Real Madrid – PSG: Despite Mbappe, Benzema sends Real hat-trick to quarter-finals

Paris has burst, Paris has sunk. PSG lost on the lawn of Real Madrid in the round of 16 insanely and were eliminated from the Champions League on Wednesday evening (3-1). Despite their success in the first leg (1-0) and Kylian Mbappé’s opener in this second set (39th), the Parisians collapsed when Karim Benzema allowed an error by Gianluigi Donnarumma (61st). The Madrid striker even scored two more goals in seconds (76th and 77th) to send the Merengues to the quarter-finals.

Five years later, this double showdown has finally made a comeback. Only this time it took a long time to take shape because Paris was leading the debates. Admittedly, with Toni Kroos in line as sentry, the Merengues immediately wanted to go into the game very strongly by pressing high. However, the Parisians perfectly resisted the opposing intentions in the first quarter before putting their foot on the ball thanks to the technical mastery of Leandro Paredes, Marco Verratti and most notably Neymar and Lionel Messi.

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And yet there was Mbappe…

While La Pulga had finally reached the expected level, Mbappe posed a threat to the defense of Madrid thanks to his speed and Thibaut warned Courtois (8th, 13th). Benzema asked Donnaruma with a beautiful curling shot that fend off the Italian goalkeeper with the tip of the gloves (25th), but PSG held the lead and Messi set Courtois’ cage on fire (31st). Mbappé then thought to open the score, but his passer Nuno Mendes was offside (34th). Launched perfectly on the left by Neymar from his camp, the Frenchman returned to attack with more success, opening the score with a low shot between Courtois and his right post (0-1, 39th).

Donnarumma guilty, Marquinhos sinks with him

At halftime, Real Madrid slightly led the way at the start of the second half, while Paris remained threatening on the counterattack. Mbappe was thus narrowly thwarted in the zone of truth by David Alaba (56th). Carlo Ancelotti took matters into his own hands by launching Eduardo Camavinga and Rodrygo instead of Kroos and Marco Asensio (58th). The young Frenchman brought a new aggressiveness to midfield and his partners followed suit. Benzema pressed on Donnarumma who slowly kicked into his penalty area, the goalkeeper returned the ball to Vinicius, who then let the striker score from six yards while Marquinhos lost (1-1, 61st).

The match then turned into the irrational. The Bernabeu crowd caught fire, warning of Benzema claiming a foul to equalize, Donnarumma saw the ball pass next to his cage on a header from the Frenchman who had taken over Marquinhos (64th). Completely unable to restart, the Parisians suffered from Vinicius’ attack, even as the Brazilian missed the boat by six meters after an unfortunate deviation from Nuno Mendes (73rd). Launched by a reinforced Modric, the Brazilian returned to attack in the zone of truth, allowing the Croat to subtly serve Benzema for the double with a small cross to the right (2-1, 76th).

Overwhelmed and utterly lost, Mauricio Pochettino’s players barely had time to understand what was going on. Marquinhios came back to stop Vinicius who tumbled again in the Paris area, but sent the ball straight to Benzema, who quickly resumed for Presnel Kimpembe and scored a hat-trick (3-1, 78th). Despite the entry of Angel Di Maria who was quickly injured (80th), an axial free kick from Messi just over the goal (90th + 1) and final attempts from Mbappe, PSG were stunned and unable to get up. As at Camp Nou on March 8, 2017, he drowned in his sudden and unbelievable fever at the Bernabeu on March 9, 2022.

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