In the 1/8 finals of the Champions League, two more confrontations ended. In the battle of giants between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, the Spanish club won 3:2 on aggregate. In the return match, Madrid took the lead 3:1, although they conceded first and lost with a total score of 0:2. Manchester City, having defeated Sporting on the road – 5: 0, tied at home 0: 0 and also reached the quarterfinals.
If the return match between Manchester City and Sporting was of absolutely no interest after the thrashing that the English giant inflicted on the Portuguese club in Lisbon, then in the second game of Real Madrid with PSG, the intrigue was through the roof. Although it must be admitted, their first meeting did not live up to expectations. And disappointed Real Madrid. Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti put it mildly, saying that his team did not show their best football in Paris. However, there they suffered minimal damage, losing 0:1, and retained good chances of success in the home match. The Italian specialist said that at the Santiago Bernabeu everyone would see a different, real Real Madrid. And midfielder of the home team Luka Modric hoped that his team will help a lot of experience, recalling that PSG had never won the Champions League.
At the same time, the Spanish club missed due to the disqualification of defender Ferland Mendy and defensive midfielder Casemiro. But the opponent had Neymar in the starting lineup, who in the Paris meeting came on as a substitute only in the 73rd minute. The Brazilian still managed to give an assist then to Kylian Mbappe, but now PSG, of course, could count on a higher efficiency of their attack. In addition, the debt remained with Lionel Messi, who did not convert a penalty at the Parc des Princes.
Real Madrid started the home match with great enthusiasm. Nevertheless, the first relatively dangerous blow was delivered by Mbappe, who tried to surprise goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from an acute angle. Soon, the French striker broke into a much more convenient position from which it was quite possible to score, but this time the Belgian acted flawlessly. But the opening onslaught of the hosts turned out to be idle and gradually completely came to naught. The guests took possession of the ball and began to “impudently” roll it near the Madrid penalty area to the whistle of the stands. Their combinations lacked a logical conclusion, but Neymar still disturbed Courtois.
“Real” in the middle of the first half also finally tested the vigilance of Gianluigi Donnarumma, when Karim Benzema twisted the ball into the corner from behind the penalty area. The PSG goalkeeper reacted, and in response, Messi and Neymar spun the carousel at the Courtois gate. In terms of the combination of moments, the Parisians, of course, were much closer to the goal, and in the 34th minute, Mbappe hit the bar tightly, receiving a pass from Nuno Mendes. Fortunately for Madrid, the Portuguese got into a small offside position. Then they even seemed to be able to transfer the game to someone else’s half, and Benzema hit his head twice. However, the guests organized a classic counterattack, Neymar threw the lightning-fast Mbappe into the gap, and he, taking advantage of the passivity of defender David Alaba, who simply did not know how to stop the Frenchman one-on-one, approached the goal and shot them corny.
So, according to the sum of two meetings, PSG was already leading 2-0, and therefore, Real Madrid needed to score at least two goals in order to at least survive until extra time. But even in the second half, the hosts had little to dance in front, and Mbappe continued to break their defense and hit the Courtois gate for the third time. This ball was also voided for offside, yet the visitors were in complete control and there seemed to be no sign of the drastic turn that took place in Madrid after 61 minutes.
In fact, Donnarumma’s mistake turned everything upside down when the Italian goalkeeper out of the blue made a ridiculous loss, allowing himself to be covered by Benzema, for which he was immediately punished. Benzema himself, with the help of Vinicius Junior, equalized the score, and Real Madrid seized their chance with a stranglehold. And the Parisians, who still had a plus-one advantage, became visibly nervous. In the 76th minute, they already made a collective failure in defense, and Benzema scored a double from Modric’s pass. And immediately the French striker of Real Madrid scored a hat-trick when the captain of PSG Marquinhos laid the ball on his foot in his own penalty area. And although the guests still made some attempts to save the match, doom was evident in their actions. Ancelotti’s team pulled out a victory – 3: 1 – and made it to the quarterfinals.