Real Madrid prevails before 105,826 at Michigan Stadium
Ann Arbor – Real Madrid didn't need its stars to carve apart Chelsea 3-2 in an International Champions Cup match Saturday before 105,826 at Michigan Stadium.
A clever 5-foot-8 Brazilian defender was all the Galacticos required. Marcelo scored in the 19th and 26th minutes while Mariano Diaz added in the 37th. A couple of late goals by Chelsea's Eden Hazard made for a captivating finish.
Hazard, seeing his first preseason action, scored in the 80th and 90th minutes for Chelsea, which was coming off a 1-0 victory over rival Liverpool in an ICC match Wednesday.
Real Madrid, which was missing Ronaldo (knee), Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema (back), among others, was coming off a 3-1 loss Thursday against Paris Saint-Germain in ICC play. Saturday's encounter was only its second preseason match.
The rust had clearly worn off when Marcelo cut inside and blasted the ball past Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. The goal, which appeared to deflect off a Chelsea defender, capped an opening frame dominated by the La Liga side, which outshot Chelsea 8-4.
On his second, the defender worked an industrious give-and-go with Marco Asensio before tucking it past Begovic.
“It’s been a joy to watch him play,” said Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane through an interpreter. “He’s the captain. Since (the team arrived for preseason in) Montreal, it’s been spectacular to see him.
“He’s an important player. … We’re real happy with his match.”
Real's third goal was a howitzer from 30 yards out by Diaz, who was able to navigate the Chelsea third unhindered before teeing off on a shot that left Begovic wanting.
Hazard, who came on as sub in the 64th minute, pounced on defensive mistakes in the Real backline before rounding keeper Francisco Casilla in slotting home both goals.
Chelsea fortunes changed after wholesale changes in the second half. The club’s newest addition, Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi, made his presence known as a second-half sub, forcing a nice save from Casilla in the 53rd while being denied a penalty claim in the 63rd.
Iconic defender John Terry also missed a chance to open Chelsea’s account, placing a downward header into Casilla’s hands in the 67th minute.
Hazard was the opportunistic one, though.
His first goal was a clear gift as both teams appeared to wilt under the humidity. Nathaniel Chalobah, who came on a second-half sub, sent a ball over the middle to Hazard racing down the middle. The Belgian simply chipped it past the onrushing Casilla and into the net.
Batshuayi took a more direct route, slicing a diagonal ball along the ground to find Hazard for Chelsea’s second in the 90th minute.
LARGEST U.S. SOCCER ATTENDANCE
109,318 – Real Madrid vs. Manchester United, International Champions Cup, Michigan Stadium, Aug. 2, 2014.
105,826 – Real Madrid vs. Chelsea, International Champions Cup, Michigan Stadium, July 30, 2016.
101,799 – France vs. Brazil, Olympics, Rose Bowl, Aug. 11, 1984.