No one listened to Ancelotti when he stated there was no need to go insane, and why should they now? Suddenly, scores of individuals were rushing down the touchline following Karim Benzema, the Frenchman vanishing beneath a crush of bodies in the corner while 60,000 fans lost their minds all around them.
Another great European narrative was written, and how they won was hardly imaginable, perhaps even the most extraordinary of an extensive library of impossible tales at a club that specialized in unbelievable comebacks.
Real Madrid Invigorated With Benzema’s Performance
Madrid had been fortunate to be just one goal behind, thanks to a goal from the outstanding Kylian Mbappé, who they hope would one day share these evenings with them when Gianluigi Donnarumma’s blunder had provided them a lifeline they clung to.
Now Benzema has a hat-trick, moving him ahead of Alfredo Di Stéfano in the all-time scoring rankings and advancing Madrid to the quarter-finals.
Real Madrid’s first was amusing, and PSG’s second was comic book-like, with 36-year-old Luka Modric fleeing from his area to PSG’s, pursued by blue shirts. He played in Benzema there via Vinicius to put Real Madrid in front and even on aggregate. When Madrid scored the third goal, Benzema deftly guiding home, there was hardly time to process it. Pandemonium ensued. The remainder of this will take considerably longer to process. That will be true in Madrid and Paris, which will be faced with yet another failure.
A failure that had seemed unimaginable for most of a match that Real Madrid’s Mbappé graced, despite its inexorable logic given the nature of the club. Real Madrid’s players knelt at the final whistle, making history.
It didn’t have to be this way, but it was much better. Ancelotti’s notion that they didn’t have to go insane because they only needed one seemed reasonable, but there was little logic in this, and they ended up needing three. They got them all in a second half that rocked the foundations of this place, obliterating all that had been witnessed in the first, when a frustrated flatness had taken hold.