Karim Benzema scored a stunning hat-trick as Real Madrid beat PSG 3-1 to overturn a first-leg deficit and qualify for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Coming into the game, Real Madrid had their task cut out after having lost the first leg 1-0 at Parc des Princes. And Los Blancos showed a lot of intent to find an early goal but ended up playing into PSG’s hands as it allowed the visitors to counter through Kylian Mbappe, with Thibaut Courtois having to make a few saves. At the other end, Karim Benzema called Gianluigi Donnarumma into action with a curling effort.
Mbappe put the ball into the net shortly after but saw it ruled out for offside in the buildup. However, the Real Madrid transfer target made his mark at the Santiago Bernabeu moments after the half-hour mark, finishing off a brilliant counterattacking move after being sent through by Neymar. Benzema missed a couple of headed efforts at the other end as the Merengues went into half-time trailing 2-0 on aggregate.
Mbappe was in the thick of things again early in the second half, as he beat Courtois with a clever dummy but had strayed offside. Real Madrid found their opening at the hour mark when Benzema forced Donnarumma into a mistake before slotting the ball into the back of the net from Vinicius Junior’s cutback. It could have been 2-1 on the night soon after, but the Brazilian blazed a shot over from the bar.
However, the miss did not come to haunt Real Madrid as Benzema tucked home his second after some neat exchanges on the edge of the box to make it 2-1 on the night and 2-2 on aggregate in the 75th minute. Seconds later, Los Blancos forced a turnover from the resulting kickoff and made their way to the PSG area where Benzema was present to find the back of the net again to bag his hat-trick and complete a spectacular turnaround for his side.
📊| This was the 24th time Real Madrid won a tie in European Competitions after losing the first leg.
— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) March 10, 2022
PSG huffed and puffed in search of another goal, but Real Madrid held on for a memorable comeback win, progressing to the quarter-finals. As for Les Parisiens, it was another shock capitulation from a star-studded side which is set to turn up the pressure on manager Mauricio Pochettino and potentially force Mbappe’s exit in the summer. Here are our player ratings for both sets of players after an epic encounter at the Bernabeu.
Thibaut Courtois: 7/10
The Belgian international, who was the hero for Real Madrid in the first leg, was kept busy by Mbappe in the first half as he made two good saves before being beaten by the Frenchman. Things calmed down for him after the break as PSG capitulated.
Dani Carvajal: 5/10
The Spaniard tried to get forward much more than he had done in the first leg and provided a good attacking outlet. However, that left his flank exposed, which Mbappe exploited time and again.
Eder Militao: 7/10
The Real Madrid centre-back was caught out of position in the buildup to the first-half strike from PSG. But apart from that blip, he was solid as usual, making several crucial interventions to deny Lionel Messi and Neymar while also covering for Carvajal on the right.
David Alaba: 7/10
Don’t you sit in our chair! pic.twitter.com/lmJAMyM8UD
— David Alaba (@David_Alaba) March 9, 2022
The former Bayern Munich superstar is proving to be a top signing for Real Madrid. Alaba kept things organised at the back and was clever with his reading of the game to thwart PSG on occasions. He made a huge block to deny Mbappe in the second half. Perhaps the best moment was when he was hilariously spotted celebrating the third goal with a chair!
Coming into the side in place of the suspended Ferland Mendy, Nacho was solid in his defensive duties on the left side and kept things largely in check without really standing out. The veteran defender did not offer much going forward, though.
Federico Valverde: 7/10
Getting the nod due to Casemiro’s suspension, Valverde stepped up on the night and put in a workhorse-like display in the middle of the park for Real Madrid. The Uruguayan was always at hand to try and close down the opponents and was key to them controlling the game after half-time.
Toni Kroos: 5.5/10
Rushed back from injury, the German international did not look at his best even though he played four key passes. PSG did not have any problems playing around him, and he could not impose his authority in midfield. Kroos was taken off in the second half.
Luka Modric: 7.5/10
36-year-old Luka Modric picked up the ball from his own box, dribbled past the entire PSG mid and sent a perfect through ball to Vinicius Jr.
Modric finished off the move by assisting Benzema's second.
We are all witnesses 🤯👏 pic.twitter.com/LThiNkk9tN
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 9, 2022
The veteran midfielder had a difficult first half when he tried to drive the team forward, but it did not always lead to anything substantial. But Modric upped his game in the later stages, especially after the first equaliser. He played a fine pass into Vinicius before receiving the ball back and setting Benzema up with a sublime through ball for the second goal. The ex-Tottenham man also made four tackles and two clearances.
Marco Asensio: 4/10
A poor display from the Spanish ace who struggled to get into the game throughout his time on the pitch. His movement was lacking, his shooting was bad, and he never really got going. He was taken off close to the hour mark.
Karim Benzema: 9/10
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Benzema showed his true class and quality on the night, inspiring Real Madrid to a stunning comeback victory. In the first half, the veteran striker drew a fine save from Donnarumma but failed to connect neatly with a couple of headed chances before the break. In the second period, however, he was simply unstoppable.
The football world took notice of Karim Benzema’s magical Champions League display ✨ pic.twitter.com/kd6I3SEaiD
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 10, 2022
He pressed the PSG goalkeeper and forced him into a mistake before beating him to make it 1-0. Benzema then produced two quality finishes in quick succession to nail the victory for his team and achieve progress to the next round. Simply sensational.
Vinicius Junior: 7.5/10
Lively from the off, the Brazilian’s runs and dribbling put PSG under pressure throughout, with Achraf Hakimi struggling to contain him. There were a couple of moments when he should have held his composure better inside the box, but it was still a dazzling display. Vinicius set Benzema up for the first goal and then had a hand in the other two strikes as well.
Eduardo Camavinga: 7.5/10
Camavinga replaced Kroos in the 58th minute and slotted in the middle of the park, Camavinga was crucial to Real Madrid’s second-half display. He added more energy and intensity to their gameplay while freeing Modric to push forward more regularly. His passing was always positive, and he was not shy of putting in the hard yards defensively.
Rodrygo Goes: 7/10
He came on for Asensio in the 58th minute and was a massive upgrade on the Spaniard. Rodrygo was clever in his movements to create space for his teammates, while his link-up play was sharp in the final third. The Brazilian also provided defensive support when required.
Lucas Vazquez: 6/10
Sent on in place of Vazquez in the 67th minute. Held things together in the final stages.
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 5/10
— Karim (@Futball_Karim) March 9, 2022
Preferred over former Real Madrid man Keylor Navas, Donnarumma pulled off a fine save to deny Benzema in the first half. But he undid his good work in the second half when he practically gifted the equaliser to Real Madrid when he played a poor pass straight to Vinicius when put under pressure by Benzema. He was booked for dissent.
Achraf Hakimi: 5.5/10
The ex-Real Madrid ace began well and positively influenced the proceedings in the first period. But, like the rest of the defence, he fell apart after the break, with Vinicius enjoying a lot of joy against him. Hakimi played Benzema onside for the second goal.
The PSG captain had a stinker at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night. Marquinhos almost gifted Real Madrid a goal in the first half with an unnecessary backheel in his own box. He then saw Benzema’s effort deflect off of him for the second goal before passing the ball straight to the Frenchman for the third strike. He could not hold it together under pressure.
Presnel Kimpembe: 3/10
The French centre-back never looked comfortable when Real Madrid players ran at him and looked shaky throughout the night. Kimpembe was nowhere to be seen leading up to the first goal and failed to close Modric down in the build-up for the second.
Nuno Mendes: 5/10
The youngster was flying in the first half, making the most of the space left behind by Carvajal. He played the cross leading to Mbappe’s goal but had strayed marginally offside, leading to it getting chalked off. However, he lost his composure after the break and could not deal with the pressure from the home team, showing his inexperience at this level.
Danilo Pereira: 6/10
The Portuguese international stuck to his task and defended well, for the most part, covering for Hakimi regularly on the right side and keeping Vinicius at bay. However, like the rest of the team, he could not cope in the final 15 minutes or so.
Leandro Paredes: 6.5/10
Booked very early in the game for dissent, but the midfielder held it together and went about his job resolutely in the middle of the park. Paredes also kept things ticking along nicely when in possession. He was taken off after Real Madrid equalised, soon after which PSG capitulated.
Marco Verratti: 7/10
🇮🇹 Marco Verratti had more touches (120) and completed more passes (94) than any other player on the pitch in the Real Madrid vs PSG game.
— Mozo Football (@MozoFootball) March 9, 2022
The Italian international was key to PSG controlling proceedings in the first period and the early parts of the second half. He showed his quality on the ball and was aggressive when not in possession. But Verratti was outplayed after he lost the support of Paredes alongside him.
Lionel Messi: 6/10
He started off well, taking up good positions and creating a few early chances while he himself had a go at goal. However, Messi completely faded in the second half as Real Madrid took the game to PSG.
Kylian Mbappe: 8/10
Having recovered from a knock he picked up in training, Mbappe looked unstoppable from the get-go, causing Real Madrid all sorts of problems, drawing applause from the home support on occasions as well. His pace posed a huge threat to the Merengues, and he scored the first goal of the game to put PSG in the driving seat. He also had two goals ruled out for offside and drew a few saves from Courtois. He did not deserve to be on the losing side.
Even in defeat, Kylian Mbappe showed how good he is 🤩 pic.twitter.com/lJp5KmsZwX
— GOAL (@goal) March 10, 2022
Not as threatening as he can be, but the Brazilian showed some moments of quality early on when he linked up with Messi leading to a chance for the latter before assisting Mbappe for the opening goal with a brilliant first-time pass. But Neymar failed to sustain the same level throughout the game.
Idrissa Gueye: 4/10
He replaced Paredes for the final twenty minutes or so but could not cope with Real Madrid’s pressure in the final stages.
Angel Di Maria: N/A
On for Danilo with ten minutes left. Di Maria could not turn the tide.
Julian Draxler: N/A
He was sent on for Hakimi late in the game.