Sun. Oct 2nd, 2022

The Parisians have the slightest of leads entering the second leg

The big-time clash between PSG and Real Madrid on Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg looked set to end as it started, but Kylian Mbappe had other plans. The French attacker, linked with a summer move to Los Blancos when his current contract expires, scored a dramatic added time winner, splitting defenders after a pass from Neymar before nutmegging Thibaut Courtois for the 1-0 victory. The win sets Mauricio Pochettino’s team up nicely to get a draw next month in Spain to advance. 

The Parisians were by far the sharper and more threatening team, but a lack of quality chances and some inspired saves by Courtois looked set to cement a draw. Lionel Messi saw his second-half penalty kick saved by Courtois, marking the first time he has ever missed a penalty against the familiar foe. Messi had converted all six previous penalties against Los Blancos while playing for Barcelona. Courtois also denied Mbappe’s second-best chance on goal, going low to push out a pacey effort.

But with PSG’s pressure neutralizing Real’s attack for nearly all of the 90 minutes, there was still hope for the hosts to get the winner, and who else but their most in-form player to do so under the Paris sky? It was truly a stunning final big moment of the match where Mbappe delivered, getting between Eder Militao and Lucas Vazquez with incredible pace and technical ability to slide it home.

While Real largely defended well outside of a shocking display by Carvajal and that last lapse in play, Los Blancos did not ever look like a threat to score. They finished the match with just three shots and an xG of 0.14. Real had recorded over 10 shots in 33 of their last 34 matches. Their xG was also by far their lowest of the season in all competitions and also their lowest in years. Going back to the 2018-19 season, their lowest xG recorded was 0.41 against Huesca on Dec. 9, nearly three times more than they recorded on Tuesday.

The second leg between this two is set for March 9 at 3 p.m. ET from the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

Player ratings

PSG player ratings

(GK) Gianluigi Donnarumma90A safe pair of hands or feet when called upon, but it really was not that often since Real had 3 total shots and certainly not to the extent which opposite number Courtois was required to act.6
(DEF) Achraf Hakimi90Not as industrious as Mendes on the left, but the Moroccan was equal to Vinicius Junior whenever he posed a threat.6
(DEF) Marquinhos (C)90Another mature outing from the captain although he and his defenders did not have too much to worry about in the end.6
(DEF) Presnel Kimpembe90It was a solid defensive display, but in truth, Real did not test PSG nearly as much as they could have.6
(DEF) Nuno Mendes90Perhaps the game’s outstanding performer aside from Mbappe, the Portuguese youngster was a constant threat to Real each time he went forward and combined effectively with Mbappe. His 78 touches were fourth most on PSG.8
(MID) Danilo Pereira85One of PSG’s most impressive performers, the Portuguese produced a no-nonsense display despite picking up a yellow card.7
(MID) Leandro Paredes90Pochettino’s gamble to start him paid off with the Argentine a disruptive influence and key in Casemiro’s booking which suspends him for the second leg. However, aside from Messi denying him a strike at goal from range in the second half, he became less influential as the game wore on.6
(MID) Marco Verratti90The Italian’s magnetic control ensured that he was never far from the action and he even managed to throw in a trademark booking as he came out on top in the midfield battle. He created 6 chances, the most in the side.8
(FWD) Lionel Messi90Linked up well with Mbappe at times, but faded as the match wore on and saw his penalty saved by the superb Courtois. Not nearly the same Messi who once tormented Real.5
(FWD) Kylian Mbappe90Electric. With all eyes on him, the Frenchman did not disappoint and gave Carvajal a particularly torrid time which resulted in him being scythed down for the penalty. Ultimately got the goal his performance merited and looked like it might go without.9
(FWD) Angel Di Maria72Missed a great early chance when teed up by Mbappe and although he worked hard, PSG could have done with Neymar’s attacking nous from the off.6
(SUB 1) NeymarDi MariaLively as he made his return to action after months out injured and the free kick he won would normally have been ideally placed for Messi. His introduction tipped it in PSG’s favor as he teed Mbappe up for the decisive goal.7
(SUB 2) Idrissa GueyePereiraSent on for Pereira as the game was dying out and got on the ball a few times.6
Mauricio Pochettino2His initial match setup worked well in the first half, but he refused to change things up until Neymar came on towards the final quarter of an hour. Little to no in-game management once the press started to wear off and luckily Mbappe bailed him out at the death as he has frequently this season.6

Real Madrid ratings

(GK) Thibaut Courtois90He was sensational. He denied Mbappe’s first good chance and stopped a Lionel Messi penalty kick. What more do you want? His defense let him down.8
(DEF) Ferland Mendy90Everything went through Mbappe on the other side, so he had little to do. Seriously, he had zero tackles. Struggled with his duels but didn’t have to do much.5
(DEF) David Alaba90Was able to stay with Mbappe well at times and had a team-high 4 interceptions. Not at fault on the goal at all as two others were marking Mbappe.6
(DEF) Eder Militao90Not his night. He largely held his own until him and Lucas Vazquez were put on skates during the late Mbappe winner. An unbelievable lapse in form.4
(DEF) Dani Carvajal72Absolutely putrid display. Mbappe ran circles around him numerous times, and he also conceded the penalty kick. It was a night to forget, and there is no way he starts the second leg.1
(MID) Toni Kroos90His passing was sharp in terms of percentage, but they were largely square passes. When it was going forward, it just was below average. Ended up with an expected assist total of 0.06, which was, shockingly, the team high.5
(MID) Casemiro90Played with fire, as usual. But he did have his moments in the middle to thwart PSG’s attack. Made the biggest impact defensively, but he’ll miss the second leg due to suspension.7
(MID) Luka Modric82Similar to Kroos in that his passing was largely accurate but not at all threatening. A strange match where he never really got to get forward with time.5
(FWD) Vinicius Jr.           82Just 33 touches and no shots. The service wasn’t there because the team didn’t have the ball at all. Frustrating.4
(FWD) Karim Benzema87Zero shots, but he was always trying to make something happen. Dealt well with PSG’s pressure but didn’t have many places to go with the ball.5
(FWD) Marcos Asensio72Over an hour of absolutely nothing. No shots, no chances created, nothing. The only thing he did was play Messi into a handball.3
Lucas VazquezCarvajal (72′)Was brought on to help the defense … and instead he let Mbappe pass him by like nothing for the goal. He didn’t understand the assignment.2
RodrygoAsensio (72)’In 18 minutes, he at least got a shot off. Same can’t be said for the starting attackers. He was decent in his few touches.5
Eden HazardVinicius Jr. (82′)Played just under 10 minutes and touched the ball 10 times, but he never got to try anything in attack.N/A
Fede ValverdeModric (82′)The Charrua deserved more minutes than this. Fresh legs in the midfield that tried to help stop Mbappe, but he just couldn’t get there.5
Gareth BaleBenzema (87′)Touched the ball twice. Had 87 minutes on the bench to think about golf.N/A
Carlo Ancelotti5A historically bad attacking performance. Waited well over an hour to make any changes, which made absolutely no sense. Now he must deal with Casemiro’s absence and figure out how to neutralize Kylian Mbappe. Hint: It isn’t with Carvajal, Vazquez or them combined. Chendo ain’t walking through that door, Carlito.1

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