Chelsea and Real Madrid played out an enthralling, closely-fought Champions League semi-final first leg in the pouring rain on Tuesday night.
Christian Pulisic’s coolly taken goal early in the first half was fully deserved for the visitors, but Karim Benzema hit back soon after with a superbly-taken finish.
Thomas Tuchel’s side had things largely under control from then on, though, even if there were a few scares late on.
They take an away goal back to Stamford Bridge and will likely be very pleased with their night’s work.
Here are the player ratings from Madrid.
Thibaut Courtois – 7: Made an exceptional save to deny Werner inside the first ten minutes. Could do nothing to stop the goal, and at one point it seemed the Belgian might be under siege in the pouring rain. Didn’t have a huge amount to do beyond that, though.
Eder Militao – 7: Had moments of nervousness in the first half, but generally looked the most assured of Real Madrid’s back three. His towering header at the back post set up Benzema for Real Madrid’s equaliser, and he made a couple of vital interventions at the other end. Looked strong again after an impressive run in Zinedine Zidane’s defence.
Raphael Varane – 6: Allowed Pulisic to steal in behind and race onto a long ball for the Chelsea goal. Perhaps slightly rusty having only just returned from an injury and without the reassuring presence of Sergio Ramos. Still, Real Madrid are clearly sterner opposition with the Frenchman in the team.
Nacho – 6: Struggled to deal with the fluidity of movement from Werner and Pulisic in the first half. Adapted to the threat as the game progressed and was generally solid.
Dani Carvajal – 6: Steady as ever on the right flank, though Chilwell largely nullified his attacking threat
Luka Modric – 5: Unusually subdued, largely because of the control established by Chelsea’s midfield. Didn’t get on the ball enough and, when he did, failed to really play the kind of penetrative passes we’ve seen from him for years in Madrid.
Casemiro 6- Switched off a couple of times early on but soon found his feet and began to make his presence felt alongside the more subtle Kroos and Modric. Put in one particularly thunderous challenge late in the second half, which echoed across the empty stadium.
Toni Kroos – 5: Like Modric, was unable to get his foot on the ball and dictate things. Sent a curling shot just wide in the first half and went close with a deflected effort late in the second, but Chelsea coped well with the German playmaker.
Marcelo – 5: Didn’t have the offensive impact the hosts would have liked, though it was his floated delivery into the box that ultimately led to Benzema’s goal. Was taken off in the second half having done little else of note.
Karim Benzema – 8: Went close shortly after Chelsea’s opener with a fizzing, left-footed drive that skimmed the outside of the post having beaten the stretching Edouard Mendy. It didn’t take long following that near-miss for the prolific Frenchman to ripple the back of the net. A set-piece was floated into the box, nodded down and the striker, on the turn, fired an emphatic volley home from close range.
Vinicius Junior – 6: Moments of promise and threatened to break in behind on a couple of occasions. But the wonderkid didn’t have the same impact as in the previous round against Liverpool. Again, Chelsea deserve plenty of credit for keeping him quiet. Was taken off just after the hour mark.
Eden Hazard – 6: Was quiet against his former club having been introduced as a substitute.
Alvaro Odriozola – 6: Threatened to pick out a team-mate with a couple of crosses from the right flank.
Marco Asensio – 5: Didn’t have much time to make an impact.
Edouard Mendy – 6: Helpless to stop Benzema’s ferociously taken goal, and could only watch as his shot clipped the post minutes earlier. Other than that, though, it was a quiet night for the goalkeeper, a testament to Chelsea’s defensive efforts.
Andreas Christensen – 7: Played with real discipline and hardly put a foot wrong. Looked settled in a system that is beginning to look like second nature, and complimented the two more experienced defenders to his left well.
Thiago Silva – 7: Put in the kind of commanding performance Chelsea were looking for when they signed the veteran defender in the summer. There were few errors, his positioning was immaculate and he acted as a calming presence for his teammates.
Antonio Rudiger – 8: The German defender provided a rare but high-quality assist, lifting a delicate pass over the top of the defence for Pulisic, who finished coolly. Not content with that, he defended superbly throughout, too.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 6: Got forward well in the early stages but was caught out at the back post for Benzema’s goal, unable to stop Militao’s header across goal.
N’Golo Kante – 7: Performed his tidying-up role as efficiently as ever and repeatedly surged forward into the gaps in Real Madrid’s midfield.
Jorginho – 6: Did what was required in midfield, recycling the ball with typical accuracy and acting as an important bridge between defence and attack. A solid night for the Italian.
Mason Mount – 6: Silky and inventive on the ball as ever. Didn’t quite hit the heights of recent weeks but still did enough to earn the plaudits of the Spanish media, with one commentator reportedly exclaiming “Que jugador!” – ‘What a player’ – in admiration of the young midfielder.
Ben Chilwell – 6: Had the occasional burst forward but was tracked well by Carvajal. Did his defensive duties with minimal fuss, too, and further established himself as first-choice left-back after Marcos Alonso’s run in the team.
Christian Pulisic – 8: Took his goal brilliantly, cushioning a ball over the top from Rudiger, gliding past Courtois and slamming his finish into an empty net. Was a menace alongside Werner, picking up the ball in pockets of space and sending in a few inviting crosses. An excellent performance until he was replaced by Ziyech in the second half.
Timo Werner – 7: Missed an excellent chance early on, denied from close range by Courtois. Was lively throughout, though, linking up well with Pulisic and finding spaces in and around a slightly dishevelled Real Madrid back three. Had several other half-chances, none of which really tested the goalkeeper. That clinical edge continues to elude him.
Hakim Ziyech – 6: Looked lively from the bench and tested Courtois with a well-struck free kick.
Reece James – 6: Made an important block and defended resolutely in the latter stages.
Kai Havertz – 6: A couple of forays forward came to nothing.
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