The Frenchman’s audacious spot kick gave the Blancos a lifeline in their semi-final Champions League against the Premier League champions
Karim Benzema has explained why he took a high-risk Panenka penalty for Real Madrid in their 4-3 loss to Manchester City.
Benzema scored twice in a thrilling contest at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night, including the all-important final goal of the game that gives the Blancos real hope of a comeback in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tie.
The veteran striker showed nerves of steel from the penalty spot to chip the ball down the centre, taking his overall tally of goals for the season to 41 in the process.
What did Benzema say about his Panenka?
Benzema missed two penalties in Madrid’s last Liga outing against Osasuna, but those failures did nothing to shake his self-confidence and prevent him from stepping up again on Europe’s biggest stage.
Asked why he chose to try a Panenka against Man City, the 34-year-old told reporters post-match: “I always have it in my head that if you don’t take a penalty, you will never miss a penalty.
“That’s mental confidence and that’s all. I have a lot of confidence in myself, so I do it and it turns out well.”
Ancelotti hails Benzema’s ‘strong character’
Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti was full of praise for Benzema after his latest showing, and also revealed the Frenchman practised the new penalty technique prior to the trip to Manchester.
“I think he changed because the last two penalties were not good,” the Italian tactician said. “He tried in training, I didn’t know how he would shoot. He chose this [Panenka] and he did really well, showing strong personality and character.
“It’s not easy in the semi-final of the Champions League to shoot a penalty like this.”
Benzema will likely lead the line for Madrid again when they welcome Man City to Santiago Bernabeu for the return leg on May 4.