Mbappe’s Late Strike Stuns Real Madrid In Paris
Kylian Mbappe’s last-minute strike saw PSG beat Real Madrid 1-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France.
The Ligue 1 champions started with the returning Angel Di Maria alongside Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe in attack, while Neymar was on the bench. The visitors made three changes, with Luka Modric, Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema all returning as Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale dropped to the bench.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side had dominated most of the match, only for Mbappe to twice be denied by excellent Courtois stops in each half, before Lionel Messi was given the chance to break the deadlock from the spot. A Penalty was awarded after Dani Carvajal fouled Mbappe in the box.
However, Messi saw his 62nd-minute penalty saved by Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian goalkeeper guessed correctly and jumped to his left to turn Messi’s spot-kick behind for a corner in what looked like being the pivotal moment of the tie.
Courtois registered his first ever penalty save in the UEFA Champions League. Both managers made changes in an effort to break the deadlock, with the hosts seeing the return of Neymar after a four-month layoff with an ankle injury, while Real introduced Gareth Bale.
PSG had appeared to be heading for a frustrating goalless draw in the French capital until the fourth and final minute of stoppage time when Neymar’s cheeky back-heel released Mbappe down the left side of the area. The Frenchman brilliantly dribbled past two madrid players and found himself one on one with Courtois.
The angle was tight, but Mbappe – who has been consistently linked with a move to Real this summer – kept his cool to side-foot home through Courtois’s legs for his 22nd goal of the season.
The victory handed PSG a slender advantage heading into the return leg in Madrid on March 9.
Real Madrid registered only a single shot on target for the entire match as PSG’s defence stood firm. Madrid defended deep for a team of its quality as they lost the desire to attack away from home as the removal of the away goals rule could be a factor. The rule has its pros and cons, but it has a clear unwanted consequence.
Mbappe was awarded the man-of-the match for his brilliant performance.
“We prepare for these big evenings because we dream of this kind of match… we wanted to win and we were pushed by our supporters,” Mbappe said. “We are very happy with this slight advantage, but there is a return match and the [league to concentrate on before] then.”
“In matches like this, there is a lot of running. We have to keep our eyes open for opportunities. We were not lucky enough to score [earlier] but we do now have a slight advantage going into the second leg, so we are happy.”
Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League results
PSG 1-0 Real Madrid
Sporting Lisbon 0-5 Manchester City