Karim Benzema Steals The Show As PSG Collapse Again In Champions League

Real Madrid scored three second half goals as PSG blew a two goal lead
22:01, 09 Mar 2022

Real Madrid just always seem to find a way in this competition. The kings of Europe, thanks to their main man, scored three second-half goals to turn around a two-goal deficit as PSG once again collapsed on the big stage. 

It looked for an hour as if Kylian Mbappe would steal all of the headlines on a night where Madrid got a close look at their probable next hero. He opened the scoring and PSG looked so dangerous, while dealing with every Real Madrid attack.

Then, in a period of second-half madness, the visitors fell to pieces. All of the goals could and should have been prevented, but Madrid took full advantage of the catastrophe that unfolded at the back. 

First, Gianluigi Donnarumma would hand Real Madrid a lifeline. He was pressed into a misplaced pass by Benzema, who then received the ball from Vinicius to fire home past the helpless goalkeeper. PSG had been in full control, but all of a sudden the home side roared their approval as their side flexed their muscles. 

Benzema, full of confidence, saw his powerful header go inches wide of the post as he dominated the centre-back pairing in the air time and time again. The game had turned and was now on a knife edge.  

A deflection put the ball through to Vinicius Jr who skied the ball from close range, but they would get their second through their main man. Benzema. A surging run from Luka Modric led to a counter-attack, and it was the Croatian who fed Benzema who found the back of the PSG net.

Somehow, from PSG’s kick-off, they conceded again. 10.5 seconds between kick-off, and the third goal. Marquinos played the ball across his own box to Benzema who tapped the ball in. In a minute of madness, Paris had thrown the tie away. We’ve seen them lose 6-1 at the Nou Camp, but this felt just as bad for a PSG side that were major contenders to win the tournament this season. 

They seemingly always fall short. And it always seems to happen in the most dramatic of circumstances. These questions that unfold from this point for the Parisians will be damning. Mauricio Pochettino could be Old Trafford bound, Mbappe is almost certainly Madrid bound, and the club will have to rebuild again on their quest for European glory.

It’s an astonishing outcome for a match that was in the palm of PSG’s hands. The first half was a professional and clinical display of the highest standard. 

Messi, who had fouled Kroos moments before, had the bit between his teeth early on as put in a crunching tackle on the edge of his own box, beat a man and released Neymar who fed Mbappe in a lightning quick counter-attack, but his shot was stopped by Thibaut Courtois. 

The Belgian then denied Mbappe again as he found space in the left channel and drove another left-footed effort towards goal. Real Madrid were controlling the opening moments, but PSG looked so dangerous when they went forward.

Mbappe linked with Neymar again who hit a tame left-footed effort at goal before Karim Benzema curled a wonderful effort towards the top corner, which was incredibly tipped wide by Gianluigi Donmnarumma.

Neymar and Messi then worked the ball brilliantly, but Messi’s chip couldn’t find anyone in the six yard box. Mbappe did have the ball in the net but Nuno Mendes was ruled offside in the build up, and the Bernabeu cheered his misery. Benzema, on his 500th start, headed an effort towards goal, before he missed another header moments later as he edged closer to goal. 

However, it was his fellow Frenchman who silenced the Bernabeu. Neymar released Mbappe as Madrid pressed forward and he used his pace to face up to David Alaba, and slam the ball inside the near post past Courtois. He stunned them at the end of the first leg, and did the same in front of his potential suitors. 

Paris Saint-Germain turned down €170m guaranteed plus €10m add-ons from Real Madrid last summer and now that decision looks worse than ever before. 

Mbappe’s magical stepover sat Courtois down in the second half and he found the net again but was once again denied by the offside flag. He was on scintillating form and if the Bernabeu was the stage for his Madrista audition, he passed with flying colours. 

But then the Benzema show unfolded. And what a show it was. 

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