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Karim Benzema Stuns Stamford Bridge With Another Champions League Hat-Trick

Karim Benzema Stuns Stamford Bridge With Another Champions League Hat-Trick
By Eoin Harrington Updated

Karim Benzema was once again at the heart of some brilliant Real Madrid play on Wednesday. Benzema's hat trick gave Real Madrid the lead halfway through their massive Champions League quarter final tie with Chelsea.

Benzema once again showed why he is one of the best players in the world, with two superb headers in the space of just three first half minutes.

A bizarre error from Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy allowed the Real number nine to seal his hat-trick at the start of the second half, and give Real a decisive lead going into the second leg.

Chelsea v Real Madrid: Benzema shines with two headers in three minutes at the Bridge

Karim Benzema was responsible for Real Madrid's dramatic last 16 comeback against PSG, and he was at it once again at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

The Frenchman is enjoying an incredible renaissance at the tail end of his career. He has stepped up to the mantle of leading the line for Los Blancos and his two goals in London had Chelsea on the ropes.

Benzema's first goal was an innovative header. After a quick Real Madrid break, Vinicius Jr - an ever-growing prospect himself - delivered a cross to the edge of the area which seemed on first glance to be approaching Benzema at an awkward height.

The French striker adjusted his body brilliantly to power a header into the top corner in front of the away fans at Stamford Bridge.

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Chelsea looked shell shocked, and things would get worse before they got better.

Just three minutes later, a similarly brilliant cross from Luka Modric met a backpedalling Benzema. Once again, the Real Madrid man met the awkward ball perfectly, as he looped a header to the far post and past Edouard Mendy.

Chelsea's Kai Havertz would respond with a header of his own before the break, but Chelsea's hard work in getting back into the game was undone within seconds of the second half getting underway.

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A wild mistake from Edouard Mendy saw Benzema snatch his second hat-trick in as many Champions League knockout games. Mendy came sauntering out of his goal, before underhitting a pass to Antonio Rudiger and leaving Benzema free to roll the ball into an empty Chelsea net.

It was a wild moment, and one that leaves Chelsea with a massive mountain to climb in next week's second leg at the Bernabeu.

When these two sides met at Stamford Bridge in last season's semi-finals, Chelsea cruised past a poor Madrid side. It is a mark of how far the Spanish side have come since last May that they were comfortably in the ascendancy on Wednesday night.

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Central to the brilliance of Real Madrid is Karim Benzema - and there are very few players in the world in better form than the Frenchman.

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