Monday 11 December 2017

Karim Benzema stole the show as Real Madrid progressed to the Champions League final

You need to see this skill from the Frenchman to set up Reald’s only goal in the second leg against Atletico.

By Kameron Virk

Whenever Real Madrid have featured in the Champions League this season it’s been the Cristiano Ronaldo show, but on Wednesday it was the man wearing Ronaldo’s first season shirt number that had people applauding.

Karim Benzema showed bewitching feet all over the pitch as Real beat Atletico Madrid 4-2 on aggregate, despite losing 2-1 on the night.

Atleti made the perfect start and were 2-0 up after 16 minutes, with it looking pretty certain that they’d be able to overturn the 3-0 first leg deficit. And then came Benzema.

The Frenchman had three players surrounding him and took it past two right on the touchline, before pulling it back for Toni Kroos to shoot.

Isco scored on the rebound, and just like that the final looked out of reach for Diego Simeone’s men.

There was no doubting who was to thank though.

Benzema, who’s got 51 goals in the Champions League – more than Thierry Henry and only less than four other players – hasn’t enjoyed the most successful of seasons.

But it looks like the fans are ready to forgive him for that given the magic he produced when it was needed.

Some think a lot of his work, which has produced 15 goals and four assists this season, goes unnoticed.

While others were very, very kind with their praise.

As for Atletico, they’re probably sick of the sight of Real – who they were playing for the very last time at the Vicente Calderon before moving to a new stadium.

It’s the fourth season in a row Simeone’s team has been eliminated by Los Blancos.

The victory for Real means Madrid they’ll meet Juventus in Cardiff for the final, in what will be their 15th ever in the European Cup – and where they have the chance to become the first team in the Champions League era to retain the trophy.

Press Association

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