PSG Forward, Kylian Mbappe scored a brilliant last gasp winner as Paris Saint Germain beat Real Madrid 1-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie in Paris.
Mbappe has received much attention in the buildup to the match, given the expectation that he will join Madrid at the end of the season, and he ultimately made the difference at the Parc des Princes.
It looked as though PSG were going to be frustrated, as the France striker had previously been thwarted on a few occasions by Thibaut Courtois, who also saved a Lionel Messi penalty that Mbappe won.
But with time almost up, Mbappe finally got his goal to give PSG a slender advantage ahead of the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu. Mbappe looked a man keen to impress right from the outset, beating Dani Carvajal and crossing for Angel Di Maria to blaze over from eight yards.
He then got in behind Eder Militao but his mishit leftfooted effort was turned around the post by Courtois, who pounced on a deflected Danilo Pereira header at the resulting corner.
Madrid managed to tighten up defensively, thus keeping Mbappe quiet for the remainder of the opening 45, but he burst into life again early in the second period, forcing Courtois into a fine save down to his right.
Mbappe was unsurprisingly the source of PSG`s best chance just past the hour as he won a penalty from the clumsy Carvajal, but Courtois again came to Madrid’s rescue.
Just when Madrid looked to have survived a late onslaught, Mbappe collected substitute Neymar’s clever backheel, jinked between two defenders and shot between Courtois’ legs – with the aid of a slight deflection – to win the game.
What does it mean to Pochettino, elimination at this stage of the competition could cost Mauricio Pochettino his job. While PSG were hardly exceptional, Pochettino will have been wondering how they were not ahead as the game entered stoppage time.
A Messi penalty you might almost take for granted as a goal, but Courtois had one of those days for the most part. Yet Mbappe showed what can happen when you have a forward line of such quality.
Below are the highlights of the first leg of the champions league round of 16 match between PSG and Real Madrid:
How decisive that goal will be in the grand scheme of this tie and Pochettino’s future remains to be seen, but it certainly takes a little pressure off heading into the second leg.
Mbappe relishes the attention
It would have been easy for Mbappe to fade into the background here – we have seen it time and time again when a coveted player fails to sparkle on the big stage.
Key Opta facts
– Kylian Mbappé has been involved in at least 1 goal in each of his last 7 games in the Champions League (5 goals, 4 assists), equalling the record for a French player in the competition since Opta collects this data (2003/04) set by himself in May-December 2017. Crack.
– Kylian Mbappé has scored the latest goal for Paris in Champions League (93 minutes and 14 seconds) since the one scored by Blaise Matuidi (93 minutes and 44 seconds) against Barcelona in April 2013. Drama.
– Lionel Messi has failed to convert 5 of his 23 penalty attempts in the Champions League, more than any other player since Opta began collecting this data (2003/04). Waste.
– Mbappe’s goal was just the second 90th-minute winner Real Madrid have conceded in the Champions League after Mirko Vucinic for Roma in March 2008.
– This was just the second time PSG have won a Champions League knockout match via a 90th-minute winner after Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting against Atalanta in August 2020 (quarter-final).
– Madrid have failed to land a shot on target in just two Champions League games since 2003-04 (when Opta shot data began), with both matches coming against PSG (also Sept 2019).
– Madrid have failed to score in three consecutive away knockout matches in the Champions League (exc. neutral) for the first time in their history.
– Messi has failed to score in each of his last eight appearances against Real Madrid in all competitions and has gone 695 minutes since his last goal against them (May 2018).
– Messi’s last two penalty misses in the Champions League have come at the Parc des Princes – with Barcelona in March 2021 and now for PSG. Since his first season in the competition (2004-05), no player has failed to score more penalties (five).
The second leg will be played on March 9 at the Santiago Bernabeu. But both sides now turn their attentions back to league action, with PSG going to Nantes while Real Madrid hosts Deportivo Alaves at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on Saturday.