LONDON – In filthy conditions, and beneath a sodden blue baseball cap, Thomas Tuchel seemed a very happy man. The warmth with, which he congratulated his players as they left a sodden pitch at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano was the confirmation. An away goal and another creditable performance for Chelsea in Europe, gave the Blues an advantage – with a goalless draw during the return assuring them a third Champions League final.
Tuchel will fancy his chances, too. This was his fifth meeting with Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid’s coach, and he is yet to lose. A win and four draws is his record, and Chelsea showed on Tuesday night they have every chance of keeping that run going.
This was a fine display from a team considerably less experienced at this level than their opponents.
Madrid’s squad is the most storied and successful in the competition, yet it did not look that way on Tuesday night. Chelsea were the better side. They had the best chances, took an early lead, and were only denied by an exceptional equaliser from Karim Benzema.
Meanwhile in the second semis on Wednesday, Riyad Mahrez – captain of Algeria’s African football champion team, will be one of the key players as his Manchester City side tussle it out against Paris Saint Germain.
The player spoke to the media about his readiness for the highly anticipated game.
“I don’t know if I’m in the best shape since I’ve been here, but I think I’m good. I feel very good in the most important moment of the season.
“And, yeah, tomorrow we have to make a big game to try to win. Obviously, we don’t have big stars like (Lionel) Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo, but the level of our team is unbelievable.
“Everyone can play. Everyone can make a difference. And it’s more a collective team.”
Man City was a tournament favourite last year before lost to Olympique Lyonnais.
Mahrez says the team’s players are determined to succeed following last season’s Champions League quarter-finals disappointment.
Both Kylian Mbappé and Neymar are fit to help Paris reach a second UCL final in a row.
As is also Senegalese player Gana Gueye who had a central role in the previous round against Bayern.