Given how they themselves made it into the quarter-finals, Real Madrid will be reluctant to say that they have one foot in the Champions League semi-finals, but a 3-1 win away at Chelsea on Wednesday will have a lot of people thinking just that.
Los Blancos came from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of the last 16 largely thanks to Karim Benzema, and the Frenchman was again at his very best to punish the defending European champions.
Benzema was brilliant from the off, and two stunning first-half headers separated by just three minutes midway through the half put Real Madrid in the driving seat.
The first came on the end of a Vinicius Junior cross. Benzema found the Brazilian and made his way into the area, and he was in the right place to meet the subsequent cross and send it firing into Edouard Mendy‘s top corner.
Moments later and he was celebrating again, and again having put a header into Mendy‘s goal. This time the cross came from Toni Kroos and from a much deeper position, but Benzema excellently angled his header into the opposite corner to give Carlo Ancelotti‘s side some breathing room on his return to Stamford Bridge.
Kai Havertz did manage to pull one back for Thomas Tuchel‘s Blues before half time, giving them brief hope of a comeback.
But Benzema was taking no prisoners, and just a minute into the second half he netted again. Like he had in the last 16, the No.9 pressed the opposition goalkeeper and forced a mistake. Mendy‘s error was followed up by another slip from Antonio Rudiger, and Benzema was left to tap into an open goal from outside the box.
Real Madrid were in the driving seat from there and were happy to sit back and soak up pressure from their hosts. They conceded possession, as they tend to, but the Blues were mostly limited to shots from range.
Romelu Lukaku came off the bench and headed with with a chance he perhaps should have done more with, but there was little else carved out by Chelsea.
The second leg takes place at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, April 12.