A seven-goal thriller at the Etihad Stadium was just what the doctor ordered for a Champions League semi-final. A complete end-to-end game saw Manchester City get the better of European royalty, Real Madrid by just a one-goal margin.
Down by two goals in the first twenty minutes, Los Blancos were caught off guard by City’s incessant press. But as the case has been for this season, the La Liga giants turned to Karim Benzema again to get them out of their misery.
Scoring his first goal from a delicious cross from compatriot Ferland Mendy, Benzema opened the scoring sheet for his team by bringing them back into the tie. The 34-year-old Frenchman has 14 goals in this campaign of the Champions League which includes a match-winning hattrick against the star-studded team of Paris Saint-Germain and topped it off with another subliminal hattrick away at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea in the quarter-finals.
Real’s number nine has been their ultimate saviour throughout this season after taking the reins from their former legend, Cristiano Ronaldo. Benzema has racked up 41 goals across all competitions this season and is on the verge of lifting his fourth league title with the Spanish giants.
The Real Madrid star is brimming with confidence and his heroics have proved invaluable at every given turn. After missing two back-to-back penalties lately in La Liga against Osasuna, Karim Benzema stepped up to take one against the likes of Ederson last night. This should have given much relief to Ederson since Benzema failed to convert his last two penalties against a much lowly ranked team.
But Benzema had unique plans. This wasn’t La Liga where the race was already won, but Europe’s premier competition where Real Madrid plays like kings, fighting with all their might. Benzema placed the ball on the spot and delivered an icy cold ‘Panenka’ sending the Manchester City goalkeeper the wrong way and cutting down City’s advantage to just one goal, going into the second leg of this spicy tie. Sergio Ramos would have jumped in excitement on his couch.
Even the City fans couldn’t help but get their phones out to capture the moment, as evident from this photo of the game which is going viral online.
The City fans were in awe and so were the commentators who applauded Benzema’s audacious penalty kick. The Real Madrid forward had the guile and the strength to pull off such a penalty against someone that has been deemed the best club team in the world at the moment by football fans.
Everything that Benzema has touched this season, has found the back of the net. Even after a narrow loss to City in Manchester, the Frenchman is hopeful that his team will find the right groove to outsmart Pep Guardiola’s men when they visit the Santiago Bernabeu next week.
Benzema is up for the challenge and so are the fans. It wouldn’t be so different from what we have been witnessing from a prospective Ballon d’Or winner this year.