By Iyinola Kunle
European champions Real Madrid beat 10-man Chelsea 2-0 in their Champions League quarterfinal, first leg courtesy of a tap-in by Karim Benzema and a powerful strike by substitute Marco Asensio in the Spanish capital on Wednesday.’
Benzema, the scourge of Chelsea at the same stage of the competition last season, converted from point blank range in the 21st minute when Kepa Arrizabalaga saved from Vinicius Junior but could only touch the ball in the direction of the Frenchman.
Chelsea went close to scoring in the first half through Joao Felix and Raheem Sterling but they were thwarted by Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois playing against his former club.
The Londoners’ chances of getting back into the game suffered a major setback in the 59th minute when Ben Chilwell was shown a straight red card for bringing down Rodrygo with a tug of the Brazilian’s shirt when he was bearing down on goal
Asensio had been on the field for just three minutes when he was fed by Vinicius on the edge of the box and the Spain international drilled in a low shot that went through the legs of Chelsea defender Wesley Fofana and beyond Kepa’s dive.
The win at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium puts the 14-time European champions in the driver’s seat ahead of the second leg at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge on April 18.