Karim Benzema’s hat-trick secures Champions League quarter-final advantage

Chelsea must reverse a two-goal lead against Real Madrid after Karim Benzema’s hat-trick won a 3-1 quarter-final first-leg win at Stamford Bridge.

After losing last season’s semi-final against Thomas Tuchel’s defending European champions, Benzema scored twice in three first-half minutes at a rain-soaked Stamford Bridge.

Edouard Mendy exited his area and sent an under-hit cross to Antonio Rudiger, setting up Benzema’s hat-trick winning goal.

Chelsea’s comeback attempts fell short, with the Blues’ Champions League defence hanging in the balance ahead of next week’s encounter at the Bernabeu.

Chelsea’s zeal to attack left chasms in midfield and at the back for Real Madrid to exploit, which they almost did after 10 minutes when Vinicius Junior hit the crossbar.

On 21 minutes, Vinicius’ third successful take-on against Andreas Christensen resulted in a cross into the area that Benzema firmly headed in at the near post.

Three minutes later, Benzema headed home Luka Modric’s sublime cross to surprise Stamford Bridge and jeopardize Chelsea’s Champions League defence.

Eder Militao headed a corner straight at Mendy before Dani Carvajal’s attempt wiggled agonizingly under the Chelsea goalie and Christensen frantically cleared.

Five minutes before the interval, Jorginho’s looping cross found Havertz, whose header escaped the diving Thibaut Courtois.

Chelsea’s hopes would last less than a minute after the break, as Benzema capitalized on Mendy’s error to intercept his poor pass to Rudiger and clinch his second consecutive Champions League hat-trick.

As Madrid resisted Chelsea’s frantic efforts to reclaim the tie, captain Cesar Azpilicueta forced a superb fingertip save from Courtois. Lukaku’s entrance on 64 minutes gave Chelsea hope, but he missed two good opportunities as Madrid held on to their first-leg advantage.

Leave a Reply