• Friday, April 19, 2024
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Karim Benzema’s hat-trick overwhelms Chelsea in Champions League quarter-final first leg

Karim Benzema’s hat-trick overwhelms Chelsea in Champions League quarter-final first leg

Karim Benzema’s hat-trick has given Chelsea a mountain to climb at the Bernabeu in the second leg next week. Kai Havertz scored for the Blues, who squandered several good second-half chances.

Karim Benzema opened the scoring with a stunning header after Vinicius Jr’s cross from the left. Soon after, the French striker doubled the lead with another fine header from a cross by Luka Modric. Before halftime, Kai Havertz pulled one back, but an Edouard Mendy error allowed Benzema to score a third.

When Real Madrid’s second goal went in, it was the sixth unanswered goal at Stamford Bridge, dating back to the first of Brentford’s four on Saturday. That is a first in the reign of Roman Abramovich.

Read also: UEFA moves Champions League final from Russia to France amid conflict

Chelsea were six points behind at home the last time Ken Bates was chairman, and that was over a century ago. On December 26, 1997, Michael Hughes equalized for Wimbledon, and on January 4, 1998, Manchester United raced to a 5-0 lead in an FA Cup match. As they say, there’s been a lot of water under the Bridge since then.

Benzema capitalized on a blunder by Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to restore his team’s two-goal lead.

For Karim Benzema, a second consecutive Champions League hat-trick. For Chelsea, a milestone of a different sort.

Benzema was exactly what Chelsea thought they were buying in the summer when they recruited Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan. A big presence, swift of mind and movement, who could lead the line, and bully or lose defenders according to his fancy.