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Real Madrid vs Chelsea, score, result, video, highlights

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Karim Benzema came to Real Madrid’s rescue again, his acrobatic volley earning them a 1-1 draw against an impressive Chelsea side in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.

Christian Pulisic grabbed Chelsea an away goal in a soaking wet contest at Valdebebas but Madrid will be satisfied too, after recovering from a chastening opening half an hour before Benzema’s brilliance left the tie in the balance.

Eden Hazard was given 24 minutes off the bench against his former club but despite some twinkling touches, he was unable to add a late twist.

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By the time the Belgian entered the contest, it was drifting, the early adrenaline lost, with both teams seemingly content to defer to the return leg at Stamford Bridge.

Benzema’s goal was his 71st in the Champions League, making him the joint-fourth top scorer in the competition’s history with Raul, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski.

When Real Madrid were suffering, and in the absence of Sergio Ramos, who was shouting from the stands, Benzema was the one dragging his team back into this match, at times through sheer force of will.

With Chelsea’s $A82 million man Timo Werner still struggling for confidence, and missing good chances again here, the Frenchman’s precision at the other end could yet prove the difference.

These two teams were both among the Super League’s ‘Dirty Dozen’, with Madrid president Florentino Perez, the face and voice of the breakaway project, watching on at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium.

Chelsea and Real even after 1st leg | 01:48

Despite stirring scenes of protests outside Premier League stadiums last weekend, Real Madrid’s — admittedly remote — training ground was untouched by any sign of discontent with the club.

And there was no Real Madrid revolt against UEFA either, with the Champions League anthem ringing out as normal and the stadium announcer loyally declaring: “The UEFA Champions League brings together the best teams in Europe.”

Chelsea were electric in the first half an hour, their passing slicker and their movement quicker than Madrid, who were unable to keep up.

Werner should have scored when Mason Mount’s clipped ball to the back post was headed across by Pulisic but he missed from six yards, his volley blocked by the right leg of Thibaut Courtois.

But Chelsea’s dominance was such that another chance never felt far away, in the 14th minute Pulisic taking advantage.

Antonio Rudiger was given time to float a delightful ball over the top for the darting American, whose first touch took him left but he recovered his poise, nipping past Courtois and firing between Marcelo and Raphael Varane on the line.

Chelsea were rampant but as the rain began to pour, Madrid found a way back. Benzema led the resistance, one shot from distance shaving the post before another from close drew Madrid level.

A short corner worked its way to Marcelo on the edge of the area and his cross was headed back in via Casemiro and Eder Militao. Benzema, with his back to goal and surrounded by blue shirts, tamed the ball with his forehead before throwing his body into the air and volleying in before his markers could react.

Marcelo and Jorginho were both guilty of sloppy passes early in the second half but neither Werner nor Benzema could capitalise.

And for 20 minutes the game drifted, both sides nervous of opening up. Four substitutes came on just after the hour, Hazard and Kai Havertz among them.

Hazard was making his third appearance in three months.

But Benzema’s shot was blocked, Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick curled into the hands of Courtois and a late Madrid cross flashed past the far post. A draw was a fair result.

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Transfer news, rumours, Manchester United, Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland, Donny van de Beek, Jose Mourinho

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Former Tottenham coach Jose Mourinho could offer an escape route for Manchester United outcast Donny van de Beek, per reports.

Mourinho agreed a three-year contract with Roma on Wednesday and will replace their current boss Paulo Fonseca at the end of this season.

The 58-year-old was ranked among the world’s top managers after winning the Champions League at Porto and Inter Milan, while enjoying domestic glory with Chelsea and Real Madrid.

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Liverpool pip Saints as CL race heats up | 01:29

Mourinho hopes a return to Italy can revive his career in the same way he rejuvenated Inter Milan from 2008 to 2010.

It is not just his career though that could be reinvigorated by the move, with reports suggesting Mourinho is looking to offer van de Beek a lifeline.

Van de Beek has struggled for game time in his first season in England after making the switch from Ajax to Manchester United for £40 million ($A71m).

Calciomercato reports Mourinho will look to convince Van de Beek to make the move with his future at United unclear, stuck behind other first-team regulars.

The Sun though reports that United are adamant Van de Beek will stay put and will push back against approaches from rivals, instead insisting his time will come.

UNITED’S $143M TOP TARGET

Speaking of Manchester United, the Red Devils are reportedly preparing an £80 million ($A143m) bid for Jadon Sancho.

It comes after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was understood to have made the Borussia Dortmund star his top target for the summer.

United were heavily linked to Sancho last summer but could not strike a deal after failing to meet Dortmund’s £100m valuation.

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Chelsea deny City early Premier League | 01:27

The Daily Star though reports that United are “eyeing a big-money swoop” for Sancho as a bid for Erling Haaland would just cost too much.

Sancho told ESPN on Saturday he was not sure what his future looked like amid the interest.

“I don’t know about my future,” he said after a 3-2 loss to RB Leipzig.

“I am very happy here in Dortmund at the moment. I love the club, the fans and the team.

“They gave me my first professional start. The fans motivate and push me to the limit.”

United are reported to be in the race for Haaland alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea, per Sky Sports.

Dortmund though will not sell him for less than £150m ($A267m) even if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.

A source toldSky Sportsthere will be a war if Dortmund finish outside the Champions League places.

NEYMAR EXTENDS WITH PSG

Elsewhere, speculation over Neymar’s future is over after he signed a contract extension that will see him stay at Paris Saint-Germain until the end of the 2024-2025 season.

The Brazil attacker said he had “grown as a person, as a human being” since joining the club in 2017 from Barcelona for 222 million euros ($270 million) in what remains the most expensive transfer in history.

“I’m really pleased to continue my adventure at Paris Saint-Germain,” the 29-year-old said in a club statement after extending his contract until June 30, 2025.

“I’m very happy in Paris, and proud to be part of this squad, to work with these players, a great coach and to be part of the history of this club.

Chelsea deny City early Premier League | 01:27

“I have grown as a person here, as a human being and as a player, too. So I am very happy to extend my contract and I hope to win many more trophies here.”

Neymar has claimed three Ligue 1 titles and two French Cups with PSG, but the major honour that he was bought by the Qatari-owned club to win, the Champions League, continues to prove elusive.

He helped PSG to reach last season’s final where they were beaten by Bayern Munich but the club’s chances of reaching the final again were ended by Manchester City on Tuesday — and Neymar was ineffectual in the 2-0 semi-final second-leg defeat in England.

Aguero’s panenka penalty fail | 00:26

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Ryan Mason speaks out on Tottenham top-four hopes as boss fumes at VAR after Leeds loss

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Ryan Mason fumed at VAR after Tottenham were beaten 3-1 by Leeds, dashing their top-four hopes.

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Jurgen Klopp makes honest Man Utd admission as Liverpool boss sets Champions League task

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits the Reds must win four from four to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

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