Chelsea are heading to the third Champions League final in our history thanks to goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount, and a truly outstanding collective performance from all in blue at Stamford Bridge!
In truth, the margin of victory should have been more comfortable, with a number of clear chances passed up after the break as we sought to press home an advantage given to us by Timo Werner on the half-hour. Kai Havertz’s chipped effort hit the crossbar but there was his fellow German to nod into the empty net.
Edouard Mendy was called into action twice either side of that goal, denying Karim Benzema on both occasions. The first save, moments before Werner struck, was his best yet in a Chelsea shirt and enabled us to largely dominate the game from thereon in. Real Madrid didn't have a sniff in the second half.
Despite that, Mount, Havertz and N’Golo Kante all missed one-one-ones ensuring it was a nervier end to the game than it might otherwise have been. But we could breathe a sigh of relief, and then start the celebrations, when Mount converted sub Christian Pulisic’s cross with five minutes left.
Overall it was a vintage Chelsea performance, and followed a similar pattern to so many since Thomas Tuchel's arrival as we strangled the life out of our opponents and converted a couple of the opportunities we created. How proud the boss must be of his team following a near-flawless European knockout campaign thus far.
It will be Chelsea against Manchester City in Istanbul on Saturday May 29, with the Blues aiming to repeat our Munich heroics from nine years ago!
Havertz for Pulisic was the only change to the Chelsea side that started in Madrid last week. Werner moved wide left, while Cesar Azpilicueta continued at right wing-back.
Toni Rudiger shook off the facial injury he sustained in the first leg and wore a mask. In all there were four changes to the team that began the weekend win over Fulham, with Rudiger, Jorginho, Kante and captain Azpilicueta returning.
Eden Hazard started for Real Madrid, as did Sergio Ramos and Ferland Mendy after injury. They lined up in a more attacking 4-3-3 shape, with Vinicius Junior supplementing Hazard and Benzema in attack.
The rain stopped and a beautiful light broke out over Stamford Bridge as Chelsea got us underway, attacking the Shed End.
Immediately there was a good pace to the contest, and a physical edge too with Andreas Christensen going in hard on Hazard on halfway. No love lost.
Toni Kroos had the first shot in anger, but it was speculative and easy for Mendy. The same could not be said for a Rudiger long-range blast on 10 minutes that Thibaut Courtois had to punch away.
Chelsea start to dominate
Our former keeper then kicked a Mount centre behind for a corner after our no.19 had danced into the box and nearly been fouled. Jorginho picked up a yellow card for fouling Hazard as Real sought a counter from that cleared set-piece.
As in the first leg, the midfield battled remained intriguing. One swift transition saw Mount fed in space and his pass left invited Ben Chilwell to deliver low and hard. Werner converted but was fractionally offside. He wouldn’t have to wait long!
However, just 90 seconds before his opening goal, the tie might have looked very different. The visitors had already found a bit more space on the edge of our box than Tuchel would have liked when Benzema collected a pass in that very spot and turned. His sweetly-struck shot was destined for the far corner until Mendy, at full stretch, brilliantly tipped it around the post.
That was in the 26th minute, and in the 28th we broke the deadlock. Kante received the ball, took two Madrid players out of the equation with a neat one-two with Werner, and slipped in the bursting Havertz to his left. He dinked the ball over Courtois, it thudded against the crossbar, looped upwards and back down for the waiting Werner to nod into an empty net from a couple of yards out.
Rudiger was the next to turn a 50-50 challenge on halfway into a good opening, but having released Werner he couldn’t pick out the return pass to his compatriot who had continued his run.
Real Madrid continued to shade possession, yet it was something of a surprise when Benzema manufactured another clear sight of goal with 36 minutes played. A left-wing cross reached him unmarked and his header was a good one. Once more Mendy came to our rescue, this time tipping over.
From the resulting corner, Ramos threw Azpilicueta to the ground off the ball and was booked. Christensen was the next man shown a yellow after fouling Mendy.
Before the interval, two promising Chelsea counter-attacks came to nothing. Mount cut in and had a shot blocked with the first, and then Havertz ran into Ramos with Werner and Mount calling for a square pass.
Chances go begging
It was Havertz who so nearly doubled our advantage 90 seconds after the restart. This time Azpilicueta was the supplier with a fantastic first-time cross. Havertz rose highest and couldn’t have done much more with his header, which beat Courtois but not the crossbar.
Thiago Silva headed a Chilwell free-kick over as we continued to show our attacking intent despite holding a narrow advantage in the tie.
A glorious opportunity to extend our advantage then came and went. Werner headed on and suddenly Mount was away, with the whites of Courtois’ eyes in his sight. Unfortunately, the shot flew over. Heads in hands all round.
They were back there on the hour. This time, Jorginho released Havertz with a simple pass through the heart of the Real Madrid backline. His first touch to set himself was exemplary, but the finish hit Courtois’ outstretched leg.
Hazard fired at Mendy’s legs from a narrow angle down the other end, before another golden chance was passed up by the Blues. Werner was the architect with a rapid burst, beginning not far away from the edge of our box and ending on the cusp of Real Madrid’s. He chose Kante to his left, who controlled and shot. Fede Valverde, only just on, blocked with a slide.
Midway through the second half, Tuchel brought Pulisic on for Werner. The American was immediately in the thick of things, drifting past Kroos who hacked him down and was booked. Nacho had recently received the same punishment for going through Havertz.
On 72 minutes, Pulisic won a corner out of nothing which Thiago Silva glanced wide. That made it four good second-half Chelsea chances, although this opening was not as clear-cut as the previous three one-on-ones.
Still Chelsea came! Next it was Azpi backheeling in Pulisic whose low cross was in the corridor of uncertainty and agonisingly missed by all.
When Benzema threatened for the first time since the restart, spinning Thiago Silva, there was Jorginho to block him in his tracks. Tuchel and the Chelsea subs roared their approval. Could we end this tie once and for all, though? Pulisic fired wide trying to do just that. Ten minutes remained.
The defence stood firm as Madrid tried to up the ante, scarcely believing they were still alive. But they weren’t for much longer!
Again so much of the credit must go to Kante, magnificent throughout. He pinched possession out of nowhere and found Pulisic. In a similar move to the first leg, the American took his time and disrupted Courtois as he came out, before crossing past the keeper for Mount, on the move, to slide into the unguarded net. Finally, the celebrations could truly begin!
It was wonderful it was a homegrown Chelsea boy that sealed the deal, but just such a shame there weren’t thousands of Blues fans in the Matthew Harding Stand to join in the raucous celebrations.
A flurry of late subs disrupted the closing stages. Hazard, kept largely quiet throughout, was among those to go off, as were the superb Mount, Azpilicueta and Havertz, all to loud applause from those of a Chelsea persuasion inside the Bridge.
We even had a couple of late chances for a third goal, and a penalty appeal waved away before the final whistle blew. There was no doubt Chelsea were the better side in both games and worthy victors. For all of Real Madrid's European expertise and nous, we most certainly did a job on them over 180 minutes. They will certainly want to forget their first competitive game at the Bridge.
For Chelsea, One Step Beyond, and one step to go! In this kind of form, Tuchel and his team will believe they can be crowned European champions in three weeks’ time.
Our Champions League final opponents are our next Premier League opponents, as we travel to the Etihad to play Man City on Saturday as attention quickly returns to domestic matters.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Mendy; Christensen, Thiago Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta (c) (James 88), Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount (Ziyech 89), Havertz (Giroud 90+4), Werner (Pulisic 67).
Unused subs Caballero, Kepa, Alonso, Emerson, Zouma, Gilmour, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham.
Scorers Werner 28, Mount 85
Booked Jorginho 14, Christensen 39, Mount 87
Real Madrid (3-5-2): Courtois; Militao, Ramos (c), Nacho; Vinicius (Asensio 63), Modric, Casemiro (Rodrygo 76), Kroos, Mendy (Valverde 63); Hazard (Mariano 89), Benzema.
Unused subs Altube, Lunin, Odriozola, Marcelo, Miguel Gutierrez, Blanco, Isco, Arribas.
Booked Ramos 36, Nacho 62, Kroos 72, Valverde 90
Referee Daniele Orsato from Italy