Chelsea reached the Champions League final after a 2-0 win over Real Madrid on Wednesday completed a 3-1 aggregate victory in the semi-final.
Thomas Tuchel’s side will meet Manchester City in Istanbul after a fully deserved triumph at Stamford Bridge, secured through Timo Werner and Mason Mount.
Werner overcame the sting of his own missed opportunities early Wednesday. Ben Chilwell set up his go-ahead goal early on, but Werner was called offside.
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In the 28th minute, his timing was more ideal. Kai Havertz flicked a shot over Thibaut Courtois. The ball bounced off the crossbar and Werner arrived to head it into the net.
Real Madrid certainly threatened. But goalkeeper Edouard Mendy anchored Chelsea’s defense.
Chelsea squandered opportunities to put the match out of reach, but in the waning minutes, Pulisic paused by the endline and picked out Mount, who didn’t miss the chance to propel Chelsea back to the final for the first time in nearly 10 years.
Zinedine Zidane’s men looked out of sorts in a makeshift 3-4-3, even with captain Sergio Ramos and former Chelsea star Eden Hazard back in the side, as their winless record against the Premier League club stretched to five matches.
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Madrid had never beaten Chelsea in four previous European meetings coming into this match and had not won in four consecutive away games against English sides in the competition.
It seemed the omens had weighed on the visitors as they failed to create anything meaningful beyond the first-half openings for Benzema, with the players looking uncomfortable in Zidane’s system.
Chelsea, by contrast, were diligent and energetic and fully deserved to reach a third Champions League final.
No messing from Mendy
Mendy made four saves as Chelsea faced four shots on target in the first half of a Champions League game for the first time since October 2017 against Roma.
His two from Benzema were exceptional and helped to put his side in a commanding position at the break – one they did not relinquish.
Zidane loses Midas touch
Zidane guided Madrid to three consecutive trophies in this competition and oversaw an impressive defeat of Liverpool in the previous round.
However, his back-three set-up here, somewhat enforced by injury problems, was vulnerable to Chelsea’s breaks throughout and seemed to stifle Hazard, Benzema and Vinicius Junior.
Chelsea face something of a warm-up act for the final when they meet Pep Guardiola’s City in the Premier League on Saturday. Madrid’s LaLiga title battle resumes against fellow contenders Sevilla.