Cesar Azpilicueta warned his Chelsea teammates they must do more to negate the threat of Karim Benzema if they are to reach the Champions League final, after the striker earned Real Madrid a scarcely-deserved draw in the pair’s semi-final first leg meeting.
Chelsea were much the better side during the first half at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano in Spain but failed to take full advantage.
They led 1-0 through Christian Pulisic’s strike, which came after Timo Werner had missed a gilt-edged chance from six yards, and wasted several more good openings with sloppy passes on the counter-attack.
However, while many of his teammates looked off it, Benzema was always a threat, clipping the outside of the post with a long-range effort before equalising with a brilliant piece of control and volley inside the box.
“I think we started really well for the first 20-25 minutes, we got the goal and I think we could have scored more,” Azpilicueta told BT Sport. “They got back from a set play.
“It is just the first half, we knew against Real Madrid it would be tough.
“We started with courage, we had to perform at our best level. The semi-final of a Champions League asks you to play your best. We missed that little last pass where we could choose the best option.
“Benzema scored a great goal. He is a very good striker. He dropped, he got the ball and got that goal. We have to be aware for the next game.”