Karim Benzema hit a hat-trick in the space of 18 second-half minutes as Real Madrid came from 2-0 down on aggregate to stun Paris and seal a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Kylian Mbappé’s jet-heels were propelling Paris on a direct course to the last eight for the first hour in Madrid. The 23-year-old doubled the French side’s advantage with his second of the tie and was looking unplayable, with two more efforts chalked off for offside.
Another goal appeared only a matter of time and it duly came – at the other end. Gianluigi Donnarumma dallied fatally and the opportunistic Benzema blocked, the ball spinning for Vinícius Júnior, who duly returned it to his senior partner for a simple finish.
Fifteen minutes later, thanks to the abolition of away goals rule, the tie was level as Benzema collected Luka Modrić’s pass and fired in. If Paris had been rocking before they were all at sea now and Benzema completed the turnaround straight from the kick-off after another Vinícius Júnior assist.
Mauricio Pochettino, Paris coach: “The[ir] first goal completely changed the game. For an hour, we were better than Real Madrid. The atmosphere changed in the stadium. We were the better side, but we lost the tie in ten minutes.”
Carlo Ancelotti, Madrid coach: “[Benzema’s] first goal was key. It changed the dynamic of the game, of the fans. After that, we controlled the game, we pressed.”
Marquinhos, Paris captain: “It’s tough to explain. Over the two games, we deserved better – but we paid dearly for our mistakes.”
Karim Benzema, Madrid forward: “It was a very difficult game but we pushed till the end and deserve the win.”