Champions League holders Chelsea are in a precarious position after Karim Benzema’s hat-trick secured a 3-1 first-leg win for Real Madrid.
Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti tested negative for coronavirus in time to link up with his playing squad in London.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois started for Real, with captain Karim Benzema leading the forward line amid high praise from Blues boss Thomas Tuchel this week.
Todd Boehly was at Stamford Bridge to take in the match, with the US businessman locked in negotiations to buy Chelsea.
LA Dodgers part-owner Boehly and British business magnate Jonathan Goldstein head up one of the four consortiums shortlisted in the battle to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich.
Boehly has been in London for meetings with Chelsea executives and key personnel around the club, and will meet former Blues winger and anti-racism campaigner Paul Canoville on Friday.
Benzema nodded Madrid into a 1-0 lead, powering the ball into the net from Vinicius Junior’s cross.
Vinicius eluded Chelsea’s cover down the inside left, and delivered a telling cross that begged for a potent finish – that Benzema duly provided.
Benzema delivered another sumptuous header just moments later to put Real 2-0 to the good.
The France forward hung in the air long enough to ensure his delayed connection outfoxed the Blues defence and punished Thomas Tuchel’s hosts.
Kai Havertz headed Chelsea back into the contest as he cut Real’s lead to 2-1.
The Germany forward latched on to Jorginho’s astute ball into the box and nodded the Blues on to the scoresheet.
Benzema pounced on a Chelsea mistake to open the second half with his hat-trick goal.
The 34-year-old put Real 3-1 ahead after a mistake by Edouard Mendy, with Chelsea undoing all the good work from Havertz’s goal before the break.
More to follow…
The post Chelsea 1-3 Real Madrid: CL holders in tough spot after Benzema hat-trick appeared first on Football365.