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How Real Madrid outclassed Chelsea master plan

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Chelsea Real Madrid, UEFA Champions League, Frank Lampard
Chelsea interim manager Frank Lampard was outclassed by his Real Madrid counterpart Carlo Ancelotti. | PHOTO: Sky Sports |
  • Chelsea hosted Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals second leg at Stamford Bridge
  • The Blues needed at least two goals to overcome Real Madrid’s 2-0 aggregate from the first leg
  • The Blues were outclassed by Real once again despite laying a master plan in front of their home crowd

Chelsea won the Champions League four months after releasing Frank Lampard the last time.

They brought him back, instantly lost four games in a row, and will not be crowned kings of Europe this year. They will not compete in this competition again next year.

Good things do come to an end, but Chelsea and Lampard have prior glories to fall back on and appear to be happy enough together again, so don’t cry for them.

All those January signings, and now this? Todd Boehly’s outstanding leadership, and then this?

Real Madrid has won more titles in this competition than any other club, including their 14th last May, and they got past Chelsea after Carlo Ancelotti outwitted Lampard.

Who could have predicted that?

From the men in blue and their boss, this was football as abstract performance art.

READ: Chelsea meets with Julian Nagelsmann in manager search

They’ll be confused by your stealth methods. Why not use N’Golo Kante as a wandering forward? Why not cast Conor Gallagher as the man nodding down crosses for the small Frenchman? Madrid will have no idea what hit them!

On seeing Chelsea’s starting line-up, featuring world-beating holding midfielder Kante as the frontline attack dog, snooker star and Blues fan Neil Robertson tweeted: “I’m a little confused with this lineup. Hopefully a master plan!”

Let’s call this a master plan, Neil. However, this was a master plan, just like playing a frame of snooker using the butt end of a cue would be considered a sound tactic.

When Reece James’ ball broke to an unmarked Kante 11 minutes in, this brilliant plan should have resulted in a goal for Chelsea.

From 12 yards, the French World Cup winner would almost certainly score the opening goal, giving Chelsea the perfect start they desired.

He did not, dear reader. A reckless swing of the left boot pushed the ball wide, but Madrid was already perplexed.

After going 30 games without scoring in the Champions League, it was only a matter of time before Kante broke his duck in this encounter. He was born to win the contest.

READ: Champions League: Real Madrid sees off Chelsea in the quarters

James made a clumsy touch on another Chelsea attack, and Madrid’s Vinicius Junior shepherded the ball out of play for a goal kick, despite being urged to ‘f*** off’ by at least one Chelsea fan.

With such hatred, Madrid had to be on the verge of collapse.

Sure, Rodrygo sent a shot off the outside of Chelsea’s right post. But the home team was flying.

Chelsea 0-2 Real Madrid UEFA Champions League: Rodrygo goal

Real Madrid players celebrate after Rodrygo Goes scored against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, April 18 2023. | PHOTO: Eurosport |

Kante got the fewest touches of any player on the field in the first 20 minutes, with four. Madrid had been lulled into a false sense of security by their 2-0 first-leg lead, which had suddenly become so susceptible.

Sure, Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga bundled Luka Modric’s powerful shot from a tight angle aside.

Chelsea defender James came in on the right and attempted to play a quick pass to the striker attacking the near post, but that man did not exist.

Kante was the one rushing down the right in the 38th minute, and the substitute winger’s cross would have been brilliant if Chelsea had a striker. It raced through the penalty area and out again before Madrid cleared the ball.

Kante then won a corner, which Kai Havertz flicked on, Conor Gallagher headed up, and nobody nodded in.

Chelsea had the finest chance of the game in first-half stoppage time when James’ exquisite low cross from the right unavoidably missed the guys in the centre and ran through to left-back Marc Cucurella.

ALSO READ: Strange Chelsea formation against Real Madrid in the Champions League

The £55 million defender was not necessarily brought in for his finishing, having only scored once for Brighton and Hove Albion, and he dutifully maintained his record of never having scored for Chelsea when Thibaut Courtois saved his strike.

By halftime, Kante had tied the goalkeepers with 17 touches apiece. Progress.

After the break, the opportunities kept flowing, and Kante had another great chance when Gallagher headed the ball down. Kante received the ball and fired a shot straight at defender Eder Militao.

Havertz tricked a low shot right at Courtois, and Madrid were obviously perplexed by this master class in mind games by this point. By this point, you could knock them down with a feather.

Despite this, Madrid scored after nearly an hour of banter-ball when a quick pass from Vinicius set up Rodrygo to smash in from close range.

But hold on! Lampard inserted three players with goals in their veins in the 67th minute: Raheem Sterling, Mykhailo Mudryk, and Joao Felix.

Chelsea only needed four goals now.

Madrid’s second goal came from Federico Valverde, who danced past Thiago Silva and squared for Rodrygo to score again. Two goals on the night, four goals on aggregate.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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