Real Madrid knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League quarterfinals after Karim Benzema scored the decisive goal in the first half of extra time as the game finished on 5-4 in the favour of the hosts.
However, Chelsea came all guns blazing at the Bernabeu as Mason Mount reduced the deficit in the 15th minute. The Blues took a 1-0 lead into the halftime and on returning Antonio Rudiger doubled the tally. Timo Werner also joined the party later on in the 75th minute. But a timely goal from Rodrygo following Luka Modric’s heroics forced extra time. There in the first half, Karim Benzema scored the decisive goal to kill the tie and help Los Blancos progress to the last four of the tournament.
Despite the defeat Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel lavished a praise on how his team played and showed tremendous character. But he singled out one player amongst all of them. Tuchel heaped praises on Antonio Rudiger who did almost everything and even scored a goal but simply could not get them over the line.
“Toni (Rudiger) was outstanding. It was a world-class performance in all belongings. It is what he does on an extremely high level,” Tuchel told Metro.
“It is his mentality and focus, and leadership all combined. It is outstanding. This is another example of what he can do after another. That’s it,” Tuchel added.
Despite the result, Rudiger highlighted the positive and shared how he was impressed with the way the team did not give up and coming to Madrid he feels not many teams can play like they did. He also shared the mistakes that they did and got punished.
“The positive is we didn’t give up. Not many teams can come and dominate them as we did. But over the two legs, if you make these kinds of mistakes like we did, you get punished.
“The game plan was to find our number 10s. To find the space. We found it and got the goal. We didn’t panic. In the second half, we did everything we could but over the two legs, as I said, you make these mistakes you get punished.
He shared how not many people thought they could be 3-0 up in Madrid but they proved them wrong. Rudiger lastly credited Modric and Benzema and felt that it was their individual brilliance that took away the tie from the Blues.
“It was a do or die for us. I think before the game not everybody thought we would have the 3-0. For them, the individual class comes to light with Modric and Benzema.”
Chelsea can salvage some pride as they will take on Crystal Palace in the FA Semifinals this weekend.