There was something about the way Rodrygo literally put his second goal into the net that seemed to sum up Todd Boehly’s first season as Chelsea supremo.
It felt like a message of pure contempt, from the biggest club in European football to a bunch of overpriced players dumped by an American gob artist.
Boehly and his co-owner Behdad Eghbali have water-canned £600m in transfer fees but left four different managers without an authentic centre-forward.
And after going into the Chelsea dressing room after the weekend’s defeat by Brighton and accusing the players of being “embarrassing”, the shame should lie with Chelsea’s American moneymen.
Frank Lampard’s four games as caretaker manager have produced the club’s first losing streak in four games in 30 years.
And Chelsea’s season is now over six weeks early. They’re in the bottom half of the Premier League table, they’ve been eliminated from every cup and they’ve got eight dead gums ahead of them.
Whoever inherits Lampard’s mantle will not compete in EuropeSeason – which will cause further financial headaches for owners who have been spending like drunken sailors in a knock shop.
actually had a decent try at Real for 45 minutes.
But the 14-time European champions prevailed through a clever second-half double from Rodrygo, doubling their first-leg lead and in all likelihood setting up a second consecutive Champions League semi-final against Manchester City.
Befitting the utter chaos that surrounds this club, Lampard’s team selection had something of theCaller: “On your own, Lucky Seven, N’Golo Kante”.
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On paper it looked like a 3-6-1 formation that was to remain closed until the cavalry arrived – a bank that cost more than a quarter of a billion.
In practice, it was anything but cautious. Chelsea was in a manic, high-pushing, cage-rattling mode.
Worshipers did their best to create an authentic old-school vibe, there were Herberts throwing celeryhorses on the Road and former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois have been loudly accused of one-in-a-bed romp.
It was loud and boisterous, and seemed to spur on the randomly assembled team of celebrities that make up Boehly’sA house.
Chelsea moved it quickly and didn’t allow the European champions to calm down and they should have taken an early lead.
A center from Reece James reboundedand fell invitingly onto Kante – who had been pushed into a sort of inside left position – but the Frenchman missed his shot.
Real Madrid had their moments – Rodrygo slammed a shot against the outside of the post, then Luka Modric shot through and forced Kepa Arrizabalaga to make an intelligent save.
But at least the Blues showed the speed of work, intention and faith to do it decently – and those qualities had sadly been lacking in Lampard’s first three games in charge and also in the vast majority of Graham Potter’s reign.
The best way to unsettle a team that wants to be proud and bragging is to simply refuse to let them calm down. It was a simple, old-fashioned English passion play, and it didn’t do badly.
Just before the break, a low James center slid over and found Marc Cucurella six yards away and unmarked, but Courtois saved the left-back with a brilliant stop, the Belgian visibly unfazed by his timid catchy tune from the Matthew Harding stand.
Cucurella, who stepped in for the suspended Ben Chilwell, hasn’t settled in well here, the £62m transfer fee paid by Brighton was filed under ‘We saw you coming a mile away’ – but had he buried that would have it maybe helped.
At half-time, Ancelotti responded by sending in former Chelsea general Toni Rudiger in place of David Alaba to bolster Real’s defence.
It was a cap off for Lampard, one of his 2010 doubles winners, an indication Real knew they were in a game.
James soon launched a terrible challenge against Eduardo Camavinga – an ‘Orange’ who received a yellow card.
Kante missed another decent chance when a more natural striker could have scored.
But thenwho was already cautioned, committed a cynical foul on Trevoh Chalobah and somehow avoided a second caution.
Suddenly everything started. A tough challenge from Toni KroosAshley Cole lunged for the fourth official, fellow coach Joe Edwards grabbed the former Full-back at the throat.
And then, amid the anger and chaos, Real decided it was time to get serious.
Militao pinged a forward pass to free Rodrygo, who skinned Chalobah, sprinted to the touchline and cut past a couple of tense defenders to pick out Vinicius Junior.
Vinicius returned it to Rodrygo, who kissed it away before bed.
Briefly, Ancelotti thumped the air and stuck out his chest in as vivacious a manner as you’ll ever see the old fella in public. Courtois turned to The Shed and grinned. The bridge fell into stunned silence.
Courtois soon saved a strong effort from Enzo Fernandez and Lampard sent on Mykhailo Mudryk,and Joao Felix – pretty much a £150m replacement who undermines the narrative of Chelsea as brave underdogs.
Then that second goal, Federico Valverde strutted through and found Rodrygo to score in mocking slow motion.