PSG took an early advantage in their Champions League Round of 16 clash against Real Madrid by scraping a 1-0 win and taking a slender lead into the second leg.
The hosts controlled the majority of the first half, dominating 62% of the possession and creating some solid chances – but just weren’t ruthless enough to get one past the goalkeepers.
PSG started the second half with a lot of vigour and Kylian Mbappe won them a penalty in the 60th minute – which Lionel Messi decided to take – but saw it expertly saved by Thibaut Courtois!
Just as it looked like the game would end as a frustrating 0-0, Mbappe decided to be the difference and scored a superb solo effort in stoppage time to seal a narrow 1-0 win for his side.
It’s a decent advantage for PSG to take after the kind of scrappy, tactical game they played, but it keeps this enticing tie on even terms heading into the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu!
Here are your PSG player ratings vs Real Madrid – Round of 16 Leg 1.
PSG Player Ratings vs Real Madrid
Mauricio Pochettino (7.5) –
Pochettino took a few gambles with his team selection – like keeping Neymar on the bench and preferring to play Danilo & Paredes instead of Wijnaldum & Gueye. However, it turned out to be the right decision as his midfield combo was exactly the formula needed to counter Real’s playing style.
He set up his backline strongly enough to frustrate the visitors and ensured his side controlled the possession smartly & also made the correct presses to win the ball in key areas. In the end it was Mbappe’s brilliance that won him his side and while he did a solid job today, he’ll need to shape his side to be even stronger in the second leg to actually win this tie.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (6.0) –
Donnarumma is preferred ahead of Keylor Navas and should face a stern test. Barely tested in the game. Gets a clean sheet thanks to the help of those ahead of him.
Achraf Hakimi (7.5) –
Hakimi faced a huge test defending against the menacing Vinicius Jr. But he put in a solid defensive performance to keep the tricky Brazilian winger quiet. Won 7 duels, made 2 tackles and even created 3 scoring chances in a proactive, disciplined outing to restrict Madrid’s flow down his side.
Marquinhos (7.0) –
The PSG captain helped his side maintain a solid line to nullify Madrid’s counter-attacking threat. Acted like a leader at the back, keeping his defence n shape and not allowing the visitors any space to penetrate in their half. Kept Benzema & co very quiet and helped his side stay alive to get the late win.
Presnel Kimpembe (7.0) –
Kimpembe succeeded in the task to neutralize the threat of his national teammate Benzema. Did not lose his head in key situations, maintaining discipline with the majority of his challenges and helping his side keep a precious clean sheet.
Nuno Mendes (7.5) –
The energetic left-back constantly troubled Madrid with his blistering forward runs. Tested Thibaut Courtois with a stinging effort in the 23rd. Hits another speculative effort in the 52nd but sees it saved well. Kept Asensio very quiet and covered a lot of ground to ensure PSG completely dominated the left-wing on the day.
Danilo Pereira (6.0) –
Danilo’s been tasked to sit deep and protect his backline from the swift breaks that the opponents can conjure. Although a bit aggressive at times, he did his job relatively well by diligently sitting ahead of his backline.
Marco Veratti (8.5) –
Veratti acted as PSG’s creative clog in midfield and bossed around the Casemiro-Kroos-Modric midfield trio. Covered a lot of ground to help PSG control the game. Operated like a Rolls Royce in midfield, with 94 completed passes, 6 chances created and winning 8 duels to help his side stay on top of the visitors and keep at it until the end.
Leandro Paredes (7.5) –
The Argentine midfielder helped move things forward efficiently and his team dominate the possession. Came up with some dirty tackles to stop Madrid’s breaks and completed over 100 passes, with seemingly everything going through him in midfield.
Lionel Messi (5.0) –
Facing off against some old rivals, Messi is determined to produce something special. Drifts past a few bodies with a nice run in the 32nd but his shot goes well wide. Marked too tightly and not able to get in many prime areas in the first half.
Tries a trademark long-ranger in the 53rd that is saved well. Shockingly missed the penalty that could’ve helped PSG get the lead at the hour-mark! Messi did create a few nice chances in the game with some clever passes, but just didn’t have that ruthlessness to get among the goals.
Angel Di Maria (4.5) –
The former Real Madrid man had a huge chance to score in the 4th, but skies a massive chance over from close range. Fluffs another shot in the 51st, this time hitting one from a tight angle well wide. Failed to create anything special and unable to cause any real problems to his former side.
Kylian Mbappe (9.0) –
With all the links to Real Madrid, Mbappe’s facing his possible future team. Nearly makes an instant impact, using his trickery to set up a big chance for Di Maria early on. Played through on goal in the 18th, but sees his scruffy attempt saved.
Nearly scores from nearly out of nothing with a thunderous shot from a tight space in the 50th but sees it superbly denied. Won the penalty for his side after completely outwitting Carvajal in the box. Attempted to curl one in from a difficult angle in the 78th that went just wide.
After tormenting Real all game long, he decided to win the game for PSG in the dying minutes, dancing past a few bodies and superbly putting a shot past Courtois to give his side an advantage. Played at another level than everybody else on the day.
Neymar (6.0) –
Added a lot of thrust to PSG’s attacks after coming on and got in some promising positions, but his final product wasn’t clinical enough.
Idrissa Gueye (N/R) –
Ensured his side kept the possession late on during his short cameo.
MAN OF THE MATCH
This is a toss-up between Mbappe and Veratti today. I felt like Veratti bossed things around amazingly, but it was Mbappe’s brilliance that ended up being the difference in this game. So he gets the MOTM for today.