MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti survived another breathtaking European night at the Bernabeu as his team saw off a stirring Chelsea fightback to book a place in the Champions League semi-finals despite a 3-2 defeat after extra time in the second leg.
Their 5-4 aggregate win on Tuesday came five weeks after Real recovered from two goals behind in their tie against Paris St Germain to earn an epic 3-1 victory on the night as they knocked the visitors out 3-2 on aggregate in the last 16.
“The more I suffer, the happier I am,” Ancelotti told a news conference with a smile on Tuesday.
“It was a lot of suffering, though. We were losing 2-0 (against Chelsea) but I believe we didn’t deserve it, the team did well. We were not in a hurry to score, we didn’t need it, but for me when they scored the second they didn’t deserve it.”
Ancelotti praised his players for never giving up, even after going 3-0 behind with 15 minutes remaining before Rodrygo brought the tie level at 4-4 on aggregate to force extra time in which Karim Benzema headed the decisive goal.
“We won (the tie) because we had the energy to keep the match alive. The players were brave and faced it like warriors”, he said.
“The match was difficult, we knew that, but it was more complicated. After their second goal, the team had a psychological downturn, but the magic of this stadium helps the players and the team a lot to never give up.”
Ancelotti said that he needed to cool down and evaluate the team on Wednesday to understand what really happened.
He praised Chelsea’s resilience under pressure and said his team suffered more than usual because they were missing their best set-piece defender Eder Militao, who was suspended as well as suffering from a knee injury at Stamford Bridge last week.
“We have to be proud of what we did, we played a very tough round of 16 against PSG, now against the defending champions Chelsea in the quarter-finals to go through the semi-finals, so I can’t be happier.”
(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; editing by Ken Ferris)