In Focus: Benzema extends lead in Champions League top scorer race

Cian Cheesbrough
LiveScore
05/05/202216:00
Karim Benzema's crucial penalty extended his lead at the top of the Champions League goalscoring chart
Karim Benzema's crucial penalty extended his lead at the top of the Champions League goalscoring chart

A thrilling 3-1 victory against Manchester City booked Real Madrid's place in the Champions League final where they will face a Liverpool side who survived a scare at Villarreal.

Among all the drama at the Bernabeu, Karim Benzema took an important step towards ending the season as the competition's top scorer as he tucked away an extra-time penalty against the Citizens.

While lifting the iconic trophy will be the priority for players and their teams, finishing with the most goals is an accolade any forward would be proud of.

Read on as we identify the current leaders and assess who is best placed to take the crown.

Karim Benzema, Real Madrid (15 goals, one assist)

Real talisman Benzema has been in scintillating form in the Champions League knockout phase, netting consecutive hat-tricks against both Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea before scoring in both legs against Pep Guardiola's men.

Carlo Ancelotti's side were in serious danger of exiting this year's competition at the hands of PSG, before their No9 took centre stage.

Down 2-0 on aggregate with less than half an hour to play, the Los Blancos striker burst into life, netting a brilliant hat-trick in just 17 minutes to seal a remarkable comeback win.

The 34-year-old then followed up that amazing display with another treble, this time at Stamford Bridge, to give the LaLiga champions a 3-1 lead after the first leg.

Benzema has never ended a Champions League season as top scorer, despite lifting the trophy on four occasions.

But the prolific marksman is now in pole position to clinch the prestigious accolade.

Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich (13 goals, three assists)

Robert Lewandowski was unable to prevent Bayern Munich from being knocked out by Villarreal
Robert Lewandowski was unable to prevent Bayern Munich from being knocked out by Villarreal

A quarter-final defeat to Villarreal meant Bayern Munich stiker Lewandowski was unable to add to his tally but the Pole enjoyed another fine campaign in Europe's premier club competition.

The 33-year-old was the architect of the Bavarian's last-16 second-leg victory against FC Salzburg, firing a first-half hat-trick to set Julian Nagelsmann's men on course to a 7-1 victory on the night, 8-2 on aggregate.

That remarkable performance had installed the Bundesliga ace as the frontrunner to pick up a second Champions League top scorer gong.

But a 2-1 aggregate loss to the Yellow Submarine in the last eight ended his chances of adding to his 13 strikes.

Sebastien Haller, Ajax (11 goals, one assist)

Sebastien Haller enjoyed a record-breaking Champions League campaign
Sebastien Haller enjoyed a record-breaking Champions League campaign

Sebastien Haller’s maiden Champions League campaign was one to remember, but came to an end when Ajax suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Benfica in their last-16 second leg.

After netting 10 goals in six games in the group stage, Haller notched his 11th of the campaign in the 2-2 first-leg draw in Lisbon.

The Ivory Coast international became the quickest player in the competition's history to score 10 or more goals.

The 27-year-old also became only the second man — after Cristiano Ronaldo — to score in all six matches of a single group stage.

The ex-West Ham frontman will take many special memories from a record-breaking personal performance, but will unfortunately have to wait until next season to increase his goal tally.

Mohamed Salah, Liverpool (eight goals, two assists)

Mohamed Salah failed to find the target in either leg of Liverpool's semi-final against Villarreal
Mohamed Salah failed to find the target in either leg of Liverpool's semi-final against Villarreal

Mohamed Salah was left frustrated after drawing a blank in both legs of Liverpool's semi-final against Villarreal, but will hope to have more chances to impress against Real in the final.

The Reds go into that encounter seeking revenge for their 2018 final loss and will expect their Egyptian star to make an impact against Los Blancos.

The 29-year-old did get himself on the scoresheet in the last-16 first-leg win at Inter Milan having also bagged a match-winning double in a 3-2 success over Atletico Madrid in the group stage.

Jurgen Klopp’s outfit will have eyes on once again lifting the trophy they last claimed in 2019 and will need Salah to be as instrumental now as he was during that victorious season if they are to do so.

The Merseysiders' No11 will be aiming to better his best-ever tally of 10 in the competition but will require a hat-trick at the Stade de France to do so.

Tags

Champions LeagueAjaxBayern MunichLiverpoolReal MadridMohamed SalahKarim BenzemaRobert Lewandowski

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