Benzema brings Real Madrid back from the brink! Winners, losers and ratings from emotional Copa del Rey derby
We've seen this imagery before: Karim Benzema unmarked at the far post, a deflected cross zipped onto his right foot, no chance for the goalkeeper to make a stop. Real Madrid suddenly, improbably, in the lead.
Benzema's extra-time winner gave Real Madrid a 2-1 advantage over Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey quarter-final, and Los Blancos added another for good measure as they repeated their come-from-behind feat from a week ago against Villarreal.
Everything looked dire for nearly 80 minutes, before Real Madrid woke up to topple their rivals in an emotional derby that had once again turned ugly off the pitch when Vinicius Junior was subjected to pre-game racism from fans .
Atletico had deservedly grabbed the opener, working a wonderful move that ended with an easy tap-in for Alvaro Morata. Everything seemed geared towards a Diego Simeone masterclass. Atletico had less possession, more fouls, and only one shot on target.
But Real Madrid were much-changed after the break. Rodyrgo eventually scored the equaliser, winding through the Atletico defence before poking the ball past Jan Oblak. And then came Benzema in extra-time, inverting an otherwise tepid performance with an almost predictable late winner. Vinicius Junior added to the lead with a delightful run and finish to cap things off - complete with a joyful celebration just as he had done in September.
It all evoked memories of Real Madrid's sweet 2021-22 campaign, Benzema and Co. disappearing for long passages before popping up with three crucial goals to salvage a result.