Don’t be fooled by the relatively close aggregate scoreline: in reality, Chelsea thrashed Real over two legs. Chelsea’s players were fitter, faster and stronger, whilst Thomas Tuchel out-coached Zinedine Zidane. In the end, Sergio Ramos was puffing like a pub player, and sank to his knees as Mason Mount scored Chelsea’s second goal – it was a beautiful sight.
Only the excellence of Real keeper Thibaut Courtois – a former Chelsea player of course – gave the Spanish team a sniff. Real’s other Chelsea alumnus, Eden Hazard, barely featured; “Are you Eden, or Eden’s brother?”
In many ways, this semi-final mirrored the Man City v PSG one, i.e. a Premier League team showing just how far the rest of Europe’s top leagues have fallen behind. Very far.
On this evidence, PSG and Real’s players have been spoiled in their domestic leagues, and they can’t cope when they meet a team that has been hardened in a genuinely competitive league. Watching both PSG and Real’s players realise this was quite something – they looked utterly powerless.
3 – Manchester City vs Chelsea will be the third all-English UEFA Champions League final after 2008 (Chelsea vs Man Utd) and 2019 (Liverpool vs Spurs). Only Spain have had as many same-nation finals (2000, 2014 & 2016). Familiar. #UCL pic.twitter.com/DocTBm4bBh
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 5, 2021
“I can’t put into words. Great performance tonight,” Mount said after the game.
“It was a tough, tough game. They’re going to come and give it everything but we worked hard. We should’ve probably had about five! But the most important thing is we won tonight. We want to go into every game winning it.”
“We deserved to win,” Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said. “The first half was difficult, they had a lot of possession and made us suffer, but every ball from us was dangerous. We were dangerous with counter attacks. We never lost the hunger, the desire to defend.
“It is a fantastic achievement and big congratulations to the team. To hang in there, even if you miss big chances, you never lose focus. It was a huge performance. I am very happy that we achieved this.
“I am very grateful to have the opportunity to live my life in football. This passion as a profession, I am more than grateful. It is not done yet, we want to go all the way, we arrive in Istanbul to win!”
Man of the match: N’Golo ‘Two Lungs’ Kante (Chelsea) – supernaturally impressive again.