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Real Madrid’s Modric relieved after Chelsea loss

Luka Modric described Real Madrid’s 3-2 loss to Chelsea on Tuesday that sent them through the Champions League semi-finals as a “very sweet defeat.”

The Croatia international said afterwards that, given his familiarity with Chelsea, he knew the return leg would not be routine.

Modric told BT Sport:

“We knew after the first leg that we would have a challenging game because, for me, they [Chelsea] are the hardest team to play against.

“I watch them a lot because of my friend Mateo [Kovacic], and they are an adamant, physical team, very compact, and we knew it would be tough.

“In the end, we showed great character, desire, and togetherness, and we managed to turn it around, which is amazing. A very sweet defeat.”

Tuesday’s game resembled the first leg in last year’s Champions League semi-final between the two, with Chelsea pressing intensely and piercing through in transition.

Thomas Tuchel’s side dictated a very high tempo early, but Madrid could feel their way through the game, making sufficient adjustments and gaining momentum late.

Modric said:

“Unbelievable to describe this game. We were dead until the goal we scored.

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“Chelsea scored three good goals, maybe the first goal was a bit lucky with the deflection, but I cannot say that we played a bad game.”

According to Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, his side levelling on aggregate took the momentum away from Chelsea while also praising the 36-year-old Ballon d’Or winner.

“The changes were important. But, in retrospect, I must say that with the goal of 3-1, they took a good blow on a psychological level,” he said.

“Modric was amazing with that assist. From there, we build the second goal and then we managed.”

Modric’s game by numbers vs Chelsea:

Acc. passes 65/73 (89%)

Key passes 1

Big chances created 1

Assists 1

Blocked shots 1

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Interceptions 2

Tackles 4

Touches 89

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