Karim Benzema was Chelsea’s tormentor once again as his extra-time header earned Real Madrid a spot in the Champions League semi-finals with a 5-4 aggregate victory.
A thrilling evening of football at the iconic Santiago Bernabeu saw the west Londoners overturn their 3-1 deficit to lead 4-3 on aggregate thanks to a stunning comeback, before Real levelled through Rodrygo’s late goal to force extra-time.
Mason Mount swept Chelsea in front after 15 minutes to give the Blues a deserved half-time lead, before Antonio Rudiger and a brilliant Timo Werner solo goal gave Thomas Tuchel’s brave side the advantage on aggregate.
Before Werner’s strike to make it 3-0, Chelsea also had a Marcos Alonso goal ruled out by VAR due to a handball in the build-up, but the Blues were pegged back when a stunning Luka Modric pass was met by substitute Rodrygo, who fired in from close range to force extra-time.
It was Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema who linked up again in the additional period – just like they did with devastating effect in the London first leg – with the latter heading home his fourth goal of the tie to earn Carlo Ancelotti’s side a spot in the last four.
Needing at least a two-goal win to stay alive in the Champions League, Tuchel continued with Ruben Loftus Cheek in the wider-than-midfield role he adopted in the 6-0 win at Southampton at the weekend – and it was the 26-year-old who played a key supporting role in Chelsea’s first-half opener.
Loftus-Cheek was involved in a swift midfield move with Mateo Kovacic and Werner that saw the ball break to Mount on the edge of the penalty area, with the England international sweeping an effort past Thibaut Courtois to stun the Bernabeu.