KARIM BENZEMA showed Kylian Mbappe what it takes to become a Real Madrid legend with a stunning solo rescue act.
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 exit.
Karim Benzema soaks up the adulation of the crowdCredit: Reuters
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.
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.
Madrid produced pure pandemoniumCredit: Reuters
Benzema celebrates on a special night for Real MadridCredit: EPA
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 then 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.
But if there is any doubt in Mbappe’s mind about leaving Pochettino in Paris come May it was erased with the way PSG simply imploded in a pile of shredded nerves after half time.
Benzema nets his first of the eveningCredit: EPA
Kylian Mbappe finished past Thibaut CourtoisCredit: Getty
Benzema had gone close in the first half to send out a warning that he would not give up then got to work in the second.
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 comeback victory.
The PSG ace didn’t hold back in his celebrationsCredit: AFP
Jubilant PSG stars revel in their opening goalCredit: AFP
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