Chelsea’s Champions League exit: Thomas Tuchel slams referee for laughing with Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti


Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel hit out at the referee who officiated his side’s Champions League exit to Real Madrid for laughing with his opposite number Carlo Ancelotti at full-time.

The Blues put in a brave display at the Santiago Bernabeu, turning the tables on their 3-1 first-leg deficit to move 4-3 ahead on aggregate in a thrilling display, but Rodrygo’s equaliser took the game into extra-time before Karim Benzema’s header sunk Tuchel’s side in extra-time.

The German head coach was furious over a decision made by VAR to rule out another second-half goal for Chelsea before they scored their third of the evening, when Marcos Alonso was adjudged to have handled before smashing the ball past Thibaut Courtois.

Handball law

Referee Szymon Marciniak ruled the goal out without checking the VAR monitor, with Tuchel claiming that officials do not have the “courage” to give decisions against Real. But it was the official’s joyful moment with Ancelotti that enraged the German the most at full-time.

“I was disappointed that the referee had a good time with Carlo,” said Tuchel after the game. “When I wanted to go and say thank you, he was smiling and laughing with the opponent’s coach.

“I think this is the very wrong time to do this after the final whistle, 126 minutes of a team giving their heart. When you go and see a referee smiling and laughing with the other coach, it’s bad timing. I told him this.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel watches on as Real Madrid celebrate their Champions League semi-final spot

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel watches on as Real Madrid celebrate their Champions League semi-final spot

“[It’s] not only today. When you play against Real Madrid, maybe you don’t expect everyone has the courage. I felt the little decisions in the first leg and today as well.

“I didn’t see the goal but I am super disappointed he didn’t come out and check it on it’s own. You should stay the boss and not give the decisions to someone in a chair and who is isolated.”

Chelsea led 1-0 at half-time in the second-leg when Mason Mount swept in a finish past Courtois. The west Londoners also managed to keep Real firmly at bay, with Los Blancos failing to register a shot on target during the opening period of a Champions League game since Opta first recorded data.

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Chelsea came from 3-1 down on aggregate to lead 4-3 at one stage

Antonio Rudiger levelled the scores on aggregate by heading home a corner after the interval, before Timo Werner put the Blues ahead on aggregate with a superb solo run just moments after Alonso’s disallowed strike.

But a sublime outside-of-the-boot pass from Luka Modric teed up Rodrygo to equalise from close range and despite both sides trading chances, it was Benzema’s header just five minutes into extra-time that separated the two teams vying for a Champions League semi-final spot.

Tuchel, however, was full of praise for his Chelsea side after the match and admitted this defeat is easier to take given the performances put in by his players.

Tuchel embraces Jorginho after Chelsea's Champions League exit

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Tuchel embraces Jorginho after Chelsea’s Champions League exit

“These are the kind of defeats we can digest and swallow,” he added. “We left nothing to regret out there. We played what we wanted to play, with the quality and the character this team has. We deserved to go through, we were simply unlucky and it wasn’t to be.

“The most important thing is how we play and the input from the players. The full credit is for the players, you need to score and win and to do it over the 90 mins. We were unlucky not to go through.”

Rudiger: Mistakes cost us | Magic Modric: Real were dead

Chelsea defender Rudiger joined Tuchel in praising the Blues’ efforts on Tuesday night, but rued the mistakes made by his side in both legs of the Champions League quarter-final, including the 3-1 home loss last week.

“The positive is we didn’t give up,” said Rudiger after the second leg. “Not many teams can dominate as we did. But the big but is over the two legs, if you make these mistakes that we do, you get punished.

“The game plan was to find our no 10s with Ruben and Mason between Casemiro, we got the goal and we controlled it. We didn’t panic and did it quite well. In the second half, we scored goals and we did everything we could.

Antonio Rudiger celebrates scoring for Chelsea vs Real Madrid

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Antonio Rudiger celebrates scoring for Chelsea vs Real Madrid

“It was a do or die for us. I think before the game nobody thought we would have a 3-0 but the individual class comes to light with Modric and Benzema. Now we are here.”

In the opposite camp, Real’s Luka Modric admitted that he thought his side were “dead” at 3-0 down – but hailed the home support in the Santiago Bernabeu who drove their side to victory.

“It was unbelievable to describe this game. We were dead until the goal that we scored. I can’t say we played a bad game, but they used their chances well and scored three goals.

Luka Modric (right) challenges Mason Mount in the Champions League quarter-final

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Luka Modric (right) challenges Mason Mount in the Champions League quarter-final

“We kept believing and kept fighting and showed huge character. This stadium and the fans were very helpful with us. When we were losing 3-0, they were there supporting us. That have us more boost to keep believing we could turn this around.

“I think the mister [Ancelotti] did great changes and they did well. In this competition, experience certainly plays an important role and today it helped us a bit.

“We knew it would be tough, but at the end we showed great character, desire and togetherness. It’s a defeat that is very sweet.”


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