Chelsea will take an away goal back to Stamford Bridge as their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid remains in the balance.
Christian Pulisic's early strike was ruled out by Karim Benzema's volley as Real Madrid held their opponents.
The Blues were dominant for large periods at a rain-soaked Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano and may rue not taking advantage.
Chelsea and Madrid, two of those involved in the original Super League plans, were meeting for the first time in 23 years as they both eyed a place in next month's final.
Their lack of familiarity was evident but Thomas Tuchel certainly got the better of his opposite number Zinedine Zidane
His side were unable to find a second-half winner but will hold a narrow advantage ahead of the second-leg.
Here a five talking points from Madrid.
1. A striking difference
Benzema again proved to be Madrid's get out of jail free card. His first half strike came at a time when Los Blancos were very much under the cosh.
For years he played in Cristiano Ronaldo's shadow, now though he is the man Madrid turn to during their time of need and he so often answers.
Had the Frenchman been wearing Blue tonight the tie would probably be all but over. Instead though it is Timo Werner who Chelsea had leading their line and his lack of confidence and clinical edge told.
The German missed a golden opportunity when the game was goalless and continued to get in behind without taking advantage.
Chelsea's impressive showings are coming despite the lack of a world class striker, Madrid though are still in the tie because they do have one.
2. Familiarity vs rarity
Zidane chose to play with three at the back against the Blues, potentially out of necessity but perhaps to try and negate Chelsea's system.
It quickly became evident however that this was one team who were familiar with three at the back and one team who are still learning on the job.
Tuchel's system is rarely employed by Europe's top teams so brings with it unique challenges.
It certainly caused Manchester City problems in last weekend's FA Cup semi-final and again it made life difficult for Madrid.
The space left in behind was consistently exploited by Chelsea and they may feel they should've prospered more before Zidane switched things up.
3. No substitute for experience
Madrid are in that phase where their players' reputations will forever go before them. Many of them have four Champions League winners medals courtesy of recent successes.
But, contrary to popular belief at times, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro will not still be turning in match winning performances come 2030.
That said players who know what it takes to win and rise to the big occasion will always have that quality you just can't teach.
This Madrid side, with the greatest respect, probably shouldn't be in a Champions League semi-final and many will argue they shouldn't be in the La Liga title race either.
That said, when history and tradition tells you that you should be making finals on an yearly basis, you feel an obligation to honour it.
This is one of the least impressive Madrid sides of the last decade and yet they remain in contention for a Champions League final, so some credit is certainly due.
4. The American dream
Last season Pulisic became the first American to score in an FA Cup final.
Now he may well have his sights on netting in a Champions League final having become the first American to score in a semi-final following his strike in Madrid.
Chelsea's No 10 again produced his best and he and his fellow attackers profited from the spaces in Real Madrid's defence, especially in the first-half.
Tuchel looks to have found the perfect position for Pulisic, a player he knows well from his time at Borussia Dortmund, and he continues to justify his inclusion in what is a very competitive squad.
5. Hazard's nightmare continues
When Chelsea sold Eden Hazard in 2019 they must've feared one day that he'd return to haunt them.
Less than two years on though and the Belgian's dream move to Los Blancos could not have gone much worse, so much so that he was named on the bench tonight.
In the list of failed Galacticos Hazard is right near the top, if not No 1. He now appears a shadow of the player who lit up Stamford Bridge for so many years.
Injuries have certainly hampered his progression in Madrid, but he entered the contest with around half an hour to go.
He was unable to influence proceedings however which pretty much sums up his Los Blancos career.
Source: Read Full Article