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Karim Benzema believes Real Madrid need another special night at the Santiago Bernabeu to progress to the Champions League final following their 4-3 loss to Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s side were 2-0 up inside 11 minutes at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday as a thrilling semi-final first leg got off to a flying start.
Benzema’s double – only his Panenka in the 82nd minute matching the degree of difficulty from a finish around body in the 33rd – ultimately helped Real Madrid limit the damage.
The 34-year-old called upon his club’s fans to help them get to May’s final in Paris.
“There are 90 minutes at the Bernabeu for the fans to make a difference again,” Benzema told Movistar+. “We leave here with our heads held high to play a good game in the return leg. The fans leave proud.
“We have to keep our heads calm and see what we have to do to improve, a little of everything and especially at the beginning of games.”
Benzema’s brace against the Premier League leaders made him the fifth player in the Madrid’s history to score over 40 goals in a single season, after Cristian Ronaldo, Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano and Hugo Sanchez.
City were dominant against a Madrid side who badly missed Casemiro at the base of midfield, however, with Toni Kroos’ defensive vulnerability a key factor in three of City’s goals.
As has been the case during the knockout stage this season, in a game certainly not short on drama, Carlo Ancelotti’s side managed to simply find a way to stay alive with a result that defied logic.
“A defeat is never good, but we are excited about this Champions League and the important thing is we never give up,” Benzema said. “Now we have to go to the Bernabeu and we need the fans like never before to do something magical, which is to win.
“We entered the game without confidence, and that’s what happens with an opponent like Manchester City. In this game a little bit of everything was missing.”