Chelsea set up All English final With Manchester City after convincing win over Real Madrid
Report as goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount send Chelsea to final; Chelsea will now play in their third Champions League final, in Istanbul on Saturday May 29, and have set up just the third all-English Champions League final as Manchester City look to complete a Treble
Chelsea set up an all-English Champions League final with Manchester City after beating Real Madrid 2–0 at Stamford Bridge in the semi-final second leg, going through 3–1 on aggregate.
Timo Werner put Chelsea ahead (28), nodding into the empty net from under the crossbar after Kai Havertz’s chip had hit the woodwork, before Real rode their luck as the hosts missed four big chances to double their lead in the opening 20 minutes of the second period.
The hosts finally got their second to kill off the tie with five minutes remaining as Mason Mount stuck home substitute Christian Pulisic’s centre at close range, capping off a fine display and marking an extraordinary turnaround at the club since Thomas Tuchel joined in January.
Chelsea will now play in their third Champions League final (2008 and 2012) in Istanbul on Saturday May 29, and have set up just the third all-English Champions League final after 2008 (Man Utd-Chelsea) and 2019 (Liverpool-Tottenham) as Manchester City look to complete a treble.
This year’s final between Chelsea and Manchester City will take place in Istanbul on Saturday May 29.
The Ataturk Olympic Stadium famously staged the 2005 Champions League showdown, when Liverpool came from 3–0 down at half-time to beat AC Milan on penalties.
UEFA has not yet confirmed the kick-off time, but says detailed information regarding the capacity for the match, travel and ticketing details will be communicated publicly by the end of the week.
Real Madrid needed to score in west London, giving former Chelsea favourite Eden Hazard, largely ineffective at his old home, just his second start in three months, but it was the hosts making most of the early moves.
Chelsea targeted the right side of Real’s defence; Mount’s cross-shot forced a save from Thibaut Courtois, another former Blues player, while Werner converted at close-range from Ben Chilwell’s centre, only to be flagged offside. Only Jamie Vardy has been offside more times than Werner (36) for a Premier League side in all competitions this term.
After Edouard Mendy brilliantly kept Karim Benzema’s goalbound, curling effort out with a fingertip save, Chelsea were soon celebrating the opener.
Werner was involved in starting the move, holding up the ball well in a brilliant one-two with N’Golo Kante, who picked out Havertz in the box. Havertz’s chip lifted over Courtois and hit the crossbar, but fell to Werner, who was in the right place at the right time to simply nod the ball over the line.
The hit-and-miss nature of Werner’s debut season in England was epitomised just minutes later as Chelsea broke with men over, the Germany international picking the wrong pass, before Mendy had to be at his best again to tip over a Benzema header from Luka Modric’s cross.
Forty-five minutes from a Champions League final, Chelsea just needed to keep another clean sheet, something they had become specialists at doing under Tuchel, registering 18 in his 24 games in charge.
But they came out looking to blow Real out in the second half with an attacking blitz.
Havertz nearly made Real’s task even harder, rising to head Cesar Azpilicueta’s delivery against the crossbar, while Thiago Silva headed over unmarked from a Chilwell free-kick. Werner’s fine hold-up work then also set Mount free in the box at an angle, only for the England international to blaze over the bar.
Despite having one of the best defensive records in the Premier League since Tuchel joined, Chelsea’s shot conversion rate is among the lowest (17th), and it showed once more as Courtois denied Havertz low down after being put through on goal.
Luck was with Real at this stage as Kante emulated Havertz’s miss, denied by Courtois low down after being put through on goal by Werner, before Thiago Silva glanced wide from a Mount corner.
Somehow, in the closing stages, Real were still in the tie, but Chelsea finally killed it off through Mount. Breaking with numbers for the umpteenth time in the second period, Chelsea found their clinical edge as Pulisic composed himself to square for Mount, who turned home to prompt a huge outpouring of relief and joy from players and staff.
Including the missed chances, this was a typical Chelsea performance, and with their FA Cup semi-final win as evidence, there is a real feeling Tuchel’s team can properly test Pep Guardiola’s rip-roaring City side in Istanbul.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel: “This was another energetic performance full of positive attitude and hunger, the spirit to go. Their heads were never down. Even after these big chances, they were positive. We are not done yet, we are in two finals now, and the sacrifice, I personally gave was worth it from day one.”
“I’m pretty happy with what I see. [When I arrived] I thought individually and as a group they were strong and had great behaviour, and that never stopped. It’s a pleasure to be in the dressing room.
“We hang in and fight our way through, we use our bodies and work rate, and if we cannot out-play them, we out-work them. They didn’t step back, they never got frustrated, I never saw a change in mentality or body language, it was very positive and very brave. We didn’t regress. We really wanted it, wanted it badly.”
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane: “We tried but Chelsea were the better team today and you have to congratulate them. I also want to congratulate my players for what we’ve done this season. We gave it a go but we were up against a team that was better than us today.”
by Cyril Idemudia