Real set sights on Chelsea in semi-final – Napoli clueless in Milan without Osimhen

Dismissals in both games

Defending champions Real Madrid have a good chance of reaching the Champions League semi-finals. In the first leg of the quarter-finals, the record-breaking Spanish champions won 2-0 (1-0) against Chelsea on Wednesday at their home of the Santiago Bernabéu. Karim Benzema (21st minute) and Marco Asensio (74th) scored for Madrid, superior for long periods. Chelsea ended the game with a man down after Ben Chilwell saw a red card for emergency braking (59th). In the second match of the evening, AC Milan won 1-0 (1-0) against the winners of Frankfurt, SSC Naples.

At Real, coach Carlo Ancelotti included Toni Kroos in the starting XI, while German international Antonio Rüdiger came on after 71 minutes. His DFB team-mate Kai Havertz was initially only on the Chelsea bench, he entered the pitch in the 65th minute.

Chelsea got off to a good start, after a counter-attack a fine save from Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois thwarted João Félix’s possible lead for the Blues (2nd). After a lively start, coach Frank Lampard’s side are increasingly on the defensive. Real kept getting closer and finally celebrated the well-deserved 1-0 after a goal from Benzema. In return, Courtois prevented the prompt equalizer against Raheem Sterling with a nice reflex.

UEFA Champions League: Ranking quarter-finalists by market value

8 Benfica – Squad value: €313m

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7 Inter Milan – squad value: €534m

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6 AC Milan – Squad value: €547m

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5 SSC Napoli – squad value: €629m

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4 Real Madrid – squad value: €860m

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3 Bayern Munich – squad value: €980m

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2 Chelsea FC – Squad value: €1.02 billion

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1 Manchester City – Squad value: €1.05 billion

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But overall, Real were the best team, the most dangerous. Again and again, the royals have successfully used their technically sound advice. And when Chilwell had to leave the pitch for being the last defender to pull Rodrygo by the shirt, there wasn’t much left for the Blues. After a short corner, Kroos and Vinicius Junior released Asensio, who was hiding at the edge of the penalty area, and finished flat to make it 2-0. A result that Rudiger saved by throwing himself on a shot in added time. The second leg will take place next Tuesday at Stamford Bridge in London.

In the second quarter-final, Napoli failed to avenge AC Milan for a depressing 4-0 in the league. Unlike the clear home defeat on April 2, SSC coach Luciano Spalletti’s XI was partly the better team. Even outnumbered – Frank Anguissa saw the red light (74th) – the Serie A leaders still had opportunities. In the end, a goal from Ismael Bennacer (40th) gave Milan a narrow victory at home.

The guests got off to a better start in the first meeting between two Italian teams in the Champions League since 2005. After less than a minute, Chwitscha Kwarazchelia had SSC’s first chance, Davide Calabria made it clear he had a big one need just before the goal line. Napoli, who lead the domestic league with 16 points, continued to press without top scorer Victor Osimhen (adductor problems) and created a number of chances.

After 25 minutes, Rafael Leão sprinted at high speed into the visitors’ penalty area for the previously passive home side, but pushed the ball just wide of the SSC goal. Milan’s offense also relied on speed to make it 1-0, when the hosts stunned the Spalletti team on a counterattack and Bennacer finished with a powerful left-(Site notre bureau spécialisé)ed shot .

At the start of the second half, Milan coach Stefano Pioli’s side were lucky at first when goalkeeper Mike Maignan deflected a header from Eljif Elmas just past the crossbar of the Milan goal. Napoli remained the best team thereafter, the Milanese posed little danger. Despite a torrid final phase with several great chances, the guests did not score a single goal. The second leg takes place in Naples on Tuesday.

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Author: Jacqueline MANNESSIER