Real Madrid and Chelsea meet at the Bernabeu for the first time on Tuesday with a place in the Champions League semi-finals on Kilamiti tonight.
It was the Karim Benzema show in the first leg at Stamford Bridge as the prolific Frenchman scored a 25-minute hat-trick, claiming his second successive Champions League match ball, having put PSG to the sword the round prior. Chelsea now face an uphill battle to overturn a 3-1 deficit from that opening tie.
The reigning European champions looked to have shifted momentum back in their favour after going 2-0 down in west London after Kai Havertz nodded home just before half-time. But Carlo Ancelotti’s men came flying out of the traps after the restart and restored their two-goal cushion just a minute into the second half.
Benzema capitalised on a collector’s item mistake from the usually-impervious Edouard Mendy, who registered his first error leading to a goal in the competition from 20 appearances, while the three he conceded against Real was as many as he had let in across his previous 10 Champions League games combined.
Karim Benzema’s three goals at the Bridge has moved him to 11 for the campaign in the Champions League, which is just one below current top scorer Robert Lewandowski (12) and actually already makes him the most prolific Frenchman in the competition’s history for a single season. His 11 goals this term is as many as he had scored in the previous two seasons combined (six in 2020/21 and five in 2019/20).