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CL: Benzema keeps Real Madrid despite 4-3 loss to Manchester City | Football News

It was the best of penalties on the finish of one of many wildest matches in Champions League historical past.

With his cheekily dispatched “Panenka,” Karim Benzema would possibly simply have stored Real Madrid’s probabilities alive in opposition to Manchester City within the semifinals.

City gained a breathless first-leg match 4-3 at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday however squandered so many probabilities in an end-to-end, basketball-style epic that it hardly felt like a victory for the English membership.

“We could have killed them off,” stated Phil Foden, considered one of City’s 4 scorers in a sport that had just about every little thing.

City constructed a two-goal lead 3 times however simply couldn’t shake off Madrid, the kings of the competitors — as City supervisor Pep Guardiola calls them.

So it felt inevitable that when Aymeric Laporte gave away a penalty with 10 minutes remaining, Madrid would not waste the chance to return to Santiago Bernabeu for subsequent week’s second leg with, one way or the other, solely a one-goal deficit.

Just when many contained in the stadium had been dropping their heads, Benzema stored his, chipping the ball excessive and straight down the center earlier than wheeling away in entrance of Madrid’s jubilant followers together with his arms outstretched.

“The most important thing is we never lay down our arms,” Benzema stated. “We are all in this until the end.”

With the France striker in its group, Madrid won’t ever lose hope.

His double right here — after back-to-back hat methods earlier within the knockout stage — took his whole within the Champions League this season to a competition-high 14 objectives. Benzema now has 41 objectives in all competitions in probably the most prolific season of his career.

Without him, Madrid in all probability wouldn’t be nonetheless in with an opportunity of a record-extending 14th European Cup title.

“Madrid is just Madrid,” Guardiola said. “It doesn’t matter if you are one goal, two goals or three goals ahead.”

Guardiola did not have a nasty phrase to say about his group, although. “Exceptional” was his verdict.

But he absolutely is aware of City ought to be out of sight and already making ready for a second straight look within the closing and the possibility to avenge final year’s loss to Chelsea.

The English champions led 2-0 after 11 minutes, with Kevin De Bruyne making a late run into the field to head dwelling Riyad Mahrez’s cross and Gabriel Jesus — retained within the group after scoring 4 objectives in opposition to Watford within the Premier League on Saturday — producing a coolly taken end after spinning David Alaba following De Bruyne’s cross.

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti lost 5-0 on his earlier go to to the Etihad — with Everton on the ultimate day of final season’s Premier League — and City appeared like scoring simply as many, if no more.

With Madrid fielding a ball-playing midfield — of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde — that lacked the chew of injured Casemiro, City lower by the guests at will and may have been additional clear earlier than Benzema steered a volley in off the put up from Ferland Mendy’s cross within the thirty third.

Riyad Mahrez wasted gilt-edged probabilities both aspect of Benzema’s objective to depart Guardiola enraged on the sideline, the primary within the twenty sixth when he swung wildly when one-on-one with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and hit the sidenetting, after which simply after the restart when he raced by once more and curled in opposition to the put up.

It would have come as a aid to Mahrez that Foden restored City’s two-goal lead within the 53rd, heading dwelling a cross from the overlapping Fernandinho — the 36-year-old membership captain who went on at proper again for the injured John Stones close to the top of the primary half.

Back got here Madrid two minutes later, with Vinicius Junior turning Fernandinho — exhibiting his fallibility in an unfamiliar position — close to the midway line and sprinting down the left earlier than reducing in and putting a shot past Ederson. Laporte selected not to shut down Vinicius, as an alternative overlaying the potential cross right into a center, although that would not be his greatest mistake of the evening.

The probabilities stored coming, largely for City, earlier than Bernardo Silva curled a rising shot contained in the close to put up after quick-witted referee Istvan Kovacs determined to play the benefit following a foul on Oleksandr Zinchenko exterior the realm.

Benzema had the ultimate say, nonetheless, like he has so many instances on this season’s competitors, and Madrid has renewed perception of reaching a primary closing since 2018.

“It is a defeat,” Ancelotti stated, “that leaves us alive in the second leg.”

This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content. Only the headline has been modified.

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