Karim Benzema has 41 goals this season in all competitions.
What should you do after missing three penalties in the last month? What you do in a Champions League semi-final is score a Panenka.
That’s what Karim Benzema did, at least.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema showed steely nerves by converting a penalty kick over Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson to make it 4-3 in the first-leg tie at Etihad Stadium.
The casualness characterized a thrilling contest between two European giants, which featured furious attacking football throughout.
“Ice cool, this guy,” former England defender Rio Ferdinand remarked on BT Sport. “He’s won four Champions League championships. He would’ve still executed it even if it was in the final minute.”
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Benzema had missed two penalties in Real Madrid’s win against Osasuna six days prior, but Tuesday he scored his ninth goal in his past four Champions League games.
“I always tell myself that if you don’t take a penalty, you won’t miss a penalty,” Benzema explained.
“That’s all it is, mental confidence; I believe in myself, I do it, and it works out beautifully.”
“Presently, we need to go to the Bernabeu [for the second leg], and we won’t require our fans like ever previously, and we will accomplish something mysterious, which is winning.”
Ex-England striker Alan Shearer chuckled on BBC Radio 5 Live discourse as he watched Benzema’s punishment go in.
“There’s nothing left but to laugh and think, ‘I can’t accept that Karim Benzema has recently done that.’ Its sheer pomposity yet. In addition, the conviction and the capacity to do that,” said Shearer.
“He is by all accounts improving. The daringness! It was unimaginable.”
‘He transformed it in preparing Karim Benzema to score in the 33rd and 82nd minutes at the Etihad.
City went 2-0 up just 11 minutes at Etihad Stadium, but they wasted many big chances before Benzema equalized for Real before halftime.
Phil Foden of City and Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid scored in succession as the visitors fought back before Bernardo Silva put the hosts 4-2 ahead.
Real Madrid’s late penalty ensured they only trailed by one goal going into the second leg. Manager Carlo Ancelotti feels Benzema modified his approach after missing two penalty penalties last week.
“I believe he altered because the past two penalties were not excellent. He changed and attempted it in training because I had no idea how he would shoot,” Ancelotti explained.
“He chose this, and it works out extremely well; has a strong attitude and character, and it’s not easy to score a penalty in the Champions League semi-final.”
Benzema would have been in danger if he had missed, according to former Real Madrid and City winger Steve McManaman.
“He missed two against Osasuna in his last game, and he must’ve assumed Ederson would be studying where he was trying to put the ball.”
“He hasn’t done a Panenka before, so instead of going left or right, he must’ve thought, ‘Now is the time.’ They were 4-2 down at the time, so he knows he’ll get slammed.”
Benzema has scored 41 goals that season across all competitions, including 14 in the Champions League. For that leagues, you can wager on OKBET.
“Let’s hope he finishes the season strong, winning the league, the Champions League, and the Ballon d’Or,” Vinicius remarked.
That does not appear to be a stretch based on the evidence.