Karim Benzema inspired Real Madrid to a famous win in the Champions League.
CNN  — 

Karim Benzema produced a memorable performance to inspire Real Madrid to a comeback win against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16 second leg on Wednesday.

Already leading 1-0 from the first leg, PSG looked to be in total control after Kylian Mbappé doubled the visitors’ aggregate score with a first-half strike.

But when it seemed like PSG was cruising into the quarterfinals, Benzema scored a second-half hat-trick in just 17 minutes to turn the tie on its head.

The time between the second and third goal was just 106 seconds as PSG capitulated inside a raucous Santiago Bernabéu Stadium – with the aggregate score 3-2 at the final whistle.

“Real Madrid is alive and we showed how we can win against anyone,” Benzema told reporters after the match.

“The comeback came due to a matter of mental strength. I’m really honored to be part of this legendary club and now we move forward.”

At 34 years and 80 days, Benzema is now the oldest man to score a hat-trick in the Champions League and the accolades don’t stop there.

The Frenchman was making his 500th appearance for Madrid and has now surpassed Alfredo di Stéfano to become the club’s third top scorer.

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Benzema celebrates with teammates after completing his hat-trick.

‘It’s the magic of the stadium’

Benzema’s heroics seemed very unlikely until PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made a critical error which led to the first goal.

The keeper, hurried by Benzema, dawdled in possession and gifted Madrid a much needed lifeline in a game that seemed to be drifting away.

The goal whipped the crowd into a frenzy and seemed to rattle PSG’s composure – 15 minutes later Benzema had scored another.

This time, it was Luka Modrić who provided the killer through ball to Benzema who converted from close range.

PSG then went into full panic mode and 17 seconds after the restart, Marquinhos misjudged a clearance, allowing Benzema to fire a stunning effort into the corner of the net.

“It’s the magic of the stadium that has such a fantastic history, of a club that has a fantastic history,” Carlo Ancelotti said.

“It’s a special night, truly spectacular. I have been involved in a lot of games in this competition as a coach and to experience a night like tonight is pretty unique.

“I hope it becomes an unforgettable night because that would mean we’ve had a good Champions League campaign.”

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Lionel Messi cuts a dejected figure as PSG lets the lead slip.

PSG ‘too exposed’

Meanwhile, for PSG, it’s yet another missed opportunity to win an elusive Champions League title.

With a forward line of Lionel Messi, Neymar and the electric Mbappé, many saw this as PSG’s best chance to win its first European title, but it was another night of disappointment.

PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino was left furious that the referee didn’t give a foul for what he deemed an obvious call on Donnarumma in the build-up to the first goal but admits his side lost composure.

“I have a feeling of great injustice because of the goal conceded after a clear foul by Benzema on Donnarumma, and from then on, everyone’s emotional state changed,” Pochettino said.

“We couldn’t manage our emotions well after that goal and we were too exposed.

“We had three-quarters of the tie in our favor and were the better team, but we leave with a tremendous blow and disappointment for not being able to advance.”