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Analysing Benzema’s insane recent record in Champions League knockout ties

Karim Benzema continued his extraordinary recent record in the Champions League last week after scoring the opener in Real Madrid’s win over Chelsea at the Bernabeu.

Benzema’s performances in last season’s competition led Real Madrid to another European crown, with his contribution to the Spaniards’ success recognised with the Ballon d’Or.

The France international – the third-highest goalscorer in Champions League history – has began this season’s knockout stage in similar fashion and has now scored 14 goals in his last NINE knockout round ties.

 

We look at Benzema’s insane recent record in the Champions League.

Back-to-back Champions League hat-tricks

Benzema’s brilliant run of form began during last season’s knockout rounds, with the Frenchman the inspiration for an incredible Real Madrid run.

The Spanish giants looked set to crash out of the competition, as Carlo Ancelotti’s side trailed 2-0 on aggregate to Paris Saint-Germain at half-time of their second leg at the Bernabeu.

Enter, Benzema.

The forward scored a stunning second-half hat-trick as Real Madrid produced a thrilling fightback, capitalising on a mistake from Gianluigi Donnarumma to score his first and instil belief in the Bernabeu.

He scored a second to level the tie after Luka Modric’s driving run, before leaving PSG shellshocked with a hat-trick goal just seconds after the restart. It was a compelling comeback from Real Madrid, one which set the tone for their run to the final.

Benzema then became just the third player to score consecutive Champions League hat-tricks, as his treble at Chelsea left the west Londoners with a huge challenge to reach the last four.

Benzema was too good and too clinical for the Premier League side in a masterful centre-forward performance at Stamford Bridge.

Two wonderful headers put Real Madrid in control, before Edouard Mendy gifted the forward his third to restore the Spanish side’s two-goal lead after Kai Havertz had pulled one back for Chelsea.

Chelsea threatened a fightback in the second leg and forced the tie into extra-time, where the contest was settled, predictably, by another Benzema goal.

Benzema brilliance settles classic with City

Real Madrid marched onto the semi-finals and again faced English opposition in Manchester City. An established giant against a modern superpower, it resulted in a classic Champions League contest.

Manchester City dominated the first leg at the Etihad, but were unable to establish a comfortable lead due to Benzema’s clinical touch. Each time the game threatened to get away from Real Madrid, Benzema found his side a route back into it.

Benzema’s late Panenka penalty – his second goal of the game – saw the game finish 4-3 in City’s favour, before a return that provided just as much drama as the Spanish side staged another late fightback.

Riyad Mahrez’s goal looked set to send City into a second successive final as the return headed into stoppage time, but Rodrygo’s dramatic late brace sent the tie into extra-time. In a chaotic clash it was Benzema who kept his cool in the added period, scoring his 43rd goal of the season from the penalty spot to send Real Madrid into the final.

Final success and Liverpool rematch

Benzema failed to find the net in the final as his remarkable run came to an end, but Vinicius Junior’s goal against Liverpool saw Real Madrid crowned champions of Europe for the 14th time. It was a fifth winners’ medal for Benzema, with only Paco Gento (6) having ever won the competition on more occasions.

The 2022/23 season saw Real Madrid face Liverpool in a rematch of the previous season’s final. The first leg began in nightmare fashion for the Spanish side as Liverpool raced into a two-goal lead, but Los Blancos are masters of keeping their cool and again showed their powers of recovery at Anfield.

Vinicius Junior’s brace and an Eder Militao header turned the game around, before Benzema took the tie away from Liverpool. The French forward scored twice as Real Madrid recorded an emphatic win, his first deflected in off Joe Gomez before an ice-cold finish after good work from Luka Modric.

He then scored the only goal of the game as Real Madrid won the return to progress 6-2 on aggregate.

Chelsea goal extends recent record

Benzema made it 14 goals in his last nine knockout round appearances against Chelsea last week, scoring the opener as Real Madrid secured a 2-0 first leg advantage.

Benzema’s goal was his 90th in the Champions League and ensured the holders got off to a dream start against the Premier League side. Marco Asensio added a second to put Real Madrid in control of the tie, ahead of the second leg at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening.

Benzema has previous when it comes to big European nights in west London.

Read – Four talking points ahead of this week’s Champions League action

Read Also – Five of Chelsea’s greatest Champions League nights at Stamford Bridge

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