Chelsea vs Real Madrid result: Player ratings as Karim Benzema hits another Champions League hat-trick



Real Madrid have one foot in the Champions League semi-finals after Karim Benzema notched another hat-trick, as Los Blancos beat Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea started fast and created several early openings, but the best chance fell to Real’s Vinicius Jr – he struck the crossbar with a deflected effort inside ten minutes.

Despite home possession it was the visitors who had the far greater penetration and Karim Benzema pounced with two incredible headers in the space of three minutes, first a powerful effort after a one-two with Vini Jr, then a well-directed effort back across goal and in from Luka Modric’s cross.

Kai Havertz scored a fine header of his own to reduce the gap, but a terrible defensive blunder right after half-time saw Benzema roll in his hat-trick and reestablish the two-goal lead – which the Spanish side maintained despite a slew of second -half efforts from the Blues.

Here are the player ratings from the first leg in west London.

Chelsea

Edouard Mendy – 5. No chance off either goal in the first half but the third rose from his hesitation and under-hit pass.

Andreas Christensen – 5. Really struggled with the speed of Vini Jr down the channel. Beaten too easily in one-vs-ones and subbed at the break for a shape change.

Thiago Silva – 6. Beaten three times by Benzema’s movement in the first quarter of the game, leading to two goals and en effort off the bar.

Antonio Rudiger – 4. What on earth was he thinking after the restart? It just has to be cleared, with his keeper out of goal and Benzema closing him down. On a yellow card or not, his half-hearted attempt to tackle simply cost a third against his team, it was the one challenge he simply had to win.

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Reece James – 6. Took quite some time to get into the game and Chelsea looked better once he was involved in build-up play. A little limited at times by the switch to a back four but Chelsea will need him flying for the second leg.

Cesar Azpilicueta – 6. Did really struggle to contain Fede Valverde early on – along with Jorginho – but was also involved in a lot of Chelsea’s better moments going forward. One drilled effort was tipped over.

N’Golo Kante – 6. Played well in spells for the first half but Chelsea were overrun on the break. One of two players subbed at the interval.

Jorginho – 4. Given the absolute run-around for most of the first half, but pulled out a great clipped cross for Havertz’s goal. Little else positive, though.

Mason Mount – 5. Had a roving role which saw him working hard and trying to get involved, but not really getting anywhere. Improved in the second half and certainly no shortage of endeavour. A couple of decent efforts on goal.

Christian Pulisic – 4. Barely involved in the first half as he failed to find space. He did n’t really improve with the formation change after the break. Surprising he played more than an hour in truth.

Kai Havertz – 6. Another big goal from the forward – a very good header before the break – but he wasn’t given much support or supply line apart from that.

subs: Mateo Kovacic 6, Hakim Ziyech 5, Ruben Loftus-Cheek 5, Romelu Lukaku 5

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(AFP via Getty Images)

Real Madrid

Thibaut Courtois – 8. Tremendous save from Azpilicueta’s shot after half-time and made a few other decent stops along the way. Maybe he’ll be slightly disappointed on the goal but a fine performance overall-and plenty of boos for him, despite his pre-game hopes of him.

Dani Carvajal – 5. Caught ball-watching and flat-footed as he has been so often this season for Havertz’s header before the break. He defended well in a few moments but also spent plenty of time complaining and writhing around in faux-pain to waste time.

Eder Militao – 5. A costly early error saw him booked – he’s out of the second leg. He did not have his best first half and subbed due to injury.

David Alaba – 7. Solid defensively, drove forward when he could. He kept a succession of players quiet on that side of the attack.

Ferland Mendy – 8. Dealt well with the threat of wing-backs and wide build-up play, mostly with just himself as the barrier to goal due to Vini keeping his high starting line instead of tracking back. A couple of fine surges forward too.

Casemiro – 9. Simply sensational. Often he rotates positions with Modric and co, pushing forward and charging into attack – tonight he simply patrolled in front of the back four, the entire width of the pitch, and barely ever let Chelsea’s attackers past him. Magnificent display.

Toni Kroos – 7. His usual mix of excellent passing and a few moments of defensive work which were important for the team.

Luka Modric – 8. Non-stop energy and work rate. No shortage of quality either. Tremendous clipped cross for Benzema’s second and was always trying to be the link between midfield and attack.

Federico Valverde – 7. Gave Chelsea’s left side a torrid time in the first half as he filled his usual two or three tactical roles, thanks to boundless energy and diligence in his defensive duties. He led counters when he could and rarely lost an individual battle.

Vini Jr – 7. Rattled the crossbar early on then clipped an assist for the opener. Always a thorn in Chelsea’s side thanks to his pace and willingness to run one-on-one, especially in the opening hour or so.

Karim Benzema – 9. What a wonderful header for the first goal after a give and go – then arguably an even better second header minutes later, jumping away from goal after some fantastic movement. The hat-trick was a gift, the performance a joy.

subs: Nacho 6, Camavinga 6, Bale n/a, Ceballos n/a


www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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