Real Madrid 2-3 Chelsea (aet, 5-4 agg): Benzema’s header in extra time seals the semi-final place

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Karim Benzema’s goal in extra time brought Real Madrid into the Champions League semi-finals despite a 3-2 defeat to the owners of Chelsea on Tuesday.

Goals from Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner toppled Real Madrid’s 3-1 advantage from the first game last week, but Rodrygo’s sublime volley forced a draw in extra time.

However, Benzema, who scored a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge, had the final say as he thundered a header home six minutes into extra-time to secure an overall 5-4 victory.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team will now face either Atletico Madrid or Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola’s team having a 1-0 lead from the first game.

Chelsea’s strong start was rewarded in the 15th minute as Mount curled past Thibaut Courtois just inside the penalty area after grabbing Werner’s pushed ball forward.

Madrid struggled to break Chelsea’s stubborn backline down in the first half, with Ancelotti’s men going into the break without a shot on goal for their name.

Chelsea equalized a total of six minutes inside the second half, with Rudiger planting a powerful header past Courtois from Mount’s cross.

Alonso thought he had beaten Chelsea 11 minutes later when he thumped in the top corner from eight yards, but his effort was ruled out for handball after a VAR check.

Benzema crashed a header towards the crossbar shortly before Werner put Chelsea ahead in the 75th minute with a blow that proved too hot for Courtois to handle.

Madrid, however, struck back in a draw with 10 minutes left as Rodrygo, who had only been on the pitch for two minutes, steered an excellent volley past Edouard Mendy from Luka Modric’s breathtaking pass.

It set the stage for Benzema’s crucial goal in extra time, the French national team player on his way past Mendy from 10 yards after fine work down the left by Vinicius Junior.

What does it mean? Madrid draws on experience to fight back

With 29 years and 293 days, the average age of Madrid’s starting XI was their oldest ever in a Champions League match, and it showed in the first 75 minutes when Chelsea dominated.

As is so often the case, the talismanic figure Benzema appeared to help Ancelotti reach the final four of the Champions League for the eighth time – the most common of a coach in the history of the competition along with Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.

Crucial Benzema

After a stunning display at Stamford Bridge last week, Benzema was once again the star man as Madrid broke Chelsea’s hearts.

The 34-year-old’s header was his 12th Champions League goal of the season – in total only surpassed by Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski – while he now has seven goals in three matches in the competition.

Unfortunate Mount

Mount may consider himself unlucky to be on the losing side after a great view. His fine early strike made him just one of two English players to score 20 goals or more and deliver at least 20 assists (21 goals, 22 assists) to a Premier League team in all tournaments since the start of last season along with Harry Kane.

What’s next?

Both sides are next in action on Sunday, with leaders Madrid visiting Sevilla in the LaLiga and Chelsea meeting Crystal Palace in a FA Cup semi-final showdown.

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