Benzema’s hat-trick helped Real Madrid beat PSG 3-1


Karim Benzema scored a second-half hat-trick in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match against PSG at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to help Real Madrid enter the quarterfinals of the tournament.

UEFA Champions League: Karim Benzema and Real Madrid players celebrate a goal against PSG© AFP

Trailing 0-1 from the first leg, Madrid were looking at the exit door as Kylian Mbappe added to his goal in Paris by netting in the first-half. But an error by goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma opened the doors for the 13-time champions as Benzema restored parity on the night to give Carlo Ancelotti’s team a glimmer of hope in the 61st minute.
A manic 17-minute period saw Benzema score two more goals as a star-studded PSG team, with the likes of Mbappe and teammates Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr, came up short yet again in Europe’s elite club tournament.
Real Madrid pulled off one of the great Champions League comebacks on Wednesday as Karim Benzema scored a breath-taking hat-trick to upstage Kylian Mbappe and dump Paris Saint-Germain out in the last 16.
Madrid were set to be the latest victims of another Mbappe masterclass at the Santiago Bernabeu after the 23-year-old ran them ragged for the best part of an hour and fired in to put PSG 1-0 up on the night, 2-0 ahead on aggregate.
But Madrid came storming back as Benzema capitalised on a mistake by PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and then scored an incredible double in two minutes, the third coming just eight seconds after PSG had kicked off.
When the full-time whistle confirmed their 3-2 aggregate victory, many of Madrid’s players dropped to their knees and looked up to the sky, as much perhaps in disbelief as joy, after completing one of the most memorable turnarounds in the club’s recent history.
All eyes were on Mbappe, who was the only player to be cheered by Madrid’s fans before the game as they were gifted an up-close preview of the player they hope will be theirs this summer.
Mbappe delivered, scoring a superb goal, not to mention a spellbinding second that was disallowed for offside when he bamboozled Thibaut Courtois with a magical dummy-finish.
To think he might not even have been 100 per cent here after a knock in training on Monday temporarily put his involvement in doubt.
But what looked set to become an exhibition of the world’s deadliest player instead became another remarkable European night for Real Madrid, who showed again why they consider this to be their competition.
Madrid clearly wanted to hit PSG hard form the start, with Dani Carvajal leaping and waving his hands at the crowd in an attempt to generate a wave of noise.
For a while, it worked, Vinicius Junior tearing down the left and Fede Valverde bulldozing through Mbappe, but the surge was brief. PSG killed Madrid’s momentum, pushed them back and took complete control.
Mbappe sped clear for the first time in the eighth minute, Neymar curling a ball into the space on the left. The stadium held its breath, Mbappe made space but this time hit Courtois.
Madrid dropped off but ceded control. Mbappe nipped past Eder Militao and Courtois saved. A lovely interchange between Lionel Messi and Marco Verratti gave Neymar a sight of goal but Courtois was there again.
PSG were comfortable now, dictating the play and sensing the trepidation. Madrid had openings, Benzema curling just wide, but all over the pitch they looked slower, heavier, more cumbersome.


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