Chelsea will face Manchester City in the Champions League final in Istanbul after convincingly overcoming a fading Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge.
On a night of high tension, even behind closed doors, Chelsea fully deserved a victory that sets up an all-English final against Pep Guardiola’s Premier League leaders on 29 May.
Thomas Tuchel’s hosts were grateful to goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for two fine first-half saves from Karim Benzema but they were able to build on the 1-1 draw they achieved in Madrid when Timo Werner headed in from almost on the goal-line in the 28th minute after Kai Havertz had lofted a finish on to the bar.
It set the platform for a second half of total Chelsea domination that was nevertheless laced with anxiety as the hosts missed chance after chance to put the game to bed.
Real’s former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved from N’golo Kante and Havertz, who also headed against the bar, while Mason Mount shot wildly over the top when clean through.
It was Mount, though, who finally sealed Chelsea’s place in their first Champions League final since they won the competition in 2012.
The outstanding Kante, who was also instrumental in the opening goal, fed substitute Christian Pulisic and his cross was turned in by Mount with five minutes left.
The result adds another chapter to the remarkable transformation under Tuchel since he succeeded the sacked Frank Lampard in January – and gives him the chance to make amends for the 2020 Champions League final, when his Paris St-Germain side lost to Bayern Munich.
Chelsea take all the plaudits
Chelsea’s win over two legs was almost as emphatic as Manchester City’s dismissal of PSG in the other semi-final. The Champions League has two high-quality finalists.
Tuchel’s side, totally rejuvenated under their impressive German manager, were starting to assume dominance as the first half drew to a close before totally over-running a Real side that suddenly started to look its age in the face of the energy of Havertz, Werner and Mount – as well as Pulisic when he came on – allied to the all-round brilliance of Kante in midfield.
Mendy played his part with those crucial interventions from Benzema, with Antonio Rudiger also a rock, but the home goalkeeper was virtually redundant after the break as Chelsea produced a terrific display of skill and intensity.
The only downside was their failure to take one of the many chances they created until late on, leaving the door open for a potential reprieve for Real that would have amounted to grand larceny given how they were being let off the hook.
The crucial opening strike by Werner, whose endeavour has not been matched by goals this season, will be a major plus for Chelsea, as was the display of the rapidly improving Havertz, a smooth, elegant operator who knitted midfield and attack together superbly and was a constant threat.
Back-to-back Champions League finals for Tuchel – the stats
- Chelsea have reached their third Champions League final, also doing so in 2008 and 2012. Only Manchester United and Liverpool (four each) have reached more among English teams.
- Having also led PSG to the 2019-20 Champions League final, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is the first manager to reach the European Cup/Champions League final in consecutive seasons with different clubs.
- Real Madrid have faced Chelsea more often without winning (played five, drew two, lost three) than any other opponent in their entire history in all competitions, while Thomas Tuchel has faced Real Madrid more often without losing than any other manager in Champions League history (played six, won two, drew four).
- This season’s Champions League final will be contested by two English teams for a third time, also occurring in 2008 (Chelsea v Manchester United) and 2019 (Liverpool v Tottenham). It’s only the eighth time two teams from the same nation will be contesting the final, with Spanish teams also doing so a joint record three times – 2000 (Real Madrid vs Valencia) and 2014 & 2016 (Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid).
- Timo Werner scored his first Champions League goal in open play for Chelsea and his first since September 2019 for RB Leipzig against Benfica, ending a run of 17 appearances in the competition without one.
- At 22 years and 15 days, Mason Mount became the second-youngest Englishman to score in the semi-finals of the Champions League, after Wayne Rooney (21 years 182 days vs Milan). Mount is also the first Englishman to score at this stage for Chelsea since Frank Lampard in 2008.
- This was only the second time Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has lost a two-legged Champions League tie in 13 attempts, also losing in the Last 16 in 2019-20 against Manchester City.
- Chelsea goalkeeper Édouard Mendy has kept eight Champions League clean sheets this season, the most ever by a goalkeeper for an English club in a single season.
- Chelsea have kept 18 clean sheets in 24 matches under Thomas Tuchel in all competitions (75%), compared with 26 in 84 games under his predecessor Frank Lampard (31%).
More to follow.
- 4ChristensenBooked at 39mins
- 6Thiago Silva
- 5JorginhoBooked at 14mins
- 28AzpilicuetaSubstituted forJamesat 88′minutes
- 19MountBooked at 87minsSubstituted forZiyechat 89′minutes
- 29HavertzSubstituted forGiroudat 90+4′minutes
- 11WernerSubstituted forPulisicat 67′minutes
- 4RamosBooked at 37mins
- 6NachoBooked at 62mins
- 20Vinícius JúniorSubstituted forAsensioat 63′minutes
- 8KroosBooked at 72mins
- 14CasemiroSubstituted forRodrygoat 76′minutes
- 23MendySubstituted forValverdeat 63′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 7E HazardSubstituted forMarianoat 89′minutes
- Daniele Orsato
Match ends, Chelsea 2, Real Madrid 0.
Second Half ends, Chelsea 2, Real Madrid 0.
Offside, Real Madrid. Eder Militão tries a through ball, but Mariano is caught offside.
Substitution, Chelsea. Olivier Giroud replaces Kai Havertz.
Attempt missed. Reece James (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Kai Havertz.
Federico Valverde (Real Madrid) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Federico Valverde (Real Madrid).
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Real Madrid. Mariano replaces Eden Hazard.
Foul by Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid).
Thiago Silva (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Chelsea. Hakim Ziyech replaces Mason Mount.
Substitution, Chelsea. Reece James replaces César Azpilicueta.
Mason Mount (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Eder Militão (Real Madrid) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Mason Mount (Chelsea).
Luka Modric (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Mason Mount (Chelsea).
Goal! Chelsea 2, Real Madrid 0. Mason Mount (Chelsea) right footed shot from very close range to the top right corner. Assisted by Christian Pulisic.
Eden Hazard (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.