N’GOLO KANTE put in a supreme shift on Tuesday night as Chelsea secured an impressive 1-1 draw at Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie.
Going into the clash at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, the Blues were arguably the underdogs after Los Blancos breezed past Liverpool so comfortably in their favourite competition.
And Thomas Tuchel has Kante to thank after the French star put in a tireless performance in the Spanish capital.
Kante was seemingly everywhere as he kept a lid on Real’s attacking intent, while also providing plenty of support in attack.
Los Blancos managed just one shot on target all game – Karim Benzema’s equaliser following Christian Pulisic’s first-half opener.
And Kante played a huge role in keeping them at arm’s length.
The 2018 World Cup winner was involved in a team-high 21 duels, made seven recoveries, one interception, one block and one key tackle in frustrating Madrid.
Those stats are all the more impressive when you consider Kante was tasked with keeping star trio Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro at bay.
But he was just as busy in attack, completing a team-high six dribbles, completing 87.5 per cent of his 56 passes, touching the ball 80 times and even whipping in two crosses.
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Above all else though, it was Kante’s typically tireless running that caught the eye.
After the game, Chelsea legend Cesc Fabregas was full of praise for his former team-mate.
Fabregas tweeted: “N’golo has always been a big game player. Never doubt him. He plays for 2.”
Chelsea’s official Twitter account also joked: “About 71% of the earth’s surface is water-covered, the rest is covered by N’Golo Kante.”
But Kante will need to do it all again next Wednesday for the return leg at Stamford Bridge – and Tuchel knows it.
After the 1-1 draw, the German claimed: “It’s half-time and we’ll have to fight for every centimetre and every advantage that we want to have.
“We need to fight and deserve it.”
And there’s not better player in terms of giving their all than Kante.
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