Man City 4-3 Real Madrid: Karim Benzema produced the most incredible Panenka

Karim Benzema is the best player in world football right now.

Going into Real Madrid‘s Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City on Tuesday evening, the French striker had scored an astonishing 39 goals across all competitions.

And by the conclusion of a true European classic at the Etihad Stadium, he had 41 to his name.

Benzema scored twice in a 4-3 win for City on home turf and without his goals, Real Madrid would be virtually eliminated from the competition they’ve won a record 13 times.

The 34-year-old halved Los Blancos’ 2-0 deficit in the first half with a brilliant first-time finish and he then struck again when his team were 4-2 down late in the game.

Benzema was handed the chance to score from the penalty spot after Aymeric Laporte’s handball and he decided to produce something outrageous in front of the millions watching around the world.

The former Lyon man had the bottle to perform a Panenka penalty and it really was shades of Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup final versus Gianluigi Buffon.

Ederson had no chance of saving it…

Video: Benzema’s ice-cold penalty vs Man City

Is that the coldest penalty in Champions League history? It might just be and the silence around the Etihad when the ball rippled the back of the net was deafening.

Benzema is playing football from another planet right now and the 2022 Ballon d’Or is surely heading his way.

Tuesday’s game at the Etihad will go down as one of the greatest in Champions League history and the entertainment started in the first two minutes of play.

Kevin De Bruyne scored the fastest ever semi-final goal in the competition’s history and Gabriel Jesus then put City 2-0 ahead in the 11th minute.

Benzema pulled one back just after the half hour mark, but City restored their two-goal advantage in the 53rd minute courtesy of a brilliant Phil Foden header.

However, Real Madrid came roaring back into the game just two minutes, with a wonderful solo goal from the mercurial Vinicius Junior making it 3-2.

City took a two-goal lead for the third time in the 74th minute through Bernardo Silva’s stunner, before Benzema capped off a thrilling evening in Manchester with his outrageous Panenka.

The second leg at the Bernabeu next week could not be more perfectly poised and we cannot wait for it.

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