The Blues were eliminated from the Champions League by Real Madrid in a 5-4 aggregate loss after winning 3-1 in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu to set up a thrilling extra-time encounter. Karim Benzema then headed home the game-winning goal in the 96th minute after excellent work down the left flank by Vinicius Junior (shown).
Chelsea had their fair share of chances to equalise late in the game, with Kai Havertz and Jorginho both wasting great opportunities and failing to put any pressure on Thibaut Courtois when they should have. While Tuchel expressed delight at his team’s courageous display at full time, he was less complimentary of referee Marciniak’s conduct after the match ended.
“I like Carlo Ancelotti,” the former manager of Paris Saint-Germain remarked, adding that the Italian is a “really kind guy.” It was then that I saw the referee smiling and joking with the opposing coach, and I walked over to shake his hand. This is a really horrible moment to be doing this, and I informed him of this.”
Blues supporters were clearly dissatisfied with the referee’s entire performance, particularly when VAR disallowed Marcos Alonso’s goal in the 62nd minute, which would have placed the Stamford Bridge team in the lead for first time in a game. Following an initial cross-field block, the Spaniard unleashed a strong shot with his unfavourable right foot into the top corner, but VAR ruled that the ball had struck his hand after originally rebounding off of the defender.
Tuchel expressed his thoughts on the issue after the game, saying: “But that’s what you get when you face Real Madrid in the Champions League, and I’m quite upset with the referee for not checking the disallowed Alonso goal. We were up against a significant disadvantage.”