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UCL: Karim Benzema’s Hat-Trick Sends Real Madrid Through

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Karim Benzema struck a second half hat-trick to give Real Madrid a historic 3-1 victory against Paris St-Germain (PSG) in their UEFA Champions League second leg tie, winning 3-2 on aggregate as they secured a quarter-final spot  at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Spain.

The host started with Benzema in attack, supported by Marco Aensio and the in-form Vinicius Jr. on the flanks. Kylian Mbappe, who just recovered from an injury started up front, with Lionel Messi and Neymar supporting as they looked to cause an upset.

Mbappe opened the scoring to extend PSG’s advantage from the first leg  after getting on the end of Neymar’s through ball. The French striker calmly beat Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois at his near-post to give his side the lead.

PSG forward Kylian Mbappe scores against Real Madrid

Benzema missed two opportunities in the first half as Madrid tried to find its way back into the tie. However, the scores remained 1-0  to PSG as the referee blew the halftime whistle.

With just 30 minutes left in the match, Madrid’s fate looked sealed as PSG looked certain to go through after leading 2-0 on aggregate at half time. However, Benzema had other ideas as Madrid were offered a lifeline by Gianluigi Donnarumma. Benzema forced him into a mistake in his own area before finishing off Vinicius Jr’s cut back.

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema (9) scores first goal against PSG

The goal proved to be a catalyst for a historic Champions League comeback.

Benzema’s determination continued to drive Madrid forward as he put the ball in the net twice within 10 seconds of open play separating the two goals to complete his 17-minute hat-trick in spectacular fashion.

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema (9) celebrates second goal against PSG

Benzema overtook Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano as the club’s third-highest scorer with 309 goals, behind only Raul and Cristiano Ronaldo.

It was a brilliant performance from the Frenchman who seal progression for the 13-time UEFA Champions League winners.

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema (9) celebrates third goal against PSG

“We lost in the first leg, we were losing at the break. It was very hard, but this is a Champions League match and we are Real Madrid,” Benzema said after the game.

“We needed the fans and this is for them. It was a very difficult game but we pushed until the end and we deserve the win. Our fans pushed us to give everything right to the final whistle.”

The Champions League quarter-final draw will take place on Friday, March 18 at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The semi-finals will also be drawn at the same time.

UEFA Champions League results

Manchester City 0-0 Sporting CP (5-0 aggregate)

Real Madrid 3-1 PSG (3-2 aggregate)

 

Chidi Nwoke/UEFA.

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