A record official attendance for a Chelsea game watched an improved second-half display from the Blues but we could not recover from three Real Madrid goals before the interval.
The attendance in ‘the Big House’ in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the second largest stadium in the world, was 105,826, and they saw Eden Hazard calmly net twice having come in the second half.
The European champions’ goals had been scored by Marcelo who was on target twice and Mariano Diaz.
Antonio Conte made two changes from the starting line-up three days ago against Liverpool. One was enforced with Oscar replacing Cesc Fabregas who was serving a one-match suspension, and Pedro was given a place on the wing in place of Victor Moses.
The rain that had fallen hard in this corner of Michigan during the morning had thankfully abated by the time the game kicked off in the uncovered stadium at 3pm local time. It had, however, left the pitch wet. Not that it slowed the start by Chelsea, dressed in our new dark second kit against the white of Real.
After a spot of keep-ball from kick-off, a free-kick in prime Willian territory was delivered into the six-yard box but it got caught under the feet of John Terry. Nemanja Matic on the follow up had his shot blocked by keeper Francisco Casilla. That was the best of the opening period for the Blues.
Matic, at the other end, drew a save from Asmir Begovic soon after when he over-powered his header back.
Oscar, playing in a deeper role than for much of his Chelsea career, had begun the game well and one especially forceful challenge on Mateo Kovacic drew gasps from the crowd.
Pedro ran out of space when attacking the goal at pace when released by Bertrand Traore but then Real began to make it increasingly hard for Chelsea to play the ball out of our half.
Marcelo made the Spaniards’ period of territorial advantage tell in the 19th minute when the left-back cut inside Willian and let go a shot which beat Begovic with the aid of a deflection. Having gone 1-0 up, our opponents would be on top for the rest of the half.
Begovic was able to keep out a firm header from Raphael Varane but he was beaten low at the near post on 26 minutes by the earlier goalscorer, who won the ball, exchanged passes with Marco Asensio and burst between Gary Cahill and Matic.
Soon after Marcelo’s second, Begovic saved a Carlos Casimiro free-kick, conceded at the expense of yellow card by Bertrand Traore, with Pedro and Cahill following him into the book before the break.
Chelsea continued to struggle with the overload down our right caused by Marcelo’s runs forward, and the Brazilian was involved again in the move that ended with Mariano hammering in Real Madrid’s third.
Changes at the break included the introduction of two of our Euro 2016 quarter-finalists, Thibaut Courtois and Michy Batshuayi. Nathaniel Chalobah and Juan Cuadrado also came on.
Cuadrado cleared the bar by not far with a free-kick early in the second half and Batshuayi did well to get a shot away that was saved low down. It was a much better spell for Conte’s men. Traore almost capitalised from a moment of misjudgement by Real keeper Casilla who had chased a ball out of the area, but a defender got back to block the youngster’s shot.
Then, after Real Madrid had made a raft of substitutions and Eden Hazard had come on for Pedro, there were shots wide at either end as the game continued as a much more even contest than the first half.
Victor Moses, only just on the pitch, was brought down by Zinedine Zidane’s son Enzo on the edge of the area and although Hazard cleared the bar with the free-kick, the Belgian was on target soon after when he beat substitute keeper Ruben Yanez to a Chalobah long pass and slotted it inside the near post.
It was 3-1 with 10 minutes to go and Cuadrado flashed a low ball across the face of goal as we went in search of more. Batshuayi caused problems and came closest to scoring with a shot deflected wide.
Hazard added his second in stoppage time and it was a near carbon copy of his first, with Batshuayi this time supplying the pass.
Next up is the final game of the US tour on Wednesday in Minneapolis against AC Milan.
Chelsea (4-2-4): Begovic (Courtois h-t), Aina, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Oscar (Chalobah h-t), Matic; Willian (Cuadrado h-t), Traore (Moses 75), Loftus-Cheek (Batshuayi h-t), Pedro (Hazard 65).
Scorer Hazard 80, 90+1
Booked Traore 28, Pedro 33, Cahill, 42.
Real Madrid (4-4-2): Casilla (Yanez 64); Carvajal (Danilo h-t), Varane (Lienhart 64), Nacho, Marcelo (c) (Tejero 64); Vazquez (Odegaard 64), Kovacic (Llorente 64), Casemiro (E Zidane 64), Asenio (Febas 64); Mariano, Morata (S Diaz 64).
Scorers Marcelo 19, 26, Mariano 37.
Booked Casemiro 57, E Zidane 78.
Referee Younes Marrakchi