Chelsea’s hopes of completing a miraculous Champions League comeback fell apart after they could only manage a 3-2 victory at Real Madrid after extra-time.
Los Blancos threw away their two-goal advantage before striking late on to extend the tie for another 30 minutes, during which Karim Benzema stepped up again to send them into the semi-finals at the expense of the holders with a 5-4 aggregate win.
The reigning European champions took the lead on the night after 15 minutes when Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Timo Werner combined before slipping through Mason Mount, and the midfielder lashed a fierce effort beyond Courtois to give the visitors some hope.
Real Madrid’s attackers were struggling to get on the same wavelength, with Vinicius Junior getting himself into good positions in the channels before giving the ball away under little pressure on several occasions.
A speculative half-volley from Benzema struck Thiago Silva’s shoulder and looped over the bar before Casemiro fired over as Real’s frustrations continued, heading into the break only one goal ahead on aggregate.
Tuchel’s men continued their dominance after the break with Reece James’ strike deflecting behind off of Luka Modric, and Antonio Rudiger scored from the resulting corner, thumping a header into the far corner to level the aggregate score.
A low cross from Ferland Mendy that just evaded Benzema finally brought the Bernabeu crowd to their feet as Real looked to go ahead once more.
Federico Valverde nearly brought the mid-renovated roof off the place with a whipped volley from range, narrowly sailing over.
And Real thought they had been made to pay when Chelsea went down the other end immediately and scored. N’Golo Kante and Marcos Alonso led a quick counter-attack, with Dani Carvajal blocking the Spaniard’s initial shot but he could do nothing to stop the wicked rebound from the Blues left-back.
However, replays showed that Carvajal’s block bounced onto Alonso’s hand before his second strike and the goal was chalked off.
Benzema headed onto the bar at the other end, before Werner conclusively found Chelsea’s third of the night. The German ran onto Mateo Kovacic’s lovely through ball and sat Casemiro and David Alaba on their backsides before his deflected shot trickled past Courtois.
The lanky Belgian threw up a strong hand to deny the Blues their fourth when Havertz rose highest from a corner, and Real levelled the tie through substitute Rodrygo moments later. Modric’s curled ball over the top fell perfectly to the Brazilian, stroking home with a superb volley.
Christian Pulisic squandered two huge chances to steal the win in stoppage time but twice fired just wide and a back-and-forth second leg went to extra-time.
Real Madrid re-took the aggregate lead after 96 minutes when they caught Chelsea sleeping, with Vinicius crossing for Benzema to score his third header of the tie, rising above Rudiger who slipped at a costly time.
Hakim Ziyech lashed a fierce strike towards Courtois’ near post with seven minutes remaining but the former Blues stopper was equal to it, and Kai Havertz’s free header from a pinpoint James cross went agonisingly off target.
A dragged strike from Jorginho after Real failed to clear a corner was Chelsea’s final half-chance, as Carlo Ancelotti’s men held on to walk away as the victors from a classic Champions League tie.
Here are your player ratings…
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – 5/10 – Was hardly imposing given his stature and nearly fired clearances straight into Havertz on three occasions.
Dani Carvajal (RB) – 7/10 – Wasn’t horrendous despite the roaming presence of Alonso. Filled in well at centre-back, too.
Nacho Fernandez (CB) – 5/10 – Not actually too bad given the inept defending going on around him.
David Alaba (CB) – 4/10 – Deary me, the Austrian will not want to watch this clumsy performance back.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – 3/10 – Useless at both ends of the pitch. Hauled off for Marcelo.
Casemiro (DM) – 5/10 – Provided little security in midfield and was hooked for goalscorer Rodrygo.
Luka Modric (CM) – 8/10 – Didn’t dominate the game but he picked and chose his moments, notably creating Rodrygo’s tie-leveller.
Toni Kroos (CM) – 3/10 – Couldn’t keep up with Loftus-Cheek and was constantly harried out of possession. Subbed with 73 minutes on the clock.
Federico Valverde (RW) – 5/10 – All over the place no matter which position he was playing in.
Karim Benzema (CF) – 9/10 – Isolated for a lot of the night but looked as dangerous as ever when he did have the ball.
Vinicius Junior (LW) – 6/10 – Looked like the Vinicius of old – wasteful and playing with his head down – until he turned on the afterburners in extra-time.
Eduardo Camavinga (73′, CM for Kroos) – 7/10 – Brought much-needed urgency to the midfield.
Marcelo (78′, LB for Mendy) – 6/10 – Was far more useful than Mendy.
Rodrygo (78′, RW for Casemiro) – 8/10 – What an impact. Job done.
Lucas Vazquez (88′, RB for Nacho) – 6/10
Dani Ceballos (115′, CM for Vinicius) – N/A
Edouard Mendy (GK) – 6/10 – Not much he could do about either goal.
Reece James (RB) – 6/10 – Booked after just 10 minutes for a foul on the edge of his own area. A testing first-half but was much more comfortable afterwards.
Thiago Silva (CB) – 5/10 – Looked rather wily throughout, again.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) – 7/10 – So close to a supreme performance, with his extra-time slip ultimately costing his side. Was otherwise phenomenal on what could have created great leverage for his contract negotiations.
Marcos Alonso (LB) – 7/10 – Real Madrid didn’t really have a solution to stop Alonso other than hope Carvajal got lucky every now and then.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CM) – 7/10 – Where did this performance come from? Used his physicality to bulldoze his way through the Real Madrid midfield, making mincemeat of Casemiro and Kroos.
N’Golo Kante (CM) – 5/10 – Swept up well but was loose in possession. Sacrificed to bring on another attacker in Ziyech.
Mateo Kovacic (CM) – 7/10 – Had real joy driving and weaving his way across a pitch that he used to call his home.
Mason Mount (AM) – 8/10 – Chelsea’s glue guy stood up when his team needed him once again. A well-earned goal and assist.
Kai Havertz (CF) – 5/10 – Had some neat touches and dribbles but didn’t look like taking the game by the scruff of the neck.
Timo Werner (CF) – 8/10 – A constant thorn in Real Madrid’s side, fully deserving of his goal. The hosts would have been glad to see him being substituted.
Christian Pulisic (83′, CF for Werner) – 6/10 – Came on and was busy, but decidedly wasteful.
Hakim Ziyech (99′, AM for Kante) – 5/10
Saul Niguez (106′, CM for Loftus-Cheek) – 5/10
Jorginho (106′, CM for Kovacic) – 5/10