Real Madrid 2-3 Chelsea (aet, 5-4 agg): Benzema's header seals semi-final spot
Karim Benzema's extra-time goal put Real Madrid into the Champions League semi-finals despite a 3-2 defeat to holders Chelsea on Tuesday.
Goals from Mason Mount, Antonio Rudiger and Timo Werner overturned Real Madrid’s 3-1 advantage from the first leg last week, but Rodrygo’s sublime volley forced the tie into extra time.
Benzema, who scored a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge, had the final say, though, thundering home a header six minutes into extra time to seal a 5-4 aggregate victory.
Carlo Ancelotti's side will now face either Atletico Madrid or Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola’s side holding a 1-0 lead from the first leg.
Chelsea's strong start was rewarded in the 15th minute when Mount curled past Thibaut Courtois from just inside the penalty area after latching onto Werner's nudged ball forward.
Madrid struggled to break Chelsea's stubborn backline down in the first half, with Ancelotti's men going in at the break without a shot on target to their name.
Chelsea levelled the tie on aggregate six minutes into the second half, Rudiger planting a powerful header past Courtois from Mount's cross.
Alonso thought he had edged Chelsea in front 11 minutes later when he thumped into the top corner from eight yards, yet his effort was ruled out for handball following a VAR check.
Benzema crashed a header against the crossbar soon after, before Werner put Chelsea ahead on aggregate in the 75th minute with a strike that proved too hot for Courtois to handle.
Madrid clawed their way back into the tie with 10 minutes remaining, though, as Rodrygo, who had only been on the pitch for two minutes, steered a superb volley past Edouard Mendy from Luka Modric's breathtaking pass.
That set the stage for Benzema's decisive goal in additional time, the France international heading past Mendy from 10 yards out following fine work down the left by Vinicius Junior.
What does it mean? Madrid draw on experience to fight back
At 29 years and 293 days, the average age of Madrid's starting XI was their oldest ever in a Champions League game and it showed for the first 75 minutes as Chelsea dominated.
As is so often the case, though, the talismanic figure of Benzema popped up to help Ancelotti reach the last four of the Champions League for the eighth time – the joint-most by a coach in the competition's history, alongside Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.
After a stunning display at Stamford Bridge last week, Benzema was once again the star man as Madrid broke Chelsea hearts.
The 34-year-old's header was his 12th Champions League goal of the season – a total only bettered by Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski – while he now has seven goals in three games in the competition.
Mount can consider himself unlucky to be on the losing side after a stellar display.
His fine early strike made him just one of two English players to score 20 goals or more and provide at least 20 assists (21 goals, 22 assists) for a Premier League side in all competitions since the start of last season alongside Harry Kane.
Key Opta facts
- Madrid have reached the semi-final of the European Cup/Champions League for the 31st time, at least 11 more than any other side.
- Chelsea are just the second team in all European club competitions to play more than once away to Madrid and not lose (W1 D1), alongside Club Brugge (D2).
- Benzema scored his 13th Champions League goal against English opposition, making him the outright second-highest scorer against Premier League sides in the competition behind Lionel Messi (27).
- Chelsea became just the second English team to score three goals away against Los Blancos in all European competition, after Manchester United did so in a 3-3 draw in the European Cup in May 1968.
Both sides are next in action on Sunday, with leaders Madrid visiting Sevilla in LaLiga and Chelsea facing Crystal Palace in an FA Cup semi-final clash.