Christian Pulisic (centre) skips past Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois before shooting to open the scoring for Chelsea. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/PA

Chelsea grabbed the away advantage against Real Madrid in first leg of the Champions League Semi Finals as Christian Pulisic scored an important goal in the match that ended 1-1, keeping the tie delicately balanced.

Former Chelsea player, Eden Hazard started on the bench. He came off the bench in the 66th minute, to make only his third appearance in three months, with Zinedine Zidane deciding the Belgian was not ready to start at Valdebebas.

Marcelo and Dani Carvajal were picked as wing-backs and Nacho Fernandez continued in a back three in the absence of Sergio Ramos.

Chelsea kept faith with Timo Werner up front after he scored his first goal in two months on Saturday against West Ham.

Thomas Tuchel stuck with the same side that won that game, with Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount joining Werner in the front three.

Chelsea made a bright start in heavy rain at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium and deservedly went ahead when the United States international Pulisic rounded Thibaut Courtois and put Chelsea ahead on 14 minutes at Valdebebas with a well-taken finish.

The 13-time winners of the competition, Real Madrid, looked ragged and short on ideas but pulled level in the 29th with a moment of true class from the talismanic French forward Karim Benzema, who controlled a knockdown on his chest before volleying into the roof of the net.

The Frenchman moved level with former Real Madrid striker Raul after notching his 71st Champions League goal, fourth most in the competition’s history.

Chelsea looked the better side in the second half as well but could not break down Real Madrid again and then had to withstand some late pressure from the hosts, who are looking to reach the final for a fifth time in eight years.

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea hosts Zinedine Zidane’s side in the second leg at Stamford Bridge on May 5.

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