- Real Madrid eased past PSG in a 3-1 win in the second leg of the Champions League last-16 clash to book their spot in the quarter-final
- Kylian Mbappe who scored the only goal of the first leg scored again in the first half to put Madrid in more problems but Karim Benzema had other ideas
- Benzema scored a stunning second-half hat-trick to win the tie for Real Madrid
Karim Benzema scored a staggering hat-trick as Real Madrid fought back to beat PSG 3-1 on Wednesday and secure a scarcely believable 3-2 aggregate victory in their Champions League last-16 tie.
Kylian Mbappe, who is widely expected to join Madrid on a free transfer at the end of the current campaign, gave PSG a two-goal lead in the tie with a breakaway goal late in the first half – a goal that moved him clear of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the Ligue 1 side’s second all-time top scorer with 157 goals.
Benzema led a stirring Los Blancos fightback in the second half, though, grabbing his first in the 61st minute after a big mistake from PSG shot-stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
He then sealed their progress into the quarter-finals with two goals in the space of two minutes to leave Mauricio Pochettino’s side stunned.
The game’s first clear chance came in the 13th minute when Mbappe’s low strike from a tight angle was kept out by the legs of Thibaut Courtois.
Only a superb fingertip save from Donnarumma prevented Benzema’s whipped effort from finding the top-right corner midway through the first half before Mbappe saw a goal ruled out after an offside call against Nuno Mendes.
He was not to be denied six minutes before the interval, however, the World Cup winner latching onto Neymar’s first-time pass and curling into Courtois’ near post from just inside the penalty area.
Mbappe thought he had doubled PSG’s advantage shortly after the restart, yet he was again denied by the offside flag after rounding Courtois.
Madrid reduced the deficit in the 61st minute, Benzema stroking home from Vinicius Junior’s pass following Donnarumma’s dismal kick under pressure from the France international.
Benzema then drew his side level on aggregate in the 76th minute with a deflected strike after being picked out by Luka Modric’s clever pass.
The talismanic forward then completed a breathtaking comeback as PSG conceded possession straight from the kick-off, flicking home Vinicius’ pass to spark jubilant scenes at the Santiago Bernabeu.
PSG looked set for a last-eight spot following Mbappe’s first-half strike, yet Madrid, and Benzema in particular, had other ideas.
Ancelotti’s men registered an xG of 2.18, with 86 per cent of that coming during an inspired second-half showing.
Mauricio Pochettino’s crestfallen side, meanwhile, have now won just one of their last nine Champions League away games against Spanish opposition.
On the occasion of his 500th Madrid start across all competitions, Benzema ensured the headlines would be all his with a sensational hat-trick. At 34 years and 80 days old, he became the oldest player to score a treble in Champions League history, surpassing Olivier Giroud against Sevilla in December 2020 (four goals – 34y 66d).
Quite what the PSG goalkeeper was doing when he had the ball at his feet before Benzema’s first goal will remain a mystery for some time. It is not a stretch to say that slapstick piece of goalkeeping cost his side a place in the last eight of the Champions League, given what it set the stage for.
Both sides are in domestic action next, with Madrid visiting Real Mallorca on Monday and PSG hosting Bordeaux the day before.