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Chelsea advance to Champions League final with Man City

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Chelsea have set up an all-England Champions League final against Manchester City by beating Real Madrid 2-0 in London for a 3-1 aggregate victory in their semi-final.

Timo Werner headed in from almost on the goal-line after Germany teammate Kai Havertz’s effort hit the bar before Mason Mount struck to secure the tie.

After last week’s 1-1 first leg in Madrid that was enough for the Blues to reach a first Champions League final since they lifted the trophy nine years ago.

It also returns manager Thomas Tuchel to the final after he lost the showpiece last season with Paris Saint-Germain to Bayern Munich.

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Tuchel has turned Chelsea’s season around since his appointment in late January as replacement for Frank Lampard with a top four berth in the league looking likely.

And they will not fear domestic champions-elect City in Istanbul on May 29 having already defeated Pep Guardiola’s otherwise all-conquering side in the FA Cup semis to set up a final with Leicester City two weeks before their big night in Turkey.

Tuchel transforming Chelsea mid-season will spark memories of Roberto Di Matteo doing so after his appointment in March 2012, months before Chelsea stunned Bayern in Munich to lift their only title in Europe’s premier club competition.

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N’Golo Kante surged through the midfield to set up the 28th minute opener and though Havertz’s delicate chip landed on the bar, Werner couldn’t miss the rebound.

Karim Benzema, who scored for Real in the first leg, was twice denied by Edouard Mendy as the guests showed a rare bit of urgency.

When Kante won the ball in midfield and released Christian Pulisic, the American crossed for Mount five minutes from time and Real were done.

The second half had been a string of Chelsea chances as the Real defence, even with the influential Sergio Ramos back from a three-month absence due to a calf injury, frequently in tatters.

Havertz and Mount both struck the bar while only one-on-one saves by Thibaut Courtois on Havertz and Kante kept Real’s outside chance alive a little longer.

Chelsea were rarely troubled in reaching their third final with the first lost against the other Manchester side, United in 2008, in Moscow.

Zinedine Zidane’s side limped to defeat and ended their coach’s previous perfect record in Champions League semi-finals.

Real, 13-time record champions of Europe, will now try to salvage their season by emerging on top in the four-way battle for the Spanish domestic title.

-AAP

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