Karim Benzema has explained that his remarkable ‘Panenka’ penalty to keep Real Madrid alive in their Champions League semi-final tie against Manchester City was all down to “mental confidence”.
With Real Madrid trailing 4-2 at the Etihad, Benzema stepped up to the spot after Aymeric Laporte conceded a penalty for handball late on and duly chipped Ederson with a dinked kick down the middle of the goal.
The penalty was Benzema’s second goal of the game and his ninth Champions League goal in five knockout games which means Real Madrid will only trail by one goal ahead of next week’s second leg at the Bernabeu.
Benzema’s confidence to take the penalty was made all the more impressive considering the Real Madrid captain had missed two penalties in his last match, a 3-1 win over Osasuna last Wednesday.
But the striker said he did not doubt that he would beat Ederson. “I always have it in my head that if you don’t take a penalty, you will never miss a penalty,” the 34-year-old said. “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.”