Champions League: Wins for Real Madrid and AC Milan in quarterfinals

Real Madrid's Marco Asensio celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Champions League quarterfinal, first leg, football match against Real Madrid.
Real Madrid's Marco Asensio celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Champions League quarterfinal, first leg, football match against Real Madrid. Copyright Manu Fernandez/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Manu Fernandez/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Rebekah Daunt with AP
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Real Madrid secured a 2-0 win over Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday while AC Milan beat rivals Napoli for the second time in the space of two weeks.


Karim Benzema struck yet again against Chelsea, leading Real Madrid to a 2-0 win in the first leg of the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

Substitute Marco Asensio also scored for Madrid after Benzema had netted his sixth goal in five matches against the English club in the latest meeting between the last two European champions.

Chelsea played the final half-hour with ten men after Ben Chilwell was sent off for stopping a Madrid breakaway. It was a second consecutive defeat for new Chelsea interim coach Frank Lampard after he replaced Graham Potter amid the team’s disappointing results.

The second leg is next week in London.

Benzema opened the scoring by hitting the open net off the rebound of a save by Kepa Arrizabalaga after an attempt by Vinícius Júnior from close range in the 22nd minute at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Benzema had scored four times against Chelsea in the last eight last season, including the decisive goal in extra time in the second leg in Madrid. He had a hat trick in the first leg in London. The French veteran has scored 20 goals in 27 matches against English opposition. His last 14 goals in the competition have come in the knockout stage.

Asencio netted the second in the 74th.

It is the third consecutive time Madrid and Chelsea meet in the Champions League, with Madrid prevailing at this same stage last season and Chelsea advancing past the Spanish powerhouse in the semifinals in the previous year.

Meanwhile, at San Siro, Rossoneri won 1-0 in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal.

Ismaël Bennacer scored shortly before the end of the first half that Napoli had dominated for long stretches. Both teams also hit the crossbar before Napoli midfielder André-Frank Zambo Anguissa was sent off 16 minutes from time, following two yellow cards in quick succession.

The teams will meet again in Naples next Tuesday with the winner playing either Inter Milan or Benfica in the semifinals.

Milan routed Napoli 4-0 when the two teams met in the Italian league on April 2. But Napoli has a 16-point lead at the top of Serie A.

It was Napoli’s first-ever appearance in the quarterfinals and it was without a recognised striker as leading Serie A goalscorer Victor Osimhen and Giovanni Simeone were out injured and coach Luciano Spalletti opted to start Giacomo Raspadori on the bench and play Eljif Elmas in the false nine positions.

Nevertheless, the visitors got off to an aggressive start and had four clearcut opportunities in as many minutes.

The best of those was after only 50 seconds as Milan failed to deal with a cross and a horrible Rade Krunić clearance fell straight to Napoli dangerman Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. But Krunić atoned for his error by clearing the shot off the line and Mário Rui ballooned the follow-up over.

Milan broke the deadlock five minutes from halftime as Brahim Díaz sped forward from midfield and laid the ball off to the right of the area to Rafael Leão. His attempt at a one-two didn’t quite come off but it came through to Bennacer to fire into the top near corner.

Napoli's chances of getting back into the match diminished when Anguissa was shown a second yellow card for a high tackle on Theo Hernández four minutes after being booked for a foul on the same Milan defender.

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