Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema scored a sensational hat-trick as Real Madrid won 3-1 at Chelsea to take a firm grip on their Champions League quarter-final tie.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side were a totally different side from the one that visited Stamford Bridge last season in the semi-final of the same competition and will feel confident ahead of the return leg at the Santiago Bernabeu next week.

Benzema was the tormentor-in-chief at the Bridge, scoring two goals in two minutes in the first half before completing his hat-trick early in the second period.

Kai Havertz, who has become a big-game player for Thomas Tuchel’s side go the consolation for the London club.

The match got off to an intriguing start, with Chelsea looking to assert their dominance in the opening quarter of an hour.

It was the Spanish side though who came close to taking the lead after just 10 minute when Vinicius Jr received a neat ball inside the box, but his effort bounced off the woodwork with Edouard Mendy beaten in goal.

Chelsea then got a chance in the 15th minute when Havertz was brought down on the edge of the box, with Reece James testing Thibaut Courtois in goal with a ferocious shot.

Madrid kept knocking and their efforts finally paid off in the 21st minute when in-form Benzema and Vinicius Jr played a one-two with the former brilliantly heading home for the opener.

It took only two minutes for Madrid to double their lead, and it was the Frenchman again with a brilliant header, this time getting to the end of a Luka Modric floated ball.

A minute later Havertz went down inside the box, but the referee could hear none of it as he waved play on.

With five minutes to half-time, Chelsea got a lifeline when Havertz got on to a perfect Jorginho cross inside the box to powerfully head home, beating Courtois from women yards out.

Thomas Tuchel made a chance at half-time, withdrawing Christensen for Hakim Ziyech and ditched the three-man defense for a back-four.

A minute into the second period, the Blues conceded a third goal in a moment of madness from Edouard Mendy, whose poor ball to Antonio Rudger was intercepted by Benzema, who gleefully found the net from mid-range with a first time effort for his hat-trick.

Despite going down 3-1, Chelsea kept attacking and came close to finding the back of the net on a number of occasions.

One such chance fell to Romelu Lukaku in the 69th minute, but he failed to find the target from a few yards out, sending his effort inches of the right post.

Reece James, Mason Mount, and Ziyech all got chances late on, but none could score as Madrid left London with a healthy lead ahead of next week’s return leg.


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