Chelsea’s Champions League hopes were ended following a 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge which saw them crash out at the quarter-final stage for the second season running.
On a night where there was no expectation, Frank Lampard’s side, as promised, gave it a good go but their lack of ruthlessness was their downfall once again.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men punished the hosts with two second half goals to progress into the semu-finals.
Rodrygo broke the deadlock from close range in the 58th minute after a counter-attack ended up with the forward firing into the back of the net. He added his and Real’s second after Federico Valverde played it across for him to slot into an empty net.
Chelsea made a compact start to proceedings in the capital with Lampard playing a 3-6-1 as Kai Havertz led the hosts’ in.
N’Golo Kante had the first real chance of the game after 11 minutes but he was unable to capitalise, similar to their early chances at the Bernabeu last week, as he scuffed his shot wide despite being completely free inside the box.
Rodrygo went closest for the visitors. He collected the ball and got a shot away from inside the box, but his effort smashed off the side of the post and away to safety.
Eder Militao was booked, meaning he is suspended for the first leg of the semi-finals, for a foul on Havertz following a ball down the left channel by Conor Gallagher.
Karim Benzema and Rodrygo linked up well with Vinicius Jr not long after down the left-hand side, but the Brazilian’s right-footed effort was comfortably parried away by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Vinicius Jr had a chance just before the interval at the back post, but he could only slice Modric’s fantastic cross well wide.
Madrid were threatening and a lightning counter-attack, led by Federico Valverde, ended up at the back post, again, this time to Benzema but he could only volley the aerial cross wide.
Marc Cucurella had Chelsea’s biggest chance of the half. James’ cross fell to the wing-back at the back post, but Courtois came out quickly and made himself big to deny the Blues defender with a massive save.
Carlo Ancelotti brought on former Blue Antonio Rudiger for the second half to replace David Alaba as they looked for more defensive stability in the capital to keep hold of their two-goal aggregate lead.
The chances were coming for Chelsea and Kante squandered his second of the night eight minutes into the second half. He saw his effort blocked by Militao from yards out.
Miltao escaped a second yellow card for fouling Trevoh Chalobah leaving Chelsea and Lampard furious with the Blues searching to half the tie deficit.
But the sucker punch was thrown by Real Madrid just before the hour mark. Rodrygo broke and beat Chalobah, he crossed it, it fell back to the Brazilian and he found the back of the net to extend the advantage to give Real the lead on the night.
Enzo Fernandez tried to respond immediately but Courtois, as he has been across both ties, was there to deny the Argentina. Benzema then had a chance to put the game and tie out of sight, but he was only able to strike his effort straight at Kepa.
Lampard made a triple attacking change with 23 minutes to go in a bid to give them a tiny bit of hope. Joao Felix, Mykhailo Mudryk and Raheem Sterling replaced Gallagher, Cucurella and Fernandez. Mason Mount followed shortly after for the hosts with Havertz making way.
Madrid landed another Chelsea blow with 10 minutes to play when Rodrygo scored his second of the night. Fede Valverde squared it for the forward to tap in from close range to double the lead.
Mudryk had his blushes spared with two minutes to play. He, somehow, missed the target from yards out but fortunately the offside flag was raised.
And there ended Chelsea’s 2022/23 Champions League campaign. A fitting way to go out in comparison to how the rest of the season has panned out. Not clinical enough in both boxes and current holders Real punished to set up a semi-final against Manchester City or Bayern Munich.
For Chelsea and Lampard, they have seven games left to play before this season to forget is finally over.
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