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Champions League soccer: Christian Pulisic assist helps Chelsea reach final

Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic, shown April 27, 2021, assisted on Mason Mount's goal in the 85th minute to help the Blues advance to the Champions League final. File Photo by Kiko Huesca/EPA-EFE
Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic, shown April 27, 2021, assisted on Mason Mount's goal in the 85th minute to help the Blues advance to the Champions League final. File Photo by Kiko Huesca/EPA-EFE

May 5 (UPI) -- Chelsea used goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount to secure a 2-0 second-leg win over Real Madrid on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge, advancing to the UEFA Champions League final for the first time since 2012.

The Blues advanced 3-1 on aggregate after the clubs' first-leg clash last week ended in a 1-1 draw. Chelsea will take on fellow English Premier League club Manchester City in the UCL final May 29 in Istanbul.

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Real Madrid, which welcomed back captain Sergio Ramos, controlled possession from kickoff but failed to create notable chances early on.

Werner nearly gave Chelsea the lead inside 20 minutes when he tapped in a cross from Ben Chilwell. Officials, however, ruled that Werner was offside and disallowed the goal.

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Shortly after, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy had a remarkable save to deny Madrid star Karim Benzema, who got off a rocket shot from the edge of the box.

Chelsea then took an early 1-0 lead in the 28th minute when Kai Havertz received a pass from N'Golo Kante and chipped the ball over Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. The shot clanged off the bar before Werner collected it and headed it home from close range.

Moments later, Benzema again forced Mendy to make a superb save with a header after Luka Modric set up the scoring chance.

Real Madrid struggled to create any further opportunities, while Chelsea started the second half with Havertz hitting the bar once more.

Chelsea continued to create scoring chances but failed to capitalize, with Mount and Kante victims of bad misses. Star American Christian Pulisic, who came on for Werner near the 67th minute, also had a good ball across the box that Havertz failed to corral.

With five minutes left, Chelsea finally broke the match open when Pulisic faked a shot just outside the box and delivered a pinpoint pass to Mount, who deposited the ball home from close range.

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"We deserved to win," Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said. "The first half was difficult. They had a lot of possession and made us suffer.

"In the second half, we could have scored so much earlier, so much more to be safe, but now is no time for criticism. It is a fantastic achievement and big congratulations to the team. It is not done yet. We want to go all the way. We arrive in Istanbul to win."

Pulisic, who became the first American male to score in a UCL semifinal match last week, now has a chance to make more history in the all-English final later this month. If he takes the field, he would be the first U.S. male to play in the Champions League final.

Jovan Kirovski is the only American male to win the Champions League, doing so in the 1996-97 season as a member of Borussia Dortmund. Kirovski, however, never played in the knockout stages.

With the victory, Chelsea becomes the first club to have both the men's and women's sides reach the Champions League final. The women's Chelsea team beat Bayern Munich in the semifinal Sunday to set up a showdown with Barcelona.

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