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Spanish media cheers Benzema

MADRID: Spain's media on Wednesday hailed out-of-favour striker Karim Benzema who scored seconds after coming on to earn Real Madrid a 1-1 draw against his Lyon in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.

“Golden Goal Benzema,” headlined the sports daily AS.

“Madrid's first goal in Lyon, a goal that rehabilitates Benzema...a goal that made up in part for Madrid's two shots that hit the goalposts in the challenging second half, a goal that makes the return match a downhill ride,” it said.

The paper said the France striker deserves “an apology.”

“A year and a half ago (Real chairman Florentino Perez) travelled to Lyon to recruit a striker who failed to fit in. At least until yesterday. Like no other player, he had made a significant personal effort.”

“Quarterfinals in sight,” was the front page headline in rival daily Marca. “Benzema breaks half of his curse,” it said.

“Benzema is the most cost-effective scorer in the Champions League. He has scored a goal every 60 minutes, a rate that is better even than Nicolas Anelka...Samuel Eto'o or Leo Messi to name a few of the big names.”“Benzema, better, better, better,” said Spain's leading daily El Pais.

“The goal gives a chance to his team for the second leg at the Bernabeu.” — AFP

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