Chelsea’s hopes of salvaging success from a season of abject mediocrity were ended ruthlessly by Real Madrid as the holders advanced into the Champions League semi-final at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues were always battling against the odds to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg in the Bernabeu and their cause was not helped by a familiar failing as a battling performance was undermined by missing a succession of clear chances.
N’Golo Kante missed a glorious first-half opening while Marc Cucurella was blocked by former Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois when he looked certain to reduce Real’s advantage.
The Spanish champions had moments of their own and there are few sides more adept at making opponents pay for wasted opportunities and so it proved.
A lightning counter attack led by Vinicius Junior ended with Rodrygo putting the tie to bed with a close-range finish just before the hour
The Brazilian forward then walked in the second after brilliant, unselfish work by Federico Valverde with 10 minutes left.
Carlo Ancelotti’s quest for an historic fifth win as a coach in this tournament will continue with a semi-final against either Bayern Munich or Manchester City while Chelsea’s interim manager Frank Lampard, who now has four defeats from four games, must somehow lift the grim mood of despair around the club.
AC Milan reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since winning the competition in 2007 as they saw off Serie A rivals Napoli in an incident-packed game.
Milan could face Inter Milan in the last four, with their city rivals going into Wednesday’s second leg with Benfica holding a 2-0 lead.
Serie A champions-elect Napoli dominated early on – but Milan won a penalty with one of their first attacks, although Olivier Giroud’s spot-kick was saved by Alex Meret.
The veteran Frenchman got the opening goal, though, when he tapped in following a sensational 70-yard run by Rafael Leao to set him up. That made it 2-0 on aggregate.
Napoli were gifted a way back into the game when Fikayo Tomori handled in the box, but Mike Maignan saved Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s penalty.
They did eventually score, through a Victor Osimhen header with seconds remaining in injury time, but there was not enough time to create another chance.
Napoli, 14 points clear of Lazio at the top of the league table, have lost form at a critical time and failed to take a host of chances, with 39 efforts across both legs.