35 mins: N’Golo Kante tries a shot from distance goal sends the ball drifting high and harmlessly wide of the Real goal.
33 mins: Dani Carvajal starts a move deep inside his own half and tries to finish with a side-footed effort on goal from six yards. Mendy saves unconvincingly and Andreas Christensen hacks the ball clear. Chelsea are on the ropes.
30 mins: Another header – this time as Militao connects with the inswinger. He steers the ball straight into the hands of Edouard Mendy.
29 mins: A mix-up at the back for Chelsea results in Reece James giving away a very cheap corner.
28 mins: Real lead courtesy of two wonderful headed goals from Karim Benzema. Luka Modric provided the assist for the second, courtesy of a nice little dink from the inside right as Real broke upfield on a counter-attack.
26 mins: The Chelsea supporters behind Thibaut Courtois’s goal scream for a penalty as Kai Havertz goes to ground under a “challenge” from Casemiro. French referee Clement Turpin is having none of it – the charitable view would suggest Havertz fell over.
Benzema heads home a second! Real Madrid double their lead, with their French striker guiding a glorious header across the face of goal and inside the far post while leaning backwards to reach the cross.
23 mins: Toni Kroos is on the floor again, holding his shin after coming out second best from a tussle with Jorginho. Play resumes quickly.
What a header! Karim Benzema sends Real Madrid in front with a splendid effort into the top corner from 12 yards after getting on the end of a Vinicius Junior pull-back.
20 mins: Mason Mount tries to head a ball from deep across the face of the Real goal but nods the ball straight into the hands of Courtois.
18 mins: Thibaut Courtois continues to get booed any time the ball comes his way. Antonio Rudiger gets booked for a foul on Federico Valverde just inside the Chelsea half.
14 mins: The first quarter hour has flown by, with neither team asserting dominance. From a Chelsea free-kick, Eder Militao is booked for a crowd on a Kai Havertz just outside the Real penalty area.
He was in a real panic as the German got the run on him and wrestled him to the ground. Reece James takes the free-kick and his low curler brings a fairly straightforward save out of Courtois.
12 mins: There’s been a goal in the game between Villarreal and Bayern Munich – but for whoDaniel Harris?
11 mins: Chelsea corner. Mason Mount, looking like a drowned rat in the pouring rain, fails to clear the first man.
10 minutes: Andreas Christensen slips and Vinicius Junior thumps the ball against the cross-bar after receiving a deft backheel from Karim Benzema. He should have scored!
9 mins: Mason Mount wins the ball in midfield and plays it wide to Reece James on the right touchline. Real Madrid wins it back immediately.
7 mins: A rather frenetic start is interrupted by an N’Golo Kante bodycheck on Toni Kroos in the centre-circle. Free-kick for Real Madrid as the German goes to ground holding his hip and winning.
4 mins: N’Golo Kante wins the ball halfway inside his own half and plays it forward for Kai Havertz to chase. He advances, then cuts inside Eder Militao before shooting high and wide.
3 mins: Real enjoy a spell of possession and play the ball back towards Thibaut Courtois. The former Chelsea goalkeeper is mercilessly jeered by the home fans, as he was when his name was read out by the stadium announcer before kick-off.
1 min: Chelsea get the ball rolling and it is sent wafting towards the right touchline. Mason Mount whips an excellent cross into the Real Madrid penalty area, where Dani Carvajal does just enough to prevent Christian Pulisic from sweeping home. A great start by the hosts.
Not long now: It’s has been bucketing down at Stamford Bridge, where the players of both sides are out on the pitch going through the last of the pre-match formalities. They line up either side of French referee Clement Turpin and his team of match officials ahead of the Champions League anthem, which is drowned out by noise from the stands.
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Chelsea: Mendy, Christensen, Thiago Silva, Rudiger, James, Kante, Jorginho, Azpilicueta, Mount, Pulisic, Havertz.
Subs: Arrizabalaga, Alonso, Kovacic, Lukaku, Werner, Loftus-Cheek, Bettinelli, Chalobah, Saul, Ziyech, Kenedy, Sarr.
Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Eder Militao, Alaba, Mendy, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Junior.
Subs: Vallejo, Nacho, Asensio, Marcelo, Lunin, Lucas, Bale, Ceballos, Rodrygo, Mariano, Camavinga, Fuidias.
Referee: Clement Turpin (France)
Tonight’s match officials
- Referee: Clement Turpin
- Referee’s assistants: Nicolas Danos and Cyril Gringore
- Fourth official: Francois Letexier
- Video Assistant Referee: Jerome Brisard
Thibaut Courtois: As Carlo Ancelotti didn’t fly in to London until today after posting a negative Covid test, he was unavailable for his media duties yesterday.
His son and assistant Davide had been expected to take his place on the touchline tonight, although his lack of a Uefa Pro License may have ruled him out. Chelsea old boy Thibaut Courtois was on hand to talk up Real Madrid’s chances.
“Last season’s tie was different,” he said of Real’s exit a year ago. “There were no fans and it was at the semi-final stage. This is a new season, it’s the first leg of the quarter-finals and we’re all feeling really good and know what’s at stake. We’ll be giving our all to win the game. If we produce the right levels of intensity, we’re capable of winning.”
Thomas Tuchel: “The Champions League is terribly hard all the time,” said Chelsea’s manager during his pre-match press conference. “It’s challenging and demanding of course. But at the same time is what we love. We can deal with it, but it’s what we choose and love. This is what we deal with. It’s nice to have these kinds of experiences.”
“We should be very aware that teams with this kind of quality, flair and experience can produce a special occasion. For us, it’s also a special occasion and it’s why we feel pretty excited. We want to prove a point to ourselves tomorrow. The occasion is special and the opponent is special. That is why we are excited.”
A stone in Real’s shoe: That’s how Chelsea were described in today’s edition of the Spanish sports daily Marca, given the difficulties Real endured against them in their previous encounters.
Chelsea beat Real in last season’s Champions League semi-final and have never lost to their Spanish visitors in – you’d have thought there would be more – five previous encounters dating back to 1971.
Ben Chilwell remains a long-term absentee for CHelsea and is unlikely to feature again this season, while Callum Hudson-Odoi is unlikely to play tonight as he’s nursing a couple of different injuries to his back and achilles. Christian Pulisic is back in contention for a place in the starting line-up after being rested over the weekend following his late return from international duty with the USA.
The return to fitness of Reece James could prompt Thomas Tuchel to switch to a back three, with James and Marcos Alonso operating as wing-backs. Ruben Loftus-Cheek may make way from the side that lost against Brentford for Mateo Kovacic or Jorginho.
Eden Hazard is out for Real Madrid after undergoing potentially season-ending surgery and will not be reunited with his former Chelsea team-mates. Isco, Miguel Gutierrez and Luka Jovic are also sidelined for Los Blancos.
Chelsea host Real Madrid in the first leg of a mouthwatering quarter-final match-up that is nigh on impossible to call. The reigning champions booked their place in the last eight with a fairly straightforward win over Lille, while Real Madrid advanced courtesy of a commendable comeback against serial Champions League chokers Paris Saint-Germain. A comeback that was simultaneously surprising and monotonously predictable.
Having missed Real’s weekend La Liga win over Celta Vigo, Carlo Ancelotti returns to his old stomping ground, arriving the day after his team having finally tested negative for Covid after several days of trying.
Kick-off at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea got absolutely beaten by Brentford on Saturday, is at 8pm (BST). Stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.