Champions League: Mauricio Pochettino lamented Karim Benzema’s first goal and said it changed the course of the round of 16 second leg as Real Madrid overcame a 2-0 deficit against PSG and advanced to the quarters.
PSG ousted from Champions League: Pochettino cries over Benzema’s goal as Real Madrid win (AFP Photo)
- Real Madrid came from behind to beat PSG 3-2 on aggregate
- Despite Mbappé’s goal, PSG were knocked out of the Champions League
- Karim Benzema’s hat-trick shot Real into the quarter-finals
Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Thursday that he felt a “great injustice” had been done to the French giants, adding that goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnaruma shot ahead of Karim Benzema’s first goal in the 1-3 defeat by Real Madrid was fouled in the second leg of the Champions League.
PSG extended a 2-0 aggregate lead they had at the end of the first half of the second leg as Benzema’s hat-trick helped Real Madrid stage a stunning comeback to oust the French side. While Lionel Messi struggled to deliver, Kylian Mbappe scored to put PSG ahead, contributing to his late strike in the first-leg win over Real.
Benzema scored in the 61st minute after a mistake by Donnarumma, who mishandled the ball in the penalty area. The French striker scored two more goals in quick succession as Real reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 3-2 aggregate win, but Pochettino said the Frenchman’s first goal shouldn’t have stood.
“A strong sense of injustice for the first goal we conceded. It was a clear foul by (Karim) Benzema on (Gianluigi) Donnarumma. After that the dynamic changed. We were too far behind against Real Madrid. For three quarters We were the better team in that knockout round and we walk away with a sense of shame that we didn’t progress,” said Pochettino.
“It happened and it affected the outcome of the game. I don’t want to use it as an excuse but it’s the reality. It hit us hard and hurt us a lot. We leave with this great pain and disappointment. We didn’t succeed , expressing through goals the superiority that Paris showed in the two games. That is the great pain that we take with us.”
Pochettino said he doesn’t understand why the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) didn’t count Benzema’s action as a foul.
“This is football as played in the best continental competitions and it’s the little details that count. Today VAR didn’t see that foul and it was crucial for what happened later,” he said.
BENZEMA GOAL REALLY ENERGIZED: ANCELOTTI
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said Benzema’s first goal gave his team energy.
“With Karim’s good pressure, we had a chance to score our first goal and from there the magic of this stadium and this fan base came out,” said Ancelotti.
“It’s not too complicated. It gave us energy and destroyed our opponents because there was only one team on the pitch for the last 30 minutes.”