Tuesday. 29.11.2022
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Late, late Mbappe gives PSG edge over Real Madrid

The record 13-time champions had keeper Courtois to thank with the Belgian diving low to his left to save Messi's powerfully struck penalty just after the hour

15 February 2022, France, Paris: Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe in action during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid at Parc des Princes stadium. Photo: Bruno Fahy/BELGA/dpa.
Kylian Mbappe in action during the Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match between PSG and Real Madrid. Photo: Bruno Fahy/dpa.

Kylian Mbappe struck deep into injury-time to earn Paris Saint-Germain a deserved 1-0 win over Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash on Tuesday after Lionel Messi had a penalty saved.

Substitute Neymar made the goal with a backheel and Mbappe slipped the ball under Thibaut Courtois, who had previously looked unbeatable.

PSG dominated throughout against a Real side who appeared happy to return home to Madrid with a clean sheet knowing that would have them in the driving seat with the away goals rule scrapped.

But they must be much more positive in search of a win in the return on March 9 if they are to end PSG's dream of a first continental crown.

“I am very happy," PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino told Canal+. "The team's performance was very good.

"We were generally better than Real; we deserved the victory. There is still one game left but it is important to have taken this first step."

The record 13-time champions had keeper Courtois to thank with the Belgian diving low to his left to save Messi's powerfully struck penalty just after the hour.

15 February 2022, France, Paris: Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois celebrates after saving a penality during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid at Parc des Princes stadium. Photo: Bruno Fahy/BELGA/dpa.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois celebrates after saving a penalty. Photo: Bruno Fahy/dpa.

Former Barcelona star Messi was otherwise quiet against his old rivals though did set up Mbappe with a superb first half pass only for Courtois to save.

Mbappe was denied by an even better Courtois parry from his sharp turn and shot after the break and won the penalty by tricking Dani Carvajal into a reckless challenge.

The return of Neymar

Neymar returned from injury off the bench just after the missed spot-kick and took until four minutes into added time to inspire the winner. His flick still left Mbappe with plenty to do and he finished calmly after evading two defenders.

"We lost a stupid ball, Mbappe skips by two and manages to get the ball under me," said Courtois. "It's tough to take but we didn't play well.

"Our gameplan doesn't change all that much being one down – we need to win to go through."

Mbappe has been widely linked with a summer switch to Real when his PSG contract expires and his magnificent display is unlikely to have dampened enthusiasm for the switch in Madrid.

City crush Sporting

There will be less tension in Manchester in three weeks as City - also seeking a maiden title in the competition - resume against Sporting leading 5-0.

A devastating first half performance brought goals from Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and two from Bernardo Silva, who was then denied a hat-trick by video review early in the second half.

“I honestly think in the first half we weren’t good enough to be 4-0 up," Portugal midfielder Silva, who comes from Lisbon, told BT Sport. "I think sometimes we were a bit sloppy, but we were very clinical to score those goals with not so many chances."

Raheem Sterling did curl home a brilliant fifth and Pep Guardiola's runners-up from last season are all but guaranteed their last eight place already.

City are the first team to lead an away game by four goals at half-time in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Red Bull Salzburg v Bayern Munich and Inter Milan v Liverpool are Wednesday with the remaining first legs next week.

Late, late Mbappe gives PSG edge over Real Madrid
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