(Al Jazeera) Real Madrid survived another breathtaking European night at the Bernabeu as they 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 down 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,” Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid coach, told a news conference with a smile.
“It was a lot of suffering, though. We were losing 2-0 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 because we had the energy to keep the match alive. The players were brave and faced it like warriors”, he said.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel praised his players’ efforts in their second-leg win in Madrid.
“We went to the full limit today. I’m very proud of my players and I think we deserved to qualify but luck was not on our side,” Tuchel said.
“We were unlucky. That is why we are disappointed. We got beaten by individual quality and finishing. We made two mistakes, two ball losses. We deserved to go through after this match today. It was not meant to be.”
In the other quarter-final on Tuesday, Villarreal stunned six-time European champions Bayern Munich to reach the Champions League semifinals for the first time in 16 years.
Samuel Chukwueze’s 88th-minute goal for Villarreal salvaged a 1-1 draw on the night and a 2-1 aggregate victory.
Villarreal’s 1-0 lead from the first leg was wiped out by Robert Lewandowski seven minutes into the second half, but Chukwueze completed a counterattack within four minutes of coming off the bench to extend the surprising run of La Liga’s seventh-placed team in the competition.
Bayern were also eliminated from the German FA Cup, the DFB Pokal, in October, suffering a 5-0 hammering from Borussia Moenchengladbach, meaning the Bundesliga crown is the only title they can still win this season.
Villareal face either Benfica or Liverpool in the semi-finals, while Real Madrid will take on the winner of Manchester City or Atletico Madrid.