Top Winners, Losers After Tuesday's Champions League Semifinal Leg 1 ResultsApril 27, 2021
The Champions League semifinals kicked off on Tuesday, with Chelsea and Real Madrid playing to a 1-1 draw behind goals from Christian Pulisic and Karim Benzema.
Below, we'll break down the winners and losers from the first leg.
Winner: Christian Pulisic
The United States' footballing hero scored the crucial away goal for Chelsea, in a remarkable display of skill and composure to put the Blues ahead:
Pulisic's time at Chelsea, and under Tuchel, has been an up-and-down affair. He's shown scintillating brilliance but has struggled with injuries, often starting games on the bench under Tuchel.
But not on Tuesday. He was in the starting 11 and more than earned his place, proving why supporters of the United States men's national team continue to be excited about the future of the squad.
There's little doubt that the 22-year-old has enormous potential and a bright future. Turns out he's pretty darn good in the present, too.
Loser: Timo Werner
Chelsea was this close to having a very early lead over Real Madrid:
That's one you have to bury, especially for the €53 million man who was expected to lead the line with aplomb for Chelsea. His debut season hasn't exactly gone to plan, however.
Ultimately, his inability to convert that golden chance didn't hurt Chelsea too badly. Presented with the same chance in the return leg, though, and you can bet Werner won't want a reprisal of Tuesday's effort. Chances aren't easy to come by against clubs of Real Madrid's stature, and Werner was bought to bury them.
Winner: Karim Benzema
Scoring goals in the Champions League is just what Benzema does, so it wasn't shocking when he got another one—a true beauty—to salvage a draw for Real Madrid Tuesday:
And he nearly had a brace:
For years, Benzema was well-respected but lived in the shadows of bigger stars like Cristiano Ronaldo. Now, if Los Blancos are to advance to the Champions League final, it will probably be on the back of Benzema.
Loser: Eden Hazard
It's been a rough two years for Eden Hazard at Real Madrid.
Once one of the brightest stars in football, Hazard has barely seen the pitch as he's dealt with injury after injury with Los Blancos. When he has been healthy, he hasn't made a huge impact. That was the case again on Tuesday when he was subbed on in the second half.
The performance wasn't great, but perhaps just seeing a healthy Hazard again out on the pitch is enough of a positive for Real Madrid:
But it will surely hurt Hazard, at least a little, that he wasn't able to make a bigger splash against his former club in Chelsea. It's just been the way of things for him during his time with Los Blancos. Perhaps in the return leg he'll shine once again.
Winner: Thomas Tuchel
Chelsea's sparkling form under Tuchel continues.
Yes, it looked like Chelsea might run away with this game in the early stages, only to see some of the wind taken out of the game's sails in the second half. But no matter—Chelsea got a much-needed away goal. They are now a win or scoreless draw away from advancing to the Champions League final.
Tuchel has the Blues moving in the right direction. There's much work to do, but Chelsea will be happier with Tuesday's result than Real Madrid.