Chelsea’s stint as European champions ended in heartache despite defeating Real Madrid on a dramatic night at the Bernabeu Stadium.
Mason Mount’s spectacular finish and Antonio Rudiger’s powerful header erased Real Madrid’s 3-1 first-leg lead and levelled the quarter-final game in Spain’s capital.
Thomas Tuchel’s team was excellent throughout, and Timo Werner’s superb goal from an angle put them ahead on aggregate for the first time and within sight of a spot in the semi-finals.
But, following a fantastic ball from Luka Modric, substitute Rodrygo forced extra time with a volleyed effort, before Karim Benzema, who scored a hat-trick in the first leg at Stamford Bridge six days earlier, headed the clinching goal in the 96th minute to put Real through 5-4 on aggregate.
Benzema, who had previously headed against the crossbar on a wild night, was unmarked when he broke Chelsea’s hearts after Rudiger fell inside the area.
Even after what proved to be the game-winner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, and Jorginho came dangerously close to forcing a penalty shootout.