Experienced striker Karim Benzema’s hat-trick, including two brilliant goals in the space of three minutes of the first half, helped Real Madrid win 3-1 over European champions Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday. Benzema, 34, claimed his hat-trick when he pounced on an error by Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to put the Spaniards in control of the tie ahead of Tuesday’s second leg in Madrid.
Kai Havertz had restored some hope for the Blues when they went 2-1 on an angled pass from Jorginho in the 40th minute. But Chelsea’s chances of a comeback were undone by Mendy’s mistake in the 46th minute when, outside his box, he tried to pass Antonio Rudiger, only for Benzema to hit a blank net for his 37th goal of the season. Tried to intercept and cast into an empty trap.
The France striker shook Chelsea when he converted a pinpoint cross with a header from Vinicius Jr. on the left in the 21st minute and then from Luka Modric on the right in the 24th minute, giving Mendy no chance at all. Didn’t get the chance. Benzema looked certain to claim his hat-trick just before halftime, but he fired wide, tearing Chelsea’s usually rock-solid defence.
“Those are very important goals. I am happy to score the third goal because I missed one in the first half and I was thinking about that opportunity because scoring a goal is very important. Then I got another one and I am very happy,” Benzema told Spanish television.
“Today we came out to win, to show that we are Real Madrid. From the first minute to the last, we played well and things worked out well for us.”
The Spaniards sought revenge after the Londoners eliminated them in the semi-finals of the previous season before the Blues won the trophy in Porto. There was an early warning sign for the Londoners when Vinicius Jr made a shot against the bar in the 10th minute.
Chelsea sought to fight back in the second half with the best chance falling to substitute Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea’s record signing who has struggled to fit in at Stamford Bridge – but went narrowly wide. Gone as a deflected ball was dropped to him on the edge of the six-yard box in the 69th minute.
In the dying moments, Hakim Ziych as a deputy also fired from 13 yards. Real – who have been crowned European champions 13 times but have never beaten Chelsea before – are now in pole position to advance to the semi-finals to face Manchester City or crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid.
real madrid Coach Carlo Ancelotti, who spent two years as Chelsea’s head coach and led the Blues to a double in the Premier League and FA Cup in the 2009/10 season, blamed the threat posed by him on his team’s control of the game and counterattack. appreciated. “It was a good night but this is only the first part of this phase,” the BBC quoted him as saying.
Chelsea’s defeat added to a sense of turmoil with the club put up for sale by Roman Abramovich after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a ‘special military operation’.
The Russian billionaire has been approved by the British government. Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel said his team is far from the level expected. “You can’t expect results from this kind of performance,” he told reporters.