MADRID: The Champions League duel between Super League failures Real Madrid and Chelsea is wide open after a 1-1 draw in the semi-final first leg in the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano.
Christian Pulisic’s fine strike handed Chelsea an early lead but Karim Benzema’s brlliant equaliser earned the draw quarter of an hour later.
Pulisic became the first man to score past former Chelsea stopper Thibaut Courtois in six hours and 44 minutes, as the Blues enjoyed a stellar opening.
The ex-RB Leipzig striker was unable to convert another big opening, failing to connect with Pulisic’s cross.
Benzema produced the first threat for Real however, thundering a 20-yard effort against a post.
The French striker then conjured an equaliser of the highest quality just before the half hour, cushioning a header to himself six yards out – then flashing a snap volley past the helpless Edouard Mendy.
With Chelsea’s scoreboard dominance cancelled out in one stellar moment, Tuchel’s unperturbed men set about taking the game to Madrid once more.
Had Werner connected with Pulisic’s teasing cross, Chelsea would have taken the lead again.
The Germany forward still found time to screw a shot wide of the near post when Mason Mount was lurking in the centre of the box.
The scores stayed locked at 1-1 at the break, with both sides showing signs of fatigue in a circumspect third quarter.
Marcelo’s yellow card for a professional foul on the marauding Pulisic just past the hour allowed Madrid to send in ex-Chelsea talisman Hazard, on for Vinicius Junior.
Chelsea sent Reece James, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz into the fray, with both managers determined to wrestle control of the tie in heavy rain.
Real switched to a back four for the closing 15 minutes and were almost caught out straight away, with Raphael Varane felling Havertz and earning a yellow card for his troubles.
Ziyech angled the resulting free-kick on goal, but Courtois saved comfortably.