Real Madrid concede a draw (1-1) against Chelsea after falling behind in the semi-final first leg of the Champions League.

After a first period of high flight and a second act much duller, Real Madrid and Chelsea parted back to back in this semi-final first leg of the Champions League (1-1), Tuesday, April 27. Saved by a Karim Benzema from the great evenings, the Madrilenians are doing well. Opposite, the Blues, authors of an impressive start to the game, may harbor some regrets but are on a favorable waiver before the return match at home on Wednesday 5 May.

Under an unusual downpour in Madrid’s skies, Real Madrid first took to the water against Chelsea. Deprived of Sergio Ramos and Ferland Mendy, the White House of Zidane gave in everywhere in the face of the Blues waves which broke from the first minutes. By confiscating the ball and pressing very high the Madrilenians, Chelsea quickly took control of the match before placing their first banderillas. Luckily for Real, Londoners’ German center-forward Timo Werner is just as clumsy as ever. And he has shown it three times, notably spoiling an offering from Pulisic, alone, against goal (9th). So on the next move, the American preferred to play it on his own, well he took it. Served deep in the surface by a caviar from Rüdiger, Pulisic bypassed the great arms of Thibaut Courtois before hitting the empty goal after his solo number (0-1, 13th).

But this season, more than ever, Zidane’s crew can count on a captain: Karim Benzema. Even without the armband (on Marcelo’s arm), the Frenchman single-handedly raised Real’s head. After a left-footed torpedo from elsewhere crashed into the post, Benzema took advantage of a two-step corner to score a marvel: a chisel returned after a header check. Magic (1-1, 28th). His 71st C1 goal, as much as Madrid legend Raul, making him the fourth highest scorer in the history of the competition. Rejuvenated by this gem, Real finished the first act better and Toni Kroos almost translated it on the scoreboard of a beautiful roll (31st).

On returning from the locker room, Real Madrid and Chelsea unfortunately confirmed an old adage: after the storm comes calm. Apart from yet another opportunity wasted by Werner put into orbit by Kanté and a wet firecracker from Benzema that flew to the clouds, nothing was seen for a long time. Blame it on a suddenly much more cautious Chelsea side, and Real Madrid at a loss for ideas. So Zidane threw Eden Hazard, back from injury, while Tuchel attempted a tactical move with a large on-time roster review.

Well seen from the former Parisian coach, as the entries of Ziyech, Havertz and James re-energized the meeting. The Madrileños, for their part, toughened things up, like Varane’s buffer on Havertz and Casemiro’s tackle on Ziyech. The latter was the only one to light up the end of the match, but with too little conviction in his attempts. At a trot, both teams waited for the final whistle, although Chelsea looked slightly more ambitious. In vain. Before the return match, Wednesday, May 5, in London, everything remains to be done even if the Blues take an option.

Real Madrid-Chelsea: coaches duel, Blues in force… The five things to know before the semi-final