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HomeSportsBenzema sinks brave Chelsea in extra time as Madrid reach semi-finals

Benzema sinks brave Chelsea in extra time as Madrid reach semi-finals

Luka Modric turned the tie and Karim Benzema settled it as Real Madrid held off a sensational fightback from Chelsea on Tuesday to win an enthralling Champions League quarter-final 5-4 on aggregate.

Chelsea wiped out Madrid’s 3-1 lead from the first leg in stunning fashion at the Santiago Bernabeu as Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner put Europe’s reigning champions on the brink of an incredible victory.

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But the 36-year-old Modric intervened with another moment of genius to add to the very best of his glittering career, a sumptuous pass with the outside of his right foot setting up Rodrygo to volley in and sending a nerve-shredding contest into extra time. After scoring a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge, Benzema then stepped forward to claim the winner, the Frenchman capitalising on a Rudiger slip to head in, a 3-2 defeat enough to see Madrid into the semi-finals.

At the final whistle, Modric and Benzema dropped to the floor, their combined 70 years of age belying another two vintage contributions that have dragged Real Madrid in sight of a 14th European Cup.

They will face either Manchester City or rivals Atletico Madrid in the last four.

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After being thrashed by Brentford and then outplayed by Madrid in the first leg last week, Chelsea came in rejuvenated after putting six past Southampton in the Premier League last weekend.

Thomas Tuchel said on Monday they would need a “fantastic script” to pull off this comeback and they certainly delivered that, their only failing an inability to prevent Modric and Benzema from doing what they have done so many times before.

Mount’s goal in the 15th minute set the tone, Madrid was immediately consumed by tension and Chelsea was given early hope.

Mateo Kovacic had been key in the build-up but it was Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s quick pass into Werner that caught Madrid cold, the German steering the ball with his knee into the path of Mount, who advanced and fired past Thibaut Courtois.

For 20 minutes, Chelsea were dictating, Madrid pegged back. Reece James was doing a fine job restricting Vinicius Junior, blocking Madrid’s escape route.

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