Kylian Mbappé produced a moment of brilliance deep into added time to give Paris Saint-Germain a slender lead to take to Real Madrid in this round of 16 tie.
PSG enjoyed near domination in the first half but the two presentable openings they prised were spurned. Mbappé’s early low cross was blazed over by Ángel Di María from the first of them before the France striker was thwarted by Thibaut Courtois after sneaking in behind Dani Carvajal. Casemiro headed wide from Madrid’s lone moment of promise.
The second half started in similar fashion with Mbappé’s low drive brilliantly parried by Courtois after an intricate move from the hosts but the pressure finally told when Carvajal clipped the striker in the area as he latched on to a through ball. However, Lionel Messi’s low penalty was pushed away by the inspired Courtois to maintain parity.
That appeared to be as close as Mauricio Pochettino’s men would come as Madrid remained resolute, even after the introduction of Neymar in the 72nd minute, until Mbappé took matters into his own hands, skipping between two challenges and firing under Courtois to leave Carlo Ancelotti’s side with a second-leg deficit to overturn.
Kylian Mbappé, Paris forward: “Like the entire team, I was in the right rhythm. I tried to help the team as best as I could, to try to be effective in both attack and defence. I have been rewarded with this goal and I am very happy.”
Mauricio Pochettino, Paris coach: “I am very happy. The team’s performance was very good. We were generally better than Real; we deserved the victory. There is still one game left [in the tie] but it is important to have taken this first step. We cut off their passing circuits by pressing on their midfielders. We worked hard to stop them and recover the ball as high as possible while controlling the game well for 90 minutes.”
Carlo Ancelotti, Madrid coach: “We couldn’t get out with the ball and we misplaced a lot of passes because of their high press. They did that well and put us under difficulty in that sense. We need to press more in the second leg. We are behind on the scoreboard and need to be better on the ball.”
Thibaut Courtois, Madrid goalkeeper: “We started well enough but we perhaps weren’t calm enough on the ball and suffered because of that, not countering well enough. It’s tough to take but we didn’t play well. Our gameplan doesn’t change all that much being one down – we need to win to go through.”
• Mbappé has scored 13 goals in his last 13 Champions League matches.
• Paris have scored in their last 19 matches in the Champions League round of 16.
• Madrid had scored in their last 23 matches in the Champions League round of 16 before tonight. The last time they failed to find the net was also in France, against Lyon (0-1 in February 2010).
• Gareth Bale played in his 100th UEFA club competition match this evening.
Paris: Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Nuno Mendes; Danilo (Gueye 87), Paredes, Verratti; Di María (Neymar 72), Messi, Mbappé
Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal (Lucas Vázquez 72), Éder Militão, Alaba, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Modrić (Valverde 82); Asensio (Rodrygo 72), Benzema (Bale 87), Vinícius Júnior (Hazard 82)
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