Chelsea failed to find the net once more as Real Madrid took control of their Champions League quarterfinal tie with a 2-0 win on Wednesday night.
The Blues drew a blank at the Bernabeu which marks their fourth-successive match without scoring in all competitions. Per Sky Sports, this matches the club’s worst scoreless run since 1993. In fact, Chelsea’s last goal came in a 2-2 draw with Everton on 18 March.
Since then, the London club has lost 2-0 to Aston Villa, changed manager, and drawn 0-0 with Liverpool. They followed these toothless performances up with a 1-0 defeat to Premier League strugglers Wolves in Frank Lampard’s return as coach.
The club’s glaring need for a focal point in attack was on show yet again in Madrid. Meanwhile, their Champions League quarterfinal opponents showed Chelsea the importance of a strong No.9.
Real Madrid 2-0 Chelsea: Galacticos race ahead in Champions League QF
Los Blancos forwards Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio were the scorers as Madrid took a clear advantage in this UCL last-eight tie.
Real controlled proceedings from the outset – but Chelsea did offer an early threat. Just minutes into the game, Joao Felix found himself baring down on the opposition goal. Unfortunately, Thibaut Courtois was alert to block the Portugal international’s tame effort.
Madrid soon took the lead after this early scare. Dani Carvajal’s searching ball went to Vinicius Jr, who saw his effort saved. Benzema was there to feed on the scraps, though, tapping into an empty net to make it 1-0.
Initially, the visitors responded well to the deficit, nearly drawing level almost immediately. However, Courtois was equal to Raheem Sterling’s close-range shot.
Real started the second half in the same manner in which they had played the first. Vinicius Jr – a constant torment down the left-hand side – went on one of his typical meandering runs to find Benzema. His lay-off set up Luka Modric, but the Croatian’s curling effort went fractionally over the bar.
Chelsea’s night got a lot more difficult just before the hour mark. As Rodrygo raced in on goal, Ben Chilwell pulled down the Brazilian. Unsurprisingly, the England international received his marching orders as last man – putting the Blues down to 10.
With a man advantage, Real poured forward and eventually doubled their lead. Marco Asensio’s shot from the edge of the box just squeezed past Kepa, giving Madrid a two-goal cushion.
The holders now head into the second leg with the tie firmly in their hands. Despite the first-leg setbacks, interim Chelsea boss Frank Lampard believes that a Champions League miracle is possible.
Frank Lampard: “We have to believe”
Lampard told the post-match presser that he expects his side to challenge in the reverse fixture.
“It’s a big challenge against a team with the quality of Real Madrid. But the door is open – it’s up to us whether we want to kick it open,” said the Chelsea legend, via BBC Sport. “We have to believe; I need to be the first one to believe that it’s possible.
“Special things can happen at Stamford Bridge.”
Chelsea and Real face off in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday 18 April.
Featured image credit: Getty