PSG into Champions League last 16 with narrow win
Mauro Icardi's first-half goal and a late penalty save by Keylor Navas handed Paris Saint-Germain a 1-0 win over Club Brugge on Wednesday that sealed their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Wednesday, 6 November 2019
UEFA Champions League Matchday 4
Group A, Parc des Princes
Paris Saint-Germain 1 - 0 Club Brugge KV
This was not a vintage performance from PSG, five days after their surprise Ligue 1 Conforama defeat at the hands of Dijon FCO. However, they got the job done against the Belgian champions, holding on after Icardi's strike midway through the first half.
The Argentine was again preferred to club record goal-scorer Edinson Cavani in attack and continues to embellish his statistics. He scored his eighth goal in PSG's last seven games here in the 22nd minute, converting from close range after Colin Dagba's low cross from the right was not dealt with by the visiting defence.
While Ángel Di María came close on more than one occasion after that, the home side lacked their usual cutting edge going forward. Instead, they were grateful to Navas for helping them see out their fourth win in as many matches in Group A.
The Costa Rican 'keeper got his fingertips to one Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis strike just before the half-hour mark. He then reacted well to keep out a deflected Dennis effort not long after the restart.
Silva concedes penalty
However, he saved his best for the 76th minute. Club won a penalty when substitute Mbaye Diagne went down under a challenge from Thiago Silva in the area. The Brazilian, back in the Paris line-up after sitting out the Dijon defeat, was booked by Scottish referee Bobby Madden. However, there was relief for him and the home fans as Navas guessed the right way at Diagne's penalty, diving low to his left and holding the ball.
Thomas Tuchel's team then held out, and while they were nothing like as convincing as in their 5-0 destruction of the same opponents last month, they have a maximum 12 points in Group A and have still not conceded a goal.
They are already through to the last 16 with two group matches to spare, and a draw away at Real Madrid later this month will see them clinch top spot. Club, meanwhile, are left on just two points from four games and look to be in a fight with Galatasaray to take third place and drop into the Europa League.
THE PLAYER: Keylor Navas
PSG felt that in Navas they finally had the world-class goalkeeper they had been looking for. The Costa Rican has been the star of many a Real Madrid Champions League campaign and he was the hero for Tuchel's team here as his penalty save secured the victory and confirmed their place in the last 16.
THE STAT: 8
Paris Saint-Germain are through to the knockout phase of Europe's elite club competition for the eighth season in a row. They remain unbeaten in 23 home group outings in the Champions League since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, with 18 wins and five draws in that time.