Actual Madrid might have misplaced 4-3 to Manchester Metropolis within the first leg of the Uefa Champions League semi-finals, however their hopes of successful the competitors for a file 14th time have been stored alive as soon as once more by the exploits of Karim Benzema.
The French striker, 34, scored two objectives in a traditional on the Etihad Stadium. He netted his first on 33 minutes after sweeping residence Ferland Mendy’s cross. His second, an excellent “Panenka” penalty, ensured a grandstand second leg subsequent Wednesday in Spain.
‘Ice chilly, this man’
Exhibiting “nerves of metal” with eight minutes remaining, Actual captain Benzema “dinked” his spot-kick over Metropolis keeper Ederson to make it 4-3 on the night time, mentioned BBC Sport. The “nonchalance summed up a sensational match” between two of Europe’s heavyweights.
Talking on BT Sport, former England defender Rio Ferdinand praised the ahead’s confidence for the important spot kick. He’s “ice chilly, this man”, Ferdinand mentioned of the four-time Champions League winner. “Even when it was within the final minute, he would’ve nonetheless executed it.”
With context, the “audacious” Panenka is “much more breathtaking” when you think about that he has missed three out of his final 4 penalties, together with two in the identical recreation in opposition to Osasuna final week, mentioned Daniel Davis within the Every day Mail.
Benzema mentioned it was “psychological confidence, that’s all” on his Panenka. “I’ve loads of confidence in myself so I do it and it seems nicely.” He additionally revealed that he modified his method after being studied by opposition goalkeepers. Even he admitted that his penalty was “chilly blooded”.
One of many world’s nice strikers
Demise, taxes, Benzema scoring within the Champions League. “Some issues are simply certainties in life,” mentioned Anish Dogra on talkSPORT. After his brace in Manchester, he has now netted 14 objectives within the competitors this season, surpassing Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.
Benzema netted 5 instances within the group levels, but it surely’s been within the knockouts the place he has actually made the headlines. Within the spherical of 16 he netted a second-leg hat-trick as Actual got here again to beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 on combination. Then within the quarter-finals in opposition to Chelsea he scored one other hat-trick within the first leg at Stamford Bridge and a 96th-minute extra-time header on the Bernabéu to ship Actual by to the semi-finals 5-4 on combination.
With Benzema of their assault, Actual will “at all times have hope”, mentioned Phil McNulty on the BBC. The Frenchman deserves his place within the “higher echelons of the good strikers in world soccer”.
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Favorite to win the Ballon d’Or?
After 66 objectives in 148 video games for Lyon, Benzema left the French membership for Madrid in 2009. He has now racked up 600 appearances for the Spanish giants and scored 320 objectives. This makes him the membership’s third-highest goalscorer of all-time behind former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo (450) and Raúl (323). He has additionally received a formidable 20 trophies throughout his time on the Bernabéu: 4 Champions Leagues, 4 Membership World Cups, three Uefa Tremendous Cups, three La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys and 4 Spanish Tremendous Cups.
Together with his milestone look on the Etihad, Benzema has equalled Paco Gento for the variety of video games in a Actual shirt, Marca reported. He has “undoubtedly” been the “most decisive participant” within the Champions League this season, however with 41 objectives in 41 video games for Actual throughout all competitions this additionally makes him “favorite to win the Ballon d’Or”.
Forward of the primary leg, Man Metropolis midfielder İlkay Gündoğan mentioned Benzema has “every little thing it takes” to win the Ballon d’Or. And his possibilities of scooping the award in 2022 may need been improved by a “change of standards which implies gamers will now be judged over the course of a typical membership season moderately than a calendar yr”, mentioned James Walker-Roberts on Eurosport.
Actual Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti has commonly praised the skipper for his management and for setting an instance to the remainder of the squad. “He has a lot persona,” Ancelotti mentioned after Actual’s win at Chelsea earlier this month. “He is aware of he’s an important participant right here. Karim improves day by day like a high quality wine.”