Chelsea reached their first Champions League final since 2012 as goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount secured a 2-0 victory over Real Madrid in their semifinal second leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday to win the tie 3-1 on aggregate.
Their away goal in Madrid had given Chelsea a narrow advantage heading into the return, and they missed a host of chances that would have given them a much wider margin of victory.
Madrid, who welcomed back captain Sergio Ramos, controlled possession from kickoff without creating a chance of note.
Werner should have given Chelsea the lead on 18 minutes when he tapped home from Ben Chilwell’s cross but was offside when he didn’t need to be.
Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy pulled off a superb save to deny Karim Benzema when he managed to get a shot off from the edge of the box.
And Chelsea were ahead on 28 minutes when Kai Havertz, played in by N’Golo Kante, saw his dinked effort over Thibaut Courtois rebound off the bar and Werner was first to the rebound to head home from close range.
Moments later, Benzema again forced Mendy into a good save with a header following some good play by Luka Modric.
Madrid, record winners of the competition with 13, struggled to create any further opportunities and it was Chelsea who started the second half stronger with Havertz again hitting the bar.
Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane gave Eden Hazard a start on a return to his former club, but the Belgium international looked way short of match fitness and had little impact on the contest.
Zidane said after the match: “With continuity, Eden has to play, to regain his confidence, playing, little by little. It’s his second start in a row; we have to get Eden back by playing.”
Thomas Tuchel’s side continued to create chances with Mason Mount and Kante guilty of bad misses, while Christian Pulisic — who came on for Werner on 67 minutes — flashed a good ball across the box that Havertz failed to get on the end of.
But, with five minutes remaining, Pulisic kept his cool when played through and passed a ball to Mount, who smashed the ball home from close range.
“We deserved to win. The first half was difficult; they had a lot of possession and made us suffer,” Tuchel said.
“In the second half, we could have scored so much earlier, so much more to be safe, but now is no time for criticism. It is a fantastic achievement and big congratulations to the team.
“It is not done yet. We want to go all the way; we arrive in Istanbul to win.”
Madrid midfielder Casemiro said his side’s poor showing served to emphasize what an impressive achievement winning the tournament three seasons in a row is, as they achieved from 2016 to 2018.
“Today showed that what we did [by winning it before] was historic,” he said. “It isn’t easy to win the Champions League. Every game is difficult. Today showed once again that it isn’t easy to win it.”
The result means Chelsea have become the first club to have both the men’s and women’s side reach the Champions League final, after Emma Hayes’ side beat Bayern Munich in their semifinal on Sunday to set up a showdown with Barcelona.
Chelsea’s men’s team will face Manchester City in Istanbul on May 29 in a second all-English Champions League final in two seasons.
Zidane, who was left defending his tactics after the match, also said: “I think the system was clear: We played with three at the back and two wing-backs. We’ve played a lot of games like that. It didn’t turn out well — we lost a lot of duels. We lacked something, yes, but we tried, and that’s football.
“The players who played were OK to play. At the end of the game, we lacked some gas. Vinicius played two games there. I remember against Getafe — he’s a player who can do it.”