“As a football fan, it was a great football match,” Real Madrid director Carlo Ancelotti told reporters.
“As the coach of Real Madrid, I have to bear in mind that … we conceded two early goals. But we took three goals to the Bernabéu. Now we hope to reach the final.”
Kevin De Bruyne’s superb stopper header gave City the lead after just 94 seconds. When Gabriel Jesus turned inside the penalty area to double the home side’s lead in the 11th minute, it looked as if Real Madrid were going to have a grueling evening. The 13-time champion, the most successful club in the tournament’s history, had not conceded two goals so quickly in the Champions League before.
City, who were looking to win the Champions League for the first time, were stunning and should have gone 3-0 up, but Pep Guardiola’s side couldn’t convert the promising opportunities, and Real Madrid responded – Benzema drove the ball into the bottom corner to cut the deficit in half before rest.
Eight minutes into the second half, City scored a new goal, Phil Foden nodded from Fernandinho’s cross, before Vinicius Junior scored a superb goal to make the score 3-2.
However, more goals and drama were to come.
In the 74th minute, Bernardo Silva beat Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with a powerful shot in the top corner, then Benzema scored his second goal of the night – a penalty that will be repeated again and again.
Aymeric Laporte was penalized for his handling in the area and Benzema stepped up with a “Panenka” penalty – a spot-kick down the middle – eight minutes from time.
The Frenchman had missed two penalty kicks in Real’s La Liga win over Osasuna six days ago, so attempting a penalty kick in such a tight situation was incredible.
Commenting on BBC Radio 5 Live, former England striker Alan Shearer said: “All I could do was chuckle and think, ‘I can’t believe Karim Benzema just did that’… The audacity! It was incredible.”
It was a perfect way to end a special night.
“It was a great game for both sides,” Guardiola told reporters.