marcelo hacks down Pulisic as he looks to break away. ðŸŸ¨

Taking a breather


The pace has dropped slightly this half, which isn't really a surprise given the frantic nature of the opening 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, Toni Kroos is booked for pulling back N'Golo Kante, who has been excellent for Chelsea this evening.

Hazard warming up


Eden Hazard is warming up on the touchline - will we see the Belgium winger come on against his old club??

Nice and dry


Both sets of players are wearing fresh kits after the first half monsoon.

Mercifully it has also stopped raining ðŸŒ§ï¸ ðŸŒ§ï¸

Here we go!


The second half is under way!!

Half-time ⏱️


Real Madrid 1-1 Chelsea

What a pulsating half of football that was.

Up there with the best


Werner blasts wide


Chelsea split Real Madrid wide open again as Pulisic sprints forward and lays it off to Werner, but his effort from a tight angle goes wide of Courtois' near post!

🟨 🟨


Pulisic collects a deserved yellow for hacking down Marcelo near the halfway line.

Meanwhile the rain is getting even heavier - monsoon-type stuff!

Goal for Real Madrid!


It's 1-1!!! What a thunderous finish that is from Karim Benzema!

Casemiro flicks on a cross into the box which Benzema controls with his head before powering home an acrobatic volley into the roof of the net.


🌧️ 🌧️ 🌧️


It's absolutely bucketing it down in Valdebebas.

Slide tackles ahoy!

We have a semi-final now!


Real Madrid look vulnerable at the back as *checks notes* N'Golo Kante strides forward deep into the Real half.

Chelsea players are queuing up to have a shot but it falls to the right foot of Ben Chilwell and the ball dribbles wide.

How long before a) Chelsea score again or b) Zidane makes a tactical switch?



Real Madrid have offered nothing so far but out of nowhere they nearly level!

Karim Benzema collects the ball 25 yards goal before powering in a left-footed effort that flashes past the outstretched hands of Mendy and just wide of the left-hand post.

USA! USA! USA! 🇺🇸 🇺🇸 🇺🇸


Thibaut finally beaten


That's the first goal Thibaut Courtois has conceded in six hours and 44 minutes.

Goal for Chelsea!


Christian Pulisic breaks the deadlock!!!! âš½ðŸ”¥

Chelsea have been on top the last few minutes get their reward.

Antonio Rudiger's lovely ball over the top is met by Pulisic who rounds Courtois before firing the ball through a crowd of players and into the net!

Brilliant save!


What a chance that is! And what a save!

Chelsea sprint forward on a counter attack and cross for Mason Mount who nods the ball back into the path of Timo Werner, but his first-time shot from six yards is blocked by the feet of Thibaut Courtois!

Nervy opening


It's been tight and tense in the opening stages, not really a surprise given it is a Champions League semi-final.

Both teams are playing 3-5-2 and have managed to cancel each other out so far, though Chelsea have probably had the most of the ball.


Kick-off! ⏰


Let's go!  ⚽  ⚽  ⚽

Like a fine wine


'This is what you dream of as a little boy'


Thomas Tuchel told his young Chelsea squad to embrace the experience of facing Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final.

Speaking at a news conference earlier this week, the former PSG boss said: "We arrived in the semi-final and on the highest level, we will play Real Madrid and it cannot be harder.

"That's because they are the most experienced team in this competition. They will play these games with full confidence and awareness. They are on a very good run at the moment. Sixteen or so games unbeaten. I am sure we will arrive with confidence and true inner belief.

"It's a big challenge and after it, we will be smarter and better. This will be a huge experience together. We are very happy to arrive at this level. This is what you dream of as a little boy, to play international games against Real Madrid, there's no doubt about it."

Thomas Tuchel Chelsea 2021
Getty Images

Kroenke family dismiss takeover talk


Some news away from tonight's game - the Kroenke family have dismissed talk that Arsenal are up for sale amid reports that a takeover bid is being prepared for the club.

The Gunners' owners have come under pressure from fans in the fallout from the ill-fated Super League project. 

Spotify founder Daniel Ek, an Arsenal fan, revealed on Twitter he would be interested in taking over at the Emirates - but the Kroenkes are not interested.

Click here for all the details

Josh and Stan Kroenke

The value of experience


Who can unlock that door?


Here is more from Goal's Chelsea correspondent Nizaar Kinsella: "Thomas Tuchel was delighted with the performance against West Ham and rightly so. That's reflected in the continued line up.

"Five subs allowed tonight from a 12-man bench, which could be key in the tie. The bookings have been wiped off for the semi-final round.

"3-5-2 from Real Madrid who are also conservative. Two of the best defensive teams in Europe going at it - but who can unlock that door?"

Ton up for Mason


It is a significant evening for Mason Mount and Cesar Azpilicueta.

Blues unchanged


Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel names an unchanged XI from the side that won 1-0 at West Ham on Saturday to boost their top four chances.

Chelsea XI: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Silva, Chilwell, Jorginho, Kante, Mount, Werner, Pulisic.

The teams...


Zinedine Zidane makes three changes from the side that drew with Real Betis at the weekend, with Marcelo, Toni Kroos and Vinicius Junior all coming in.

Former Chelsea forward Eden Hazard is on the bench as he edges his way back to full fitness.

Real Madrid XI: Courtois, Marcelo, Nacho, Militao, Varane, Carvajal, Casemiro, Modric, Kroos, Vinicius Jr, Benzema.

Here we go...


Hello and welcome to the matchday live blog - and what a match it is.

It's Chelsea. It's Real Madrid. It's the Champions League semi-finals.

Let's do this!