Karim Benzema believes Real Madrid can produce “something magical” to avenge their Champions League semi-final first-leg loss to Manchester City when the two teams meet again next week in the return fixture.
On Tuesday night, City won a thrilling 4-3 contest at the Etihad Stadium in one of the most famous European Cup matchups ever.
The Premier League champions went up 2-0 in the second minute, with Kevin de Bruyne breaking the deadlock and Gabriel Jesus quickly extending their lead. Benzema halved the deficit with a brilliant effort in the 33rd minute before Phil Foden headed home an unguarded goal just after halftime to restore City’s two-goal lead. Vinicius Jr made it 3-2 two minutes later with a fantastic strike after turning Fernandinho inside out.
With a magnificent shot in the 73rd minute, Bernardo Silva gave City breathing room, but Benzema equalized from the penalty spot after Aymeric Laporte handled inside the box.
Six days after missing two penalties in one La Liga encounter, the Frenchman dinked a brilliantly executed Panenka as a symbol of his burgeoning confidence.
With the tie poised for a tense second leg, Benzema has urged Real Madrid and the club’s supporters to turn the Bernabeu into a fortress next Wednesday, as the Spanish giants seek a record-extending 14th European Cup.
“We are very enthused about the Champions League, so a loss is never pleasant. The most essential thing is that we never drop our arms; we’re all in this together until the end “Benzema, 33, expressed his thoughts.
“Now we have to go to the Bernabeu, where we will need our fans more than before, and we will do something spectacular, which is win.”
Karim Benzema is having the most productive season of his illustrious career. With his double versus City, he now has 41 goals in 41 appearances across all competitions, surpassing Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski as the Champions League’s leading goalscorer with 14.
After having two penalty kicks saved against Osasuna last Wednesday, Benzema’s penalty was particularly impressive.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti was delighted with his team’s response after falling behind 2-0 early in the match but maintained that they must improve their defense in the second leg if they are to advance to the final.