Real Madrid once again proved that they are a dominant force in the Champions League by cruising past Chelsea to reach the semi-finals.
A brace from Rodrygo sealed a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge, thus giving Los Blancos a 4-0 victory on aggregate. The La Liga giants must now wait to see the outcome of Bayern – Man City, from which they will play the victor.
Real Madrid moves on to the semi-finals of the competition once again, adding to an already impressive record.
This is the 16th semi-final that Real have reached since the competition’s rebranding as the Champions League in 1992. If you include the preceding European Cup, then Madrid have made the final four an astonishing 32 times. Their consistency is unmatched throughout UCL history, with Bayern and Barcelona (second and third respectively) not even close.
Los Blancos’ record in the last ten years is a stunning example of their European dominance. Since 2012/13, Real Madrid have made the semi-finals on nine occasions in eleven campaigns. Of course, this has also led to five more UCL titles.
But even when they do not win, they tend to reach the last four. For example, they faced Chelsea in 2020/21 before the Blues went on to triumph in Porto. Similarly, Juventus (2014/15) and Borussia Dortmund (2012/13) both defeated Real before reaching the final.
The Champions League has run through Madrid throughout the last decade. They now await another semi-final after dealing with Chelsea.
Chelsea 0 (0) – (4) 2 Real Madrid: Holders advance to semi-finals
Real proved too strong for Chelsea yet again as they knocked out the Blues from the UCL for the second successive year.
Chasing a 2-0 deficit, the home side pressed high and created an early opening. However, N’Golo Kante could only drag his shot wide. Madrid still threatened the Blues’ goal, too, with Kepa being called into action on multiple occasions during the first half.
The two sides went into the break goalless – although Chelsea had another missed opportunity late on. Thibaut Courtois had to produce a tremendous save to deny Marc Cucurella’s point-blank shot just before half-time.
Real then effectively sealed the tie around the sixty-minute mark. Vinicius Jr laid the ball to Rodrygo in the six-yard box, allowing his compatriot to thump home a goal. Twenty minutes later, Rodrygo tapped in a second following great work from Federico Valverde to make it 2-0 on the night.
Frank Lampard’s side have now confirmed that they will go trophyless in 2022/23. Meanwhile, Real are still fighting in the league, Copa del Rey, and Champions League.
Ancelotti: “happy to play another semi-final”
Speaking after the win, manager Carlo Ancelotti gave his reaction to Real’s performance.
“We are very happy to play another semi-final with the intention of fighting and reaching the final,” he said, via Madrid’s website. “It has been complicated, but this was foreseeable. In this type of game, the opponent tries to do everything to get through.
“Chelsea did very well in the first half, and we caused problems, but in the second part, our team was very complete. We had more quality; we moved the ball better and with more transitions.”
The Italian then praised the defensive unity of his squad.
“We make the difference when there is a collective defensive commitment,” added Ancelotti. “It is the basis to show the quality that we have. We have a lot of quality and being solid at the back helps us a lot.
“At this point in the season, the team is very good. We have worked well during this period and the team is very motivated and focused. We are very solid and have conceded few goals.”
Real Madrid will now hope to turn yet another semi-finals appearance into a second consecutive final.
Featured image credit: Getty