Real Madrid 2-2 Paris Saint-Germain
Paris Saint-Germain have clinched top spot in Champions League Group A after a 2-2 draw against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Madrid looked well on course toward getting their revenge on PSG after Karim Benzema’s brace gave them a 2-0 lead with just over 10 minutes to go.
But the Parisians defied the Champions League 2019 odds as they staged a stunning comeback with goals from Kylian Mbappe and Pablo Sarabia to salvage a point in Spain.
Highlights of the game
The big Champions League 2019 news for PSG was that Neymar started the match on the bench. The Brazilian superstar had only just returned over the weekend after a lengthy injury layoff, and manager Thomas Tuchel didn’t believe he was ready for such a high-intensity match against Madrid.
Instead, the in-form Mauro Icardi kept his place in the starting XI and was flanked by Mbappe and Angel Di Maria.
It was Icardi and Mbappe who were involved in the first meaningful chance of the match on 12 minutes. Mbappe got in behind the Madrid defence and chipped in a teasing cross for Icardi, but the Argentine was unable to get his header on target.
Real got their first real sight of goal a couple of minutes later. Toni Kroos tried his luck from distance, but his powerful shot just sailed over the bar.
But Real would take the lead on their next attack. Fede Valverde made a brilliant run into the box and cut the ball back to Isco, whose shot bounced back off the post. Luckily, Karim Benzema was on hand to slot home the rebound.
Real looked to double their advantage as Kroos had a couple more attempts from long range. His first shot brought out a brilliant save from Keylor Navas, but his second was tamer and was saved comfortably. Casemiro also came a bit close with a long-range strike of his own.
Then, PSG had a legit penalty shout on 42 minutes as Thibaut Courtois came charging out and brought down Icardi. The referee had shown a red card to Courtois, although everyone still had to wait for the VAR review.
But after checking the monitor, the referee remarkably revised his decision as he gave a free-kick for a foul which he saw in the build-up to all of the penalty drama.
Real were given a huge let-off, and they nearly capitalised by doubling their lead seconds into the second half. Marcelo’s cross found Benzema at the back post, but Navas made a brilliant save to deny his former team-mate.
PSG brought Neymar on at half-time in place of Idrissa Gueye, although the visitors were unable to create many chances for the first 15 minutes of the half. Instead, it was Madrid which looked more likely to score the next goal.
Real finally did get that second goal on 79 minutes. Marcelo and Benzema connected once again, and this time, the French forward buried the Brazilian’s cross with a header from point-blank range.
PSG looked dead and buried down 2-0 away from home with 10 minutes to go. But the French champions had a brilliant response as they pulled one back almost immediately.
Real’s French defender, Raphael Varane, made a complete hash of clearing Thomas Meunier’s cross. As a result, the ball found its way to Mbappe, who poked it into the net.
And just a couple minutes later, PSG were level. Real’s defence was sliced up much too easily by Neymar, who laid the ball off to Bernat. The Spaniard’s cross found Julian Draxler, whose shot was blocked. But Pablo Sarabia pounced on the rebound and found the top corner for PSG’s equaliser.
Real were desperate to snatch a late winner and came close a couple of times. Navas could only parry a Dani Carvajal strike to the path of Rodrygo, but the hat-trick hero against Galatasaray unwisely chose to shoot — which went wide — instead of passing to an open Benzema. In the end, they had to settle for a draw, which they will consider two points dropped as opposed to one earned.
Madrid were absolutely dominant as they peppered PSG’s goal with 27 shots, 12 of which were on target. The visitors could only create half that much (13), with four on target.
Benzema, who came into the match in brilliant form, had another spectacular performance. He led the way with five shots, four of which were on target, and two found the net.
Real’s next match sees them pay a visit to a suddenly in-form Deportivo Alaves side that’s won two in a row in La Liga. Although, SBOBET odds should still have Madrid placed as significant favourites to claim all three points.
As for PSG, they will take on a struggling Monaco side that they’ve thrashed 3-1, 4-0, and 7-1 in their last three league meetings.
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