- PSG came into the match leading on aggregate with 1-0
- Mbappe scored the first goal of the game in the 39th minute
- Karim Benzema outclassed PSG with his hat trick
Frenchman Karim Benzema gave a masterclass with his hat trick as Real Madrid made a stunning comeback in the Round of 16, dumping Paris Saint-Germain out of the UEFA Champions League.
PSG entered the game having won the 1st leg 1-0. Kylian Mbappe’s first-half strike in the 39th minute of the game put PSG further ahead with a 2-0 lead in the aggregate scoring, however, Benzema scored three goals after half-time which pushed Madrid through in UCL with a 3-2 victory.
PSG was playing with a star-studded line-up which included the likes of:
- Lionel Messi: One of the greatest footballers of all time with most Ballon d’Or wins
- Sergio Ramos: A Real Madrid Icon and one of the finest defenders of the game
- Gigi Donnarumma: Player of the Euros as well as Euros winner
- Gini Wijnaldum: English Premier League and UEFA Champions League Winner
- Neymar: 3 times Golden Boot winner and one of the best Brazilian striker
It seems like PSG won at the transfer market but somehow became a worse team.
The result continues PSG’s heartbreak in the UEFA Champions League as this was another suffering, another collapse from a winning position after they had already lost to Barcelona and Manchester United in recent years.
Los Blancos has joined Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Manchester City in the quarterfinals of the competition.
At the postmatch interview, Benzema said, “We wanted to see this stadium like the fans were today, we needed them, the win is for them; it was very difficult, we pushed until the end and we deserved to go through.
“We lost the first leg, we were 1-0 down at half-time, it was a huge effort, the fans pushed us to give everything until the end. They’re Champions League games, it’s difficult.
“We know PSG like to have the ball. We started well, we had chances, we didn’t take them and they scored on the counter, but in the second half we played our game.
“When we press we can beat any team, it’s about pressing as a team, everyone in their position, and with the fans. Every game is a final for us, in the league and the Champions League. Today Real Madrid are alive.”
PSG started the game as the favourites and even enjoyed early chances but Thibaut Courtois, Madrid’s goalkeeper, had denied Mbappe on two occasions.
25 minutes into the game, Gianluigi Donnarumma made a stunning save from Benzema’s long-range effort as he barely managed to get his fingertips on the ball.
Less than 10 minutes later, Mbappe almost gave the visitors a lead on the night, however, his goal was ruled out as Nuno Mendes was found in an offside position.
Madrid could not stop Mbappe for long as he opened the scoring five minutes later when he beat the offside trap and slotted the ball past Courtois.
Shortly after the second half began, Mbappe thought he had scored again but his stunning finish was disallowed for offside yet again.
When the game reached the hour mark, Benzema capitalised on Donnarumma’s poor error and tied the scoresheet at 1-1 on the night.
Vinicius Junior had a great chance to level the scores on aggregate 10 minutes after Benzema’s goal but blazed his close-range shot over the bar.
The 34 year old French striker took it upon himself to give Madrid a fighting chance and minutes after Vinicius’ miss, Benzema found the back of the nets making the aggregate 2-2 with a superb finish.
Minute later, Benzema defeated Donnarumma and found the back of the net again, completing his sensational hat trick and attaining a lead over PSG with 2-3 on aggregate.
The France international scored his 309th goal for Madrid in all competitions, passing Alfredo Di Stefano to become the club’s third most goal scorer in history.
Despite reaching the semifinals last season and finals of the 2020 season, PSG are still in search of winning their maiden Champions League Trophy.
During a news conference, Mauricio Pochettino said, “It’s a disgrace that in 2022 a goal like that stands, it was a clear foul by Benzema on the goalkeeper,” and added “After an injustice like that the team had a mental breakdown. It’s a shame.”
Carlo Ancelotti, Los Blancos’ boss said, “It’s special above all because we won after a difficult game. It got more complicated after Mbappe’s goal,” while speaking with Movistar, after the game.
Ancelotti added, “We suffered a lot to get the ball back. We pressed them, we’d practised that in training, and then we got the first goal and the game changed totally, the fans started to believe more and more, it was spectacular, we’re obviously very happy.
“We started well, with energy, then little by little we had more difficulties to press, they use the ball very well, they have players with quality, we suffered but that was normal. We took some risks, sometimes we left Mbappe one-on-one and that can make your life complicated.
“We needed the goal. After that the atmosphere in the stadium changed completely. The last half hour was spectacular.
“I’ve said that you rotate when the team is tired. I took (Toni) Kroos off because he was tired but he contributed. Rodrygo and (Eduardo) Camavinga were fresher, they gave us a boost.”