SPORT: Football
Benzema’s brilliant hat-trick stuns Messi and friends in incredible match.

Ben­ze­ma secured the third Cham­pi­ons League hat-trick of his glit­ter­ing career which includ­ed two goals in 105 sec­onds to pull his side back from the brink of an embar­rass­ing knock out.

PSG super­star Mbappe looks cer­tain to join his France team-mate in Spain next sea­son and show­cased his own supreme tal­ent with a goal in the first half that looked to have put his team through to the last eight.

But a stun­ning col­lapse in the sec­ond-half saw 13-times Euro­pean cham­pi­ons Madrid steam­roller their way into the quar­ter finals.

It also con­demned PSG’s for­mer Tot­ten­ham boss Mauri­cio Pochet­ti­no to more Cham­pi­ons League heart­break after los­ing the 2019 final with Spurs.

Mbappe, 23, could only look on in hor­ror as he watched his defence crum­ble after his good work in the first half appeared to put them on course for a first win at Madrid’s famous Bern­abeu Stadium.

It was his first match there too and a classy goal after 39 min­utes was the per­fect way to show what is to come when he plays there every week next sea­son in what is being lined up as a sen­sa­tion­al free trans­fer when his con­tract in Paris expires.

But old war­rior Ben­ze­ma, 34, proved there is no sub­sti­tute for expe­ri­ence as he kept a cool while Paris Saint-Ger­main lost theirs and he swung the tie back in Madrid’s favour on a remark­able night in Europe.

Mbappe’s inter­na­tion­al team-mate has now scored 79 Cham­pi­ons League goals but few will have been as impor­tant as these to see his team through to vic­to­ry and ease the pres­sure on man­ag­er Car­lo Ancelotti.

Par­tic­u­lar­ly as Madrid looked dead and buried at half time thanks to a clin­i­cal strike by Mbappe which was both ruth­less and rapid.

He latched onto a sweep­ing counter attack­ing clear­ance by Brazil­ian Ney­mar from inside his own half then raced through and shim­mied before plant­i­ng a right foot shot to beat Thibaut Cour­tois at the near post.

Five min­utes ear­li­er a nar­row VAR deci­sion had ruled out anoth­er goal for a play­er tout­ed as arguably the best in the world at the moment.

Mbappe also strayed off­side in the sec­ond half to be denied a classy sec­ond goal when he per­formed a cheeky step over to beat Cour­tois again.

Just after the hour he was lucky to get away with­out a foul on PSG keep­er Gian­lui­gi Don­narum­ma but did enough to get the entire defence in a flap and after a goal­mouth scram­ble buried a shot from inside the box to make it 2–1 on aggregate.

In the 64th minute Ben­ze­ma was unlucky when a clas­sic num­ber nine’s head­er curled just past the post but with PSG in full retreat he did not have to wait long for anoth­er pop at goal.

With 14 min­utes to go and Pochettino’s team rock­ing, Ben­ze­ma turned onto a through ball by Luka Mod­ric to fire the equalis­er via a deflection.

Straight from the kick off, anoth­er mis­placed pass by now ter­ri­fied PSG and a clanger on the edge of the box by Mar­quin­hos. Ben­ze­ma stayed calm to cut a deft shot inside the post to seal an amaz­ing victory.

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