Poch ‘upset’ but Leonardo says PSG boss ‘still part of the project’

Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino said the “next few weeks are not going to be easy” after his side lost their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid.

PSG took a 1-0 lead on the night thanks to Kylian Mbappe, who had an additional two goals ruled out, but Benzema’s 17-minute hat-trick took Real to a 3-2 victory on aggregate.

“The first goal completely changed the game,” Pochettino said. “For an hour, we were better than Real Madrid. The atmosphere changed in the stadium.

Real Madrid's David Alaba celebrates with Karim Benzema, right, who scored his side's first goal
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Karim Benzema celebrates scoring against PSG with team-mate David Alaba

“We made some mistakes after that, we can’t say we didn’t. The worst feeling is that we were the better side, but we lost the tie in 10 minutes.

“Paris St-Germain have been chasing the Champions League for a number of years now. I’m really disappointed, upset – but these things can happen. The next few weeks are not going to be easy.”

Benzema: When PSG are pressed, it causes problems

Benzema’s goals saw him become Real Madrid’s third-highest all-time scorer with 309 strikes, taking him ahead of the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano (308).

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Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti praised the Santiago Bernabeu crowd after they came from behind to beat PSG and secure a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Giving his reaction to the game, the 34-year-old suggested that PSG struggle to play under pressure.

“We knew they’re a team that if you put them under pressure, they don’t panic, but it’s more difficult for them,” Benzema said.

“When you take the ball off them, when you put them under pressure, they can’t connect with the three up front.

Benzema's goals against PSG saw him become Real Madrid's third-highest all-time goalscorer
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Benzema’s goals against PSG saw him become Real Madrid’s third-highest all-time goalscorer

“It’s the problem of all the teams that want to play the ball out from the back. When they’re pressed, it causes them problems.”

“In the first leg, we have to say we were lucky to leave there only losing 1-0,” the Frenchman added. “But we knew it would be different in Madrid.

“We pushed, we conceded a goal, but we were confident that we would have chances. It’s a big Champions League evening and we showed we’re a big club.”

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti praised his side’s efforts and singled out Benzema’s contributions as well: “We suffered a lot in the first half, but we did it,” Ancelotti said.

“We had trouble getting the ball. We tried to press… But it was a good press from Karim that brought us the first goal and after that, the magic of this stadium and these fans came with it.”

Leonardo: Pochettino still part of the project for this season

PSG’s director of football, Leonardo, stated that Pochettino would remain a part of the club’s project for the current season after the game.

“We shouldn’t throw everything in the bin,” Leonardo told RMC Sport. “We shouldn’t start from scratch after every loss. The objective is to win the Champions League, and until half-time we were fine.

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After going out of the Champions League, PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino says the momentum changed after Real Madrid’s first goal, which he believed should not have stood.

“We have to look to improve this team and maintain morale to play in Ligue 1 and to finish the season well. We should stay together.

“Pochettino is still part of the project for this season. It’s not the time to think about that.”

Speaking about the nature of the defeat, Leonardo said: It’s a tough one to take. We can’t bury everything that was done. It’s hard to analyse.

“The incident of the foul on Donnarumma was crucial, but we struggled to manage that moment. We lost control. We need to look for solutions. But it’s a shame that a referee’s decision can be so influential in that sort of moment.

“But we should stay calm. We made errors, we should change things but we shouldn’t look back on everything. It’s difficult but, up until half time we were a well-organised team.”

When is the Champions League quarter-final draw?

Having progressed to the next stage of the Champions League, Real Madrid can now look forward to a quarter-final tie.

The Champions League quarter-final draw will take place on Friday, March 18 at 11am UK time, with the balls being drawn out at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The semi-finals will also be drawn at the same time, meaning clubs and fans can plot out their potential route to the Paris final.

You will be able to follow the draw across Sky Sports’ digital platforms.

Benzema’s 17-minute hat-trick stuns PSG in CL epic

Karim Benzema’s second-half hat-trick secured Real Madrid a place in the Champions League quarter-finals as they came back from 2-0 down on aggregate to win 3-2 and send Paris Saint-Germain crashing out of Europe.

Kylian Mbappe opened the scoring to extend PSG’s advantage from the first leg – after getting on the end of Neymar’s first-time left-footed through ball – with a near-post finish (39) that Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois could only get a touch on.

PSG were in cruise control at the Bernabeu until Real were offered a lifeline by Gianluigi Donnarumma, as Benzema forced him into a mistake in his own area before finishing off Vinicius Jr’s cut back.

Real Madrid's David Alaba celebrates with Karim Benzema, right, who scored his side's first goal

Benzema’s deflected effort from close range levelled the tie after an intricate Luka Modric pass split the PSG defence, and just 10 seconds after the visitors kicked off, the Real captain completed his 17-minute hat-trick with a neat first-time finish following a poor clearance from Marquinhos as PSG crumbled again in Europe.

Player ratings

Real Madrid: Courtois (7), Carvajal (6), Militao (6), Alaba (6), Nacho (6), Valverde (6), Kroos (6), Modric (7), Vinicius Jr (7), Benzema (10), Asensio (5).

Subs: Vazquez (6), Camavinga (6), Rodrygo (6).

Away Team: Donnarumma (4), Hakimi (6), Marquinhos (5) , Kimpembe (5), Mendes (6), Paredes (6), Pereira (6), Verratti (5), Messi (5), Mbappe (8), Neymar (7).

Subs: Gueye (5), Di Maria (N/A), Draxler (N/A)

Man of the match: Benzema.

It was five years ago on Tuesday that PSG were beaten 6-1 at the Nou Camp as Barcelona pulled off a record-breaking comeback from four goals down in the first leg.

Benzema, who became the oldest player to score a Champions League hat-trick on Wednesday night, overtakes Alfredo Di Stefano as Real Madrid’s third-highest scorer on 309 goals.

“We lost in the first leg, we were losing at the break… It was very hard, but this is a Champions League match and we are Real Madrid,” Benzema, captain of the 13-time Champions League winners, said after the game.

Team news

  • Kylian Mbappe started the game despite a late injury scare
  • Gianluigi Donarumma was preferred in goal over Keylor Navas
  • Toni Kroos (hamstring) and Federico Valverde (flu) returned to Real Madrid’s starting XI
  • Casemiro and Ferland Mendy were unavailable through suspension

Mbappe, who scored the only goal in the first leg, was a constant threat up until the equalsier and had the ball in the back of the net three times on the night, only for two to be ruled offside.

The France forward will feel hard done by after an impressive performance against the side that tried to sign him in the summer, showing no sign of distraction despite intense speculation linking him with a move to Real.

The hosts came closest in the first half through Benzema, whose curling first-time effort was kept out by a fingertip save from Donnarumma, with the scores on the night still level.

Benzema, making his 500th start for Real in all competitions, also spurned two opportunities with his head in the first half, missing the target and tamely nodding the other into the arms of Donnarumma.

Deja vu for PSG in Europe

PSG have been here before. Two goals ahead against Manchester United after the first leg in 2019, four goals ahead of Barcelona in 2017. This time it was half an hour left, with two goals to the good.

This was the fourth time out of nine that they have been knocked out of the Champions League when winning the first leg – only Real Madrid have done so more often (six times).

The mentality of their star-studded line-up was weak – perhaps scarred by the mistakes of the past – and they failed to recover after Donnarumma gifted Benzema his opener.

PSG players hardly had their head up after Benzema’s second before he made it 3-1 on the night and gave Real the crucial goal to send them through.

The Qatari owners’ search for a Champions League trophy goes on, even the addition of Lionel Messi in the summer could not get them beyond the last 16, with the former Barcelona man anonymous on his return to Spain.

What lies ahead for PSG remains uncertain, with big question marks over the future of head coach Mauricio Pochettino.

Sporting director Leonardo insists Pochettino remains part of the project, but failure to lift the Champions League has only ended in one outcome for managers at PSG under the current owners. Just ask Thomas Tuchel, Unai Emery, Laurent Blanc and Carlo Ancelotti.

Record-breaking Benzema saves Real

Benzema's goals against PSG saw him become Real Madrid's third-highest all-time goalscorer
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Benzema’s goals against PSG saw him become Real Madrid’s third-highest all-time goalscorer

With just 30 minutes left of tie, Real Madrid’s fate looked sealed, and it felt inevitable that PSG would progress.

That all changed, though, with a moment of perseverance from 34-year-old Benzema, whose pressure forced Donnarumma into a mistake that proved to be the catalyst for an epic Champions League comeback.

His tenacity continued to drive Real forward as he put the ball in the net twice with just 10 seconds of open play separating the two goals.

It was a talismanic performance from the Frenchman, who took his place among Real Madrid royalty by overtaking Alfredo Di Stefano as the club’s third-highest scorer, behind only Raul and Cristiano Ronaldo.

He also moves ahead of Raul (66) as Real’s second-highest scorer in the Champions League on 67 goals, with only Ronaldo ahead (105).

Ancelotti: It was the magic of this stadium

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Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti praised the Santiago Bernabeu crowd after they came from behind to beat PSG and secure a place in the Champions League quarter-finals

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said: “We suffered a lot in the first half, but we did it. We had trouble getting the ball. We tried to press… But it was a good press from Karim that brought us the first goal, and after that the magic of this stadium and these fans came with it.”

Real Madrid forward Benzema said: “We needed the fans and this is for them. It was a very difficult game but we pushed until the end and we deserve the win.

“We lost the first leg, they went 1-0 up, but our fans pushed us to give everything right to the final whistle.”

On his first goal, he added: “It’s not a mistake [by Donnarumma]. It’s pressure from the whole team.”

Poch: I’m upset – the next few weeks won’t be easy

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After going out of the Champions League, PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino says the momentum changed after Real Madrid’s first goal, which he believed should not have stood

PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino said: “The first goal completely changed the game. For an hour, we were better than Real Madrid. The atmosphere changed in the stadium.

“We made some mistakes after that, we can’t say we didn’t. The worst feeling is that we were the better side, but we lost the tie in 10 minutes.

“Paris St-Germain have been chasing the Champions League for a number of years now. I’m really disappointed, upset – but these things can happen. The next few weeks are not going to be easy.”

"The next few weeks are not going to be easy," said PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino
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“The next few weeks are not going to be easy,” said PSG boss Pochettino

When is the Champions League QF draw?

The Champions League quarter-final draw will take place on Friday, March 18 at 11am UK time, with the balls being drawn out at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

The semi-finals will be drawn at the same time, meaning clubs and fans can plot out their potential route to the Paris final.

You will be able to follow the draw across Sky Sports’ digital platforms.

What’s next?

Real Madrid travel to Real Mallorca in La Liga on Monday; kick-off 8pm. Carlo Ancelotti’s side boast an eight-point lead at the top of the table, with 11 games left. Paris Saint-Germain host Bordeaux in Ligue 1 on Sunday; kick-off 12pm. PSG, who were beaten by second-placed Nice in their previous Ligue 1 outing, are 13 points clear at the top of the table with 11 games remaining.

Euro round-up: Benzema strike seals Real Madrid victory

Karim Benzema’s 83rd-minute goal was enough for Real Madrid to extend their lead at the top of La Liga to nine points with a 1-0 win at Rayo Vallecano.

Real looked under par for much of the match but found the breakthrough when Benzema exchanged passes with Vinicius Junior and finished from close range.

Atletico Madrid moved above Barcelona into fourth place as Renan Lodi scored in either half to secure a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo.

Gabriel’s fourth-minute strike was enough to give Valencia a 1-0 win at Malaga, though they finished with 10 men as Ilaix Moriba collected two quick yellow cards to see red in stoppage time.

Enes Unal’s brace saw Getafe twice come from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with fellow strugglers Alaves, despite playing nearly an hour with 10 men after Jorge Cuenca’s first-half dismissal.

Bundesliga: Bayern Munich stretch lead at top

Leroy Sane scored the only goal of the game for Bayern Munich
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Leroy Sane scored the only goal of the game for Bayern Munich

Leroy Sane came off the bench to get the only goal as Bayern Munich stretched their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to nine points with a 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Sane replaced Marcel Sabitzer with 23 minutes left and was on the scoresheet four minutes later.

Moussa Diaby scored twice as Bayer Leverkusen beat Arminia Bielefeld 3-0 to retain their grip on third place, four points clear of Freiburg who beat Hertha Berlin 3-0.

Union Berlin moved up to seventh with a 3-1 win over Mainz, leading through goals from Genki Haraguchi and Sheraldo Becker before the visitors had Dominik Kohr sent off on the hour.

Wolfsburg blew a 2-0 lead and finished with 10 men in a 2-2 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach, with Breel Ebolo getting a late leveller after Maxence Lacroix saw red.

Greuther Furth and Cologne played out a 1-1 draw.

Serie A: Juve cut gap to leaders AC Milan

Dusan Vlahovic was one the scoresheet for Juventus
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Dusan Vlahovic was one the scoresheet for Juventus

Dusan Vlahovic’s brace helped Juventus cut the gap to Serie A leaders AC Milan to seven points with a 3-2 win at Empoli.

Moise Kean put Juve in front with 32 minutes gone only for Szymon Zurkowski to quickly level.

But Vlahovic restored the visitors’ lead just before the break and added a fine clipped second in the 66th minute before Andrea La Mantia pulled a goal back.

Gregoire Defrel struck in stoppage time to give Sassuolo a 2-1 win over 10-man Fiorentina.

Hamed Junior Traore had given the hosts a 19th-minute lead, but the Viola levelled through Arthur in the 88th minute despite the 79th-minute dismissal of Giacomo Bonaventura.

Salernitana and Bologna played out a 1-1 draw.

Ligue 1: Mbappe inspires PSG to victory

Kylian Mbaape inspired PSG to victory over St Etienne
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Kylian Mbaape inspired PSG to victory over St Etienne

Kylian Mbappe had two goals and an assist as Paris St Germain came from behind to beat St Etienne 3-1 and extend their advantage at the top of Ligue 1.

The visitors struck first through Denis Bounga’s 16th-minute goal, but Mbappe levelled three minutes before half-time and then put PSG ahead early in the second half before teeing up Danilo Pereira moments later.

That moved PSG 16 points clear after second-placed Nice were held to a goalless draw by Strasbourg earlier in the day, finishing the game with only nine men after Dante and Justin Kluivert were dismissed.

Europe: Abraham scores 99th-minute winner for Jose’s Roma

Tammy Abraham’s penalty more than nine minutes into stoppage time ended Roma’s winless run as Jose Mourinho’s scraped a 1-0 victory at 10-man Spezia in Serie A.

Abraham’s penalty came after Roma had hit the woodwork four times and wasted a number of chances at Spezia, who had played most of the match with 10 men after defender Kelvin Amian was sent off at the end of the first half.

It was Roma’s first win in five matches and lifted them up to sixth, six points behind fourth-place Juventus. Spezia remain four points off the relegation zone. All Serie A matches have started five minutes late this weekend accompanied by a peace message following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Roma coach Jose Mourinho was serving the first of a two-match suspension following his actions toward the referee during and after last week’s 2-2 draw against Hellas Verona.

Giovanni Simeone broke his goal drought in style with a second-half hat-trick to help Hellas Verona beat relegation-threatened Venezia 3-1.

They were Simeone’s first goals since mid-December.

David Okereke headed Venezia back into the match nine minutes from time but Simeone completed his hat-trick and sealed the result seven minutes later.

Venezia slipped into the drop zone, three points behind Cagliari after the Sardinian side won 2-1 at Torino.

Bundesliga: Dortmund lose ground on leaders Bayern

Noah Sarenren Bazee's goal moved Augsburg above Hertha Berlin on goal difference
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Noah Sarenren Bazee’s goal moved Augsburg above Hertha Berlin on goal difference

Borussia Dortmund stumbled again in the Bundesliga with a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Augsburg to let Bayern Munich open up an eight-point lead.

Thorgan Hazard scored in the first half for Dortmund but the visitors failed to build on their lead as Donyell Malen hit the post and were caught out when Noah Sarenren Bazee equalised late on.

The point lifted Augsburg out of the relegation zone on goal difference with Hertha Berlin dropping into the relegation/playoff place with 10 rounds of the league remaining. Hertha have not won in the league since beating Dortmund 3-2 at home on December 18.

Dortmund subsequently lost to Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen in the league, while they were knocked out of the German Cup by second division St Pauli and out of the Europa League last Thursday by Scottish side Rangers.

Hazard scored in the 35th minute when he surged past Augsburg defenders Mads Pedersen and Felix Uduokhai before shooting inside the far post from a tight angle.

But Augsburg stayed in the game and coach Markus Weinzierl brought on Bazee to reinvigorate his team’s attack with 20 minutes remaining. The 25-year-old winger scored the equaliser eight minutes later.

Earlier, Christopher Nkunku’s late goal was enough for Leipzig to reclaim fourth and the last qualification place for the Champions League with a 1-0 win at Bochum.

Nkunku scored in the 82nd minute after Bochum captain Anthony Losilla hit the crossbar and Christopher Antwi-Adjei hit the post for the home team. It was Nkunku’s 14th goal of the season.

La Liga: Villarreal teen makes club history

Yeremy Pino's four goals wrote him into Villarreal history books
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Yeremy Pino’s four goals wrote him into Villarreal history books

With four goals from four shots, Yeremy Pino became the first Villarreal player to score four times in a Spanish league game on Sunday.

Pino scored a hat-trick before half-time and added another goal in the second half of Villarreal’s 5-1 home rout of Espanyol.

The 19-year-old Spain forward had never scored more than one goal in a game in his career. He is the third-youngest four-goal scorer in the history of the Spanish league.

It was the eighth win for Villarreal in their last 11 league games, with the only loss coming at Elche in January.

Unai Emery’s team came into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw at home to Juventus in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League.

Keidi Bare scored Espanyol’s lone goal in the second half. Villarreal’s fifth was scored by Boulaye Dia in the final stages of the game at the La Ceramica Stadium.

The win moved Villarreal up to fifth place, three points behind fourth-place Atletico Madrid, who won 2-0 at Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Espanyol’s winless streak reached eight matches in all competitions, with five losses and three draws. They stayed in 14th place.

Ligue 1: Marseille fail to tighten grip in Champions League race

Yoann Touzghar fired in his fourth Ligue 1 goal of the campaign
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Yoann Touzghar fired in his fourth Ligue 1 goal of the campaign

Marseille missed the chance to move three points clear in second place in Ligue 1 after conceding a last-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw at struggling Troyes.

Striker Yoann Touzghar profited from poor Marseille defending to slide in the equaliser after playmaker Dimitri Payet’s penalty put Marseille ahead in the 28th minute. It was Payet’s club-best ninth league goal of the season.

Second place guarantees entry into next season’s Champions League, with Marseille one point ahead of Nice in third place, and a playoff spot.

Northern side Lens moved into sixth place in the chase for the European places after a 2-1 win at Angers, with Jonathan Clauss’ floating effort looping over goalkeeper Danijel Petkovic in the 77th minute.

Lens are three points behind fourth-place Rennes in the Europa League spot.

Monaco lost 2-1 at home to Reims, despite striker Wissam Ben Yedder’s league-leading 15th goal to move one ahead of PSG forward Kylian Mbappe.

The visitors equalised in the 84th minute when Monaco striker Kevin Volland headed in an own-goal and, soon after Monaco midfielder Jean Lucas was sent off, scored a stoppage-time winner through striker Nathanael Mbuku.

Lorient moved out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win at Brest as fellow strugglers Bordeaux and Metz both drew.

Bottom side Bordeaux drew 1-1 at Clermont, while 18th-place Metz were held 0-0 at home by Nantes.