Christian Pulisic became first U.S. player to score a goal in a Champions League semifinal
Christian Pulisic became the first United States men’s international to score an goal in a Champions League goal after netting in the first half of Chelsea’s 1-1 first-leg draw with Real Madrid on Tuesday.
The goal was also Pulisic’s fifth in the Champions League, moving him ahead of DaMarcus Beasley on the unequaled U.S. men’s scoring list in European football’s premier competition.
Pulisic got himself alone in the penalty area on 14 minutes and slice to one side, beating Real Madrid attendant Thibaut Courtois and terminating between two defenders to give Chelsea an early lead.
Karim Benzema scored to draw the hosts level later in the main half, leaving the two groups with all to play for in following week’s return leg at Stamford Bridge.
After the match, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said: “The goal was well deserved and we should have scored at least one more. We conceded more or less out of nothing and that can always happen against individual quality.
“It was a disappointing score at half-time. We had to stay calm and not lose confidence. The second half was very tactical, you could feel that we are a bit tired. We only had a few days to recover from another tough away game. We have to live with 1-1.”
The 22-year-old Pulisic additionally scored in the knockout round in 2017 when he was still with Borussia Dortmund and is currently the youngest player to score for Chelsea in the elimination rounds of the UCL or later, passing Ramires, who did it at 25 years of age against Barcelona in 2012.
Adding to the rundown of firsts for Pulisic, he is additionally now the primary U.S. global to score in any opposition against Real Madrid.
“It was a great finish, great composure,” Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta said. “He’s an amazing player, he’s a young player, he’s growing and improving. I’m very pleased with his goal because he’s an important player for the team.”
Two U.S. women’s team players have scored in the UEFA Women’s Champions League semis or later as of now – Carli Lloyd did it in 2017 while on loan with Manchester City, and Alana Cook did it a weekend ago in Paris Saint-Germain’s 1-1 draw with Barcelona.
Pulisic has battled injuries all through his career, and Tuchel guaranteed recently that he expected to figure out how to confide in his body again after dealing with nagging issues dating to a hamstring problem suffered in last August’s FA Cup Final loss to Arsenal.
Tuchel’s first game in charge took place on Jan. 27 against Wolves, however Pulisic didn’t begin a Premier League game until March 13.
In any case, the 22-year-old has begun six of Chelsea’s previous eight matches across all rivalries, and he said before the Madrid match: “I feel very confident in my body and my fitness level at the moment. I have played a string of games.
“I’ve never thought of myself as a player who is injury prone or anything. Obviously, I had some time out in the past year and a bit. It is really just about taking care of my body and putting myself in the best position to be available for every single game. I feel good about that right now.”