Late double sees PSG snatch draw at Real Madrid
Champions League Group A, Bernabeu – Real Madrid 2 (Benzema 17 79) Paris Saint-Germain 2 (Mbappe 81, Sarabia 83)
Kylian Mbappe and Pablo Sarabia struck inside the final 10 minutes as PSG snatched a 2-2 draw at Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Having been outplayed for the majority of the match, a mix-up between Thibaut Courtois and Raphael Varane allowed Mbappe to prod home from close range before ex-Madrid man Sarabia lashed home two minutes later to complete an improbable comeback that sees PSG top Group A.
And a crazy game was almost given an even more dramatic ending too, with Gareth Bale - who was booed when he came on as a substitute - rattling the post with a 94th-minute free-kick.
Earlier, Courtois had watched the referee flash him a red card just before the break when he brought down Mbappe, but VAR gave him a reprieve when a minor infringement by a PSG player was seen in the move's build-up.
Madrid almost lay down a marker, instead PSG do. They’ve been slow to get going in this season’s Champions League, but Madrid were sensational at times tonight and anyone who thought this team was past it should be thinking again on this evidence. Their movement and quick passing was more than the PSG defence could handle and they also strangled the visitors for most of the first 80 minutes, simply not allowing them play.
However, some calamitous defending left the door ajar for the Parisians and they duly took full advantage, showing some of the grit and tenacity that has eluded them win previous seasons when the going has gotten tough in the Champions League. Previous versions of PSG have felt like a soft touch and you wonder whether they would have been able to stay in a game where they were so thoroughly outplayed for so long - this season’s team proved they are capable of that tonight.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Keylor Navas (PSG): The Costa Rican made a series improbable saves to keep PSG in the game. A couple he made from close range to deny Isco and Benzema after the break stand out in particular and, given Courtois’ unconvincing display, many of the home fans may wish he was still guarding their net.
17’ - GOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 PSG (Benzema). What a lovely team goal! Following nice work from Hazard, Valverde and Carvajal have an overlap on the right. They play a one-two as Valverde bursts into the box and he then cuts the ball back for Isco, who scuffs a shot onto the post but it's not to worry as Benzema gobbles up the rebound. Brilliant football.
42’ - RED CARD! But wait - we’re off the VAR. Icardi beats Courtois to a through ball, pokes it past him and is then taken out by the goalkeeper. Initially it’s a free-kick and a red card for Courtois, but the contact was actually inside the box so everyone expects a penalty to be awarded and Courtois’ punishment reduced to a yellow. However, the referee has actually spotted a slight push by Gueye in the build-up so instead Madrid are awarded a free-kick and Courtois survives!
46’- GREAT SAVE! New half, same old Navas making smart saves. This time he denies Benzema from point-blank range.
61’ - WHAT A SAVE! Navas pulls off another sensational stop. Isco meets a low cross six yards out and wrong-foots the goalkeeper, but Navas stretches out a hand as he's falling down and tips the ball wide.
79’ - GOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 PSG (Benzema). Marcelo is afforded space on the left and he floats a cross towards Benzema, who heads downwards and past Navas to likely seal the win.
81’ - GOAL! Real Madrid 2-1 PSG (Mbappe). Varane and Courtois get in a horrible mix-up, neither deals with a bobbling cross and Mbappe is left to prod into an empty net!
83’ - GOAL! Real Madrid 2-2 PSG (Sarabia). Wow! Bernat's low cross comes to Draxler and his shot is blocked but only as far as Sarabia, who lashes the ball into the top corner on the bounce! That's a brilliant strike and PSG are level out of nowhere.
90+4’ - OFF THE POST! Bale steps up, hits a ferocious free-kick and sees it cannon back off the post! So, so close.
Real Madrid: Courtois 4, Carvajal 7, Ramos 7, Varane 6, Marcelo 8, Casemiro 7, Kroos 8, Valverde 8, Isco 6, Benzema 8, Hazard 8. Subs: Bale 7, Modric 6, Rodrygo 5.
- Madrid are in the knockout stage for the 23rd consecutive season.
- Benzema’s goals were the first that PSG had conceded in the Champions League this season.
- Only Raul, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored more Champions League goals that Benzema.
- Benzema has four goals and two assists in five games in the competition this season.
- Real Madrid have now hosted French opposition 12 times in the Champions League and never lost, winning eight of those games.