PSG roar back at Real Madrid to clinch top spot
Kylian Mbappé and Pablo Sarabia found the net as Paris Saint-Germain came from two goals down to grab a 2-2 draw at Real Madrid on Tuesday and clinch top spot in UEFA Champions League Group A.
Tuesday, 26 November
UEFA Champions League
Group A, Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid 2-2 Paris Saint-Germain
Neymar started on the bench as Mbappé, Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria led PSG's bid to finish top of the group. Only a point was required to do that, and when Mbappé picked out Icardi for a header he couldn't quite direct on goal (12'), the visitors looked to be up and running.
But beaten 3-0 at the Parc des Princes in September, Madrid were out to make amends. Toni Kroos flashed a shot over the bar (15') before PSG were undone by a 'Made in Ligue 1' goal: ex-LOSC Lille man Eden Hazard went down the left to start the move and former Olympique Lyonnais striker Karim Benzema was at the end to fire home his third goal in five Champions League games this season and the 63rd of his career.
The strike was also the first goal PSG had conceded in the 2019/20 competition, and they took time to recover from the blow. Kroos tested his former Madrid teammate Keylor Navas (27'), and the Germany international then repeated the test with an even more ferocious effort (33').
Mbappé might have been better advised to try and pick out Icardi rather than shoot from a poor angle (36') in a rare PSG foray forward before Navas, who won three Champions Leagues with Madrid, made saves from Dani Carvajal (39') and Marcelo (40') to keep Thomas Tuchel's men within touching distance at the break.
Madrid would have been down to ten man at the interval but for VAR, which saved 'keeper Thibaut Courtois from an early bath. The ex-Chelsea man was initially adjudged to have fouled Icardi in the area, but the red card and penalty award were annulled as a foul by Idrissa Gueye on Marcelo earlier in the move had been spotted (44').
Neymar came off the bench to replace Gueye at half-time, but PSG were indebted to Navas for keeping out Benzema at point-blank range in the opening minute of the second half (46') and the Costa Rica international then denied Isco (61') as he returned to haunt his former club.
Bale hits post
He was beaten again 11 minutes from time, though, when Benzema powered a header beyond him from an Marcelo cross (79'), but rather than sound the death knell for PSG, it revived them.
Thomas Meunier's cross from the right was not dealt with and Mbappé stole in to fire home (81'); the France international then deliberately stepped over Juan Bernat's cross to allow the ball to run to Julian Draxler. Though his shot was blocked by Sergio Ramos, Sarabia stylishly swept the ball high past Courtois for his first Champions League goal for PSG to earn the point that will see his side seeded come the knockout stage draw.
They would not have had it had Lady Luck not smiled on them and sent a late Gareth Bale free-kick off a post with Navas beaten (90+3'), but the visitors had deserved their good fortune.
THE PLAYER: Keylor Navas
Madrid fans might have been happy to see a familiar face at kick-off, but come full time, they were cursing their former goalkeeper. It was a stirring comeback from PSG, but one that would have been impossible if it had not been for the Costa Rica international, who made a clutch of top-class saves.
THE STAT: 4
Zinedine Zidane has never beaten Tuchel in four attempts as a coach — this was the third draw between the pair.