Defending champions Chelsea are on the brink of a Champions League quarter-final elimination after suffering a 3-1 home defeat to Real Madrid in the first leg.
French striker, Karim Benzema, who downed Paros Saint Germain in the Round of 16, continued from where he left off by scoring a hattrick to crush the Blues at the Stamford Bridge Stadium on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old showed no sign of ageing when ger netted a brace in the space of three minutes (21', 24') to hand Carlo Ancelotti's side a 2-0 lead.
Kai Havertz halved the deficit in the 40th minute as Thomas Tuchel's side fought their way back into the game amid the club's challenges.
However, Ancelotti had the final laugh against Tuchel who is in the middle of a divorce battle when Karim Benzema completed his hattrick (46') to put the game to bed.
The defeat is Chelsea's second consecutive home defeat for only the second time under Thomas Tuchel, also doing so in April last year.
According to Google stats, Real Madrid have now beaten the reigning champions of the UEFA Champions League in each of their last four such encounters, and for the sixth time in total, now the outright most of any side in the history of the competition (Juventus 5).
Meanwhile, Benzema has now scored more goals(11) than any other Frenchman in a single European Cup/UEFA Champions League campaign, moving one clear of Just Fontaine’s 10-goal tally back in 1958-59.
Madrid head to the Bernabeu with a 3-1 advantage as they hope to finish off The Blues next week for a place in the semifinals.
Speaking after the game, Ancelotti said, “We had good control of the game, were dangerous on the counter-attack,” says Real’s manager in an interview with BT Sport. “It was a good night but it is only half-time and we have to look forwards.
“We showed good organisation, Benzema was fantastic. We found space between the lines. We have an advantage but on Tuesday it will be another game - they are the winners of the Champions League.”
Benzema added, “They’re magic nights, like the other day at the Bernabéu against Paris,” the Real striker tells Movistar Plus. “Today we came out to win, to show we’re Real Madrid. Things worked out well for us as we played well, from the first minute to the last.”
On his goals: “They’re very important goals. I’m happiest to have scored the third as I missed one in the first half and I was thinking about that chance because it’s very important to score goals. Then I got another and I’m very happy.”