Chelsea U19 side scaled through to the semi-finals of the UEFA Youth League having defeated Real Madrid 4-2 away from home as the Blues scored three past Madrid in the first-half, but ended the second period with ten men.
Chelsea manager Joe Edwards made two changes from the last-16 victory over Feyenoord as Jamie Cumming and McCormick came into the starting team, the latter replacing Callum Hudson-Odoi, who travelled with the first team to Barcelona.
McCormick joined St Clair in providing the attacking support for striker Redan, the trio accounting for seven of our 18 goals in the competition going into the quarter-final tie. Cumming replaced Marcin Bulka between the sticks and was protected by a back three of Sterling, Ethan Ampadu and captain Josh Grant, with Reece James and Juan Castillo operating as wing-backs.
Real Madrid took an early lead as Oscar found the back of the net with a free-kick before Joe Edwards’s side came storming back to lead 3-1 through Luke McCormick’s equaliser and a brace from Daishawn Redan. Opportunities passed by after the restart with Dujon Sterling heading over from close range and McCormick striking the post before Real reduced the deficit with a header from Ismael Alvarez.
Jacob Maddox saw red midway through the second period in contentious circumstances, forcing the visitors to show character and calmness at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium. Such attributes have defined previous Chelsea winners of this competition and the class of 2018 proved their worth too, defending doggedly before Harvey St Clair ran in clear to secure the victory deep into added time.
With the score at 3-2 and the tie just a one-legged affair, it promised to be an open final 30 minutes as the rain returned in Madrid.
The woodwork was struck for the third time in the afternoon as McCormick was denied a second after 65 minutes, the midfielder racing to meet a cross from Castillo but only able to direct his header on to the base of the post.
Yet there was plenty of drama remaining as the German referee brandished a red card with 22 minutes remaining, deeming a seemingly routine tackle in midfield from Maddox as warranting instant dismissal.
With the game just about to end, Madrid goalkeeper missed his kick leaving Harvey St Clair to walk the ball into an empty net.