Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema proved his class against a compact Manchester City side in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final round at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.
During the game, Manchester City scored two early goals courtesy of Kevin de Bruyne in the second minute and Gabriel Jesus in the 11th minute. The 34-year-old French striker got one back in the 33rd minute to inspire his team to fight back.
At the end of a thrilling encounter, Manchester City which missed a series of goalscoring opportunities beat the Spanish La Liga table-toppers 4-3.
The good news in the defeat was that Real Madrid was able to keep the goal deficit to just one goal which could make their job in the second leg of the tie on May 4 a bit easier.
Of course, one of the players in coach Carlo Ancelotti’s squad that ensured that the scoreline is as slimmed as it ended was Karim Benzema. Towards the 81st minute of the game, Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte committed a handball in his team’s eighteen-yard box which led to a spot-kick.
As expected, Karim Benzema was called upon to take the spot-kick in the intense moment. Despite the loud whistling from the home fans, Benzema did not only keep his calm, he decided to use the hardest style of spot-kicks, the Panenka penalty and converted it beautifully.
Ice in his veins 🥶🥶🥶 pic.twitter.com/R66XKhKer2— Malik Shakoor Ullah (@malikshakoor000) April 26, 2022
He chose the style after losing two penalties in a La Liga game which was against Osasuna on April 20, 2022. Fortunately for him, Real Madrid ended up winning the league match 3-1.
Pep's reaction to Benzema's penalty 😅 pic.twitter.com/yrEp6RPrst— GOAL (@goal) April 26, 2022
After the Champions League game against Manchester City, reporters asked Karim Benzema why he chose to use the Panenka penalty technique to convert the spot-kick at such a tense moment, the Frenchman said his mental confidence was the secret behind his decision to use the Panenka penalty.
“I always have it in my head that if you don’t take a penalty, you will never miss a penalty”, Benzema said.
“That’s mental confidence, that’s all. I have a lot of confidence in myself so I do it and it turns out well.
“Now we have to go to the Bernabeu [for the second leg] and we will need our fans like never before and we are going to do something magical, which is winning.”
While his coach, Carlo Ancelotti said: “I think he changed because the last two penalties were not good. He tried in training, I didn’t know how he would shoot.
“He chose this [Panenka] and he did really well, showing strong personality and character. It’s not easy in the semi-final of the Champions League to shoot a penalty like this.”
Mesut Ozil join the bandwagon to urge those behind the Ballon d’Or to give the 2022 edition of the award to Karim Benzema
After Karim Benzema scored two goals in Manchester City’s 4-3 victory over Real Madrid on Tuesday, April 26, his former teammate at Real Madrid, Mesut Ozil urged the organizers of football’s most prestigious award, Ballon d’Or to give the award to the Frenchman.
Ozil who is now contracted to Fenerbahce played alongside Benzema at Real Madrid between 2010 and 2013 before the 33-year-old German midfielder moved to Arsenal.
In his tweet on Tuesday night, after the UEFA Champions League match between Manchester City and Real Madrid, Ozil wrote: “What a fantastic game. Give my boy Benzi the Ballon D’Or.”
So far in the 2021-2022 season, Benzema has played 41 games in all competitions in which he scored a whopping 41 goals and provided 13 assists for Real Madrid.
Benzema who reportedly earns £170,000 per week as a player for Real Madrid has until June 30, 2023, before his contract with the Spanish giants expires. The transfer market value of the 34-year-old Frenchman is €25 million.