Real Madrid draw with Chelsea in Champions League semifinal first leg

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MADRID, April 27 (Xinhua) — Real Madrid drew Chelsea 1-1 in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal in Valdebebas on Tuesday night.

The result gives Chelsea a slight advantage for the return leg.

Chelsea was the better side in the first half after controlling much of the play and creating better chances.

Christian Pulisic had opened the scoring for the visitors in the 14th minute when the forward beat two defenders to a through ball, before jinking past keeper Thibaut Courtois and lifting the ball into the net.

Karim Benzema leveled the score for Zinedine Zidane’s side just before the half-hour mark with an acrobatic volley following a corner.

Real Madrid rarely looked comfortable with the system of three central defenders and two wing-backs and Chelsea picked holes in their midfield and found space behind Marcelo and Dani Carvajal, playing as wingbacks, although they perhaps should have tested Courtois more.

The second half saw Chelsea again looking to pressure Real Madrid high up the pitch, with Marcelo suffering especially as he was caught out time and again.

Madrid tried to take some of the steam out of Chelsea’s energy in the middle of a pouring rainstorm by keeping the ball in their own half, but that was at the expense of any attacking impetus and with just under 25 minutes left to play, Eden Hazard came on against his former club for Vinicius Jr, who was much less effective than against Liverpool in the quarter-finals.

Chelsea also made changes with Ziyech, Kai Havertz, and Reece James coming into the game and the trio gave renewed freshness to Thomas Tuchel’s men, while Zidane reverted to a flat back four with Alvaro Odriozola and Marco Asensio coming on for Marcelo and Carvajal.

Chelsea remained on the front foot in the closing minutes with N’Golo Kante a powerhouse in central midfield as he snapped away at Modric and Kroos, but neither keeper was overly troubled, and everything will be decided in Stamford Bridge next week. Enditem

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