Thursday, June 1, 2023

Rodrygo punishes a sterile Chelsea and Madrid awaits City in the semifinals

It’s not a good idea to try to eat a steak with a spoon. Chelsea can attest to this.. The Londoners proposed a physical game and cornered their talented footballers on the bench. Madrid, which exhibited his collection of knives on the lawnhe thanked enormously seeing how clear chances failed one after another. Until two stab wounds from Rodrygo silenced Stamford Bridge and sentenced the tie. Madrid looks to Munich, where City lands with a three-goal lead. It paints that the semifinal of last year is repeated. And Rodrygo rubs his hands.

It is difficult to justify leaving Sterling, Joao Félix, Ziyech, Pulisic, Mount and Mudryk on the bench when you have to come back from two goals. Something inexplicable yesUnless you are more afraid of your team than of Real Madrid. And that makes some sense considering that Chelsea had lost all three games with Lampard in charge and in the last one Brighton shot him 26 times! The ‘blue’ coach aspired to arrive alive at half-time and throw himself into an open grave afterwards. Consistency they call it.

That explains the 5-4-1 with three center backs, James and Cucurella on the lanes, four midfielders with Gallagher helping the trivote (Kanté-Enzo-Kovacic), and Havertz buoying up. In fact, Ancelotti’s proposal was much more offensive, who instead of saving his clothes with a fourth midfielder, opted for the attacking triplet above, with Rodrygo escorting Benzema and Vinicius.

The first minutes were typical of Madrid, a diesel team that gains strength over time. And, of course, with shocks included. In this case, a Kanté shot only in the area that went wide. What would have happened if Sterling, Joao Félix, Ziyech, Pulisic, Mount or Mudryk had shot instead of Kanté? We will never know. Until the boiler heated up, Madrid ran after the ‘blues’. Ancelotti’s men are a reactive team. They need to know what the rival has, examine him and propose what the party requests in every moment. But those initial minutes of suspense are always on the house.

Modric and Gallagher, in a Chelsea – Real Madrid action. EFE

At 19 minutes Madrid despaired in the first play linked by their attack with a shot at Rodrygo’s post. Chelsea squeezed Kroos and Modric, floating Valverde more, who directed operations. Militao measured badly in an entry and took a card that will leave him without the first leg of the semifinals. Benzema began to order the traffic by going down to help at the start and Vinicius gained prominence behind the central defenders. Within half an hour, Madrid had already appeared at Stamford Bridge. A lukewarm shot from Benzema and a more demanding one from Modric made Kepa work. All in order. Although they were tied at halftime due to a handball from Courtois, who launched himself like a tiger to reduce the goal against Cucurella, he had everything going for him to score first at the far post, but he decided to stop it to secure it. What would have happened if Sterling, Joao Félix, Ziyech, Pulisic, Mount or Mudryk had shot instead of Kanté? We will never know. Kanté and Cucurella left Chelsea without a prize.

Rodrigo’s goal

The second part began with the same scenario. Chelsea kept their Praetorians and Madrid kept waiting for the blue soufflé to go down. The Londoners asked for another yellow card for Militao, who played with fire. They did it seconds after Kanté missed another clear chance, again portraying Lampard’s approach. You can’t eat a steak with a spoon. And each local attack was a demonstration of it. Madrid suffered without the ball and Ancelotti called Tchouameni and Nacho. They were getting ready to leave when Rodrygo mounted a counter that Benzema did not push by centimeters and at the far post Vinicius returned to the center for Rodrygo himself to score. It is what you have to give the good guys the ball in the rival area. The goal stoned Chelsea in minute 58.

At 66 minutes Lampard took out Joao Félix, Mudryk and Sterling in one go. A good time… Chelsea went ahead and had chances, but it was Madrid, once, who certified the victory and the tie with their cons. An exquisite play by Valverde ended with Rodrygo pushing his second goal. The Brazilian already rescued the whites a year ago with a goal that took Madrid to extra time against the Londoners. It was not surprising that Ancelotti kissed him like a son when he replaced him at the end of the game.

Data sheet:

0-Chelsea: Kepa; James, Thiago Silva, Fofana, Chabolah, Cucurella (Mudryk, min.68); Kanté, Enzo Fernández (Sterling, min.67), Kovacic; Gallagher (Joao Felix, min.67) and Havertz (Mount, min.77).

2 – Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal (Nacho, min.81), Militao, Alaba (Rüdiger, min.46), Camavinga; Modric, Kroos (Ceballos, min.76), Valverde; Rodrygo (Asensio, min.82), Benzema (Tchouameni, min.71) and Vinicius.

Goals: 0-1, minute 58. Rodrygo. 0-2, minute 80. Rodrygo.

Referee: Daniele Orsato (ITA). He admonished Cucurella (min.34), James (min.50) and Mudryk (min.89), for Chelsea, and Militao (min.21), for Real Madrid.

Stadium: Stamford Bridge.


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