Luis Garcia has tipped Chelsea to win Real Madrid at home and book their place in the Champions League final after a ‘big battle’ between the two teams today.
Chelsea travelled to Madrid in the semi-final first leg. Christian Pulisic’s superb individual goal in the 14th minute gave Chelsea the lead at Madrid’s Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.
The Blues were on scintillating performance until Karim Benzema showed his class and experience as he beat Edouard Mendy with an unstoppable volley to equalise on the half-hour mark.
The scoreline remained at 1-1 to set up an enticing second leg in west London but Garcia feels Chelsea are ‘just too good’ and expects them to join Manchester City in an all-English final in Istanbul on May 29.
‘I still think that Chelsea have got enough and plenty to beat Real Madrid,’ Garcia – scorer of Liverpool’s infamous ‘ghost goal’ against Chelsea back in 2005 – told CBS Sports.
‘It will be a big, big battle between the two teams. Real Madrid played at the weekend against Osasuna, it wasn’t a brilliant game once again, but they managed to score another two goals later in the game.
‘They had a few chances but really struggled to create, even though [Eden] Hazard was involved. He did play a few good minutes but he wasn’t the Hazard we all know.
‘But Hazard will be better for the Chelsea game. Kroos and Modric weren’t involved as they were rested to be ready, very important players. ‘They’ve got enough, they’ve got the history, they’ve got the courage and they know that the big players always show up on the field. But I think that Chelsea are just too good.
‘Chelsea have the intensity, the way they approach these kind of games… I think they are good enough to go through to the final and they deserve it because they have had an amazing campaign.’
Garcia believes Zinedine Zidane will be tempted to switch out Vinicius Junior for Hazard after the Belgian managed to complete 72 minutes in Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Osasuna at the weekend.
‘I’m not sure if he’s [Vinicius] going to be in the starting XI knowing that Hazard played at the weekend for 60-70 minutes and is maybe ready to play for 90 minutes,’ the Spaniard continued. ‘Real Madrid need him, need his quality, need his creativity. He’s going to be involved probably but I’m not sure how.
‘Maybe in the second half when they need something he will be on. Hazard and Benzema were the ones at the weekend who looked more sharp, they were the ones who were creating more chances against Osasuna so I expect them to do the same against this Chelsea team.
“I’m not sure if they are going to be any closer because of the amazing job Tuchel has done with the defence. ‘They put these players away from the box so they cannot damage you much so these two players have a lot of work if they want to score that goal to allow them to continue to the final.”
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