Kylian Mbappe scored a last-minute goal to hand PSG a vital 1-0 win over Real Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.
PSG were the dominant side on the night as Real Madrid were pegged back for most of the contest. The first chance came for Angel Di Maria, but the winger failed to keep his effort on target. Kylian Mbappe then came close to scoring, only to see his effort brilliantly saved by Thibaut Courtois, while Gianluigi Donnarumma was a spectator at the other end.
Mbappe had the first major chance of the second half but saw his strike again stopped by Courtois, who was keeping Real Madrid in the game. The Frenchman, who is believed to be headed to the Spanish capital club in the summer, kept up the pressure and won a penalty. Lionel Messi stepped up to take the spot-kick against his old foes, but Courtois was again up to the task, denying the ex-Barcelona superstar.
PSG upped the ante in the final stages, with Neymar coming on to help pile more pressure on their visitors. However, a goal was not forthcoming. Real Madrid tried to push forward in the final few minutes but could not get a single shot on target.
And just when it looked like the game was headed for a draw, Mbappe came up with the decisive moment, dribbling past two players before beating Courtois in the 94th minute to send Parc des Princes into a frenzy. The victory was well-deserved for Les Parisiens, considering they controlled the game from the start, while Real Madrid were too timid and defensive in their tactics.
Here are our ratings for both sets of players after an engrossing encounter in the French capital.
PSG Player Ratings
Gianluigi Donnarumma: 6/10
The Italian international hardly had anything to do on the night as Real Madrid could not muster up a single shot on target. One of the easiest clean sheets he will ever keep.
Achraf Hakimi: 8/10
The former Real Madrid man showed what they were missing out on with a top display. Hakimi was a constant attacking threat, making forward forays with ease as he played three key passes. At the same time, he ensured Vinicius Junior had a quiet outing, keeping him in check throughout.
First battle won! ???? pic.twitter.com/kQcT7mHiLv
— Achraf Hakimi (@AchrafHakimi) February 15, 2022
A calm and composed display from the experienced Brazilian, who made sure Karim Benzema did not pose much of a threat while also chipping in with a crucial block late on.
Presnel Kimpembe: 7/10
Like his defensive partner, Kimpembe also had a solid outing as he dealt with whatever little threat Real Madrid posed with relative ease.
Nuno Mendes: 7.5/10
The 19-year-old had a slow start to the contest, but grew into the game with time and caused all sorts of problems to Dani Carvajal with his link-up with Kylian Mbappe. The Portuguese international was also tight at the back and made a game-high five tackles.
Danilo Pereira: 7/10
Reinstated to the starting XI, the midfielder did his job without a fuss. Pereira was always dropping into the backline, which allowed the full-backs to push forward. He also used the ball well when in possession.
Leandro Paredes: 7/10
The Argentine international shielded the defence effectively, coming out on top in the midfield battle. Paredes was also precise and accurate with his distribution, pinging the ball forward for the attackers to make their moves.
Marco Verratti: 9/10
Marco Verratti vs Real Madrid
— ST. LEO??? (@STLEONARDOASR) February 16, 2022
He ran the show from the middle of the park, overshadowing his Real Madrid counterparts Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. Verratti dealt with the opponent’s press and dictated the play from midfield. Almost everything positive that PSG created went through Verratti, who engineered the most number of chances in the game (6). He could also get in some important tackles to stop the opponents.
Angel Di Maria: 5/10
A poor outing for Di Maria against his former club. The Argentine missed a great chance to open the scoring in the first half and was generally wayward with his shooting. He hardly created any meaningful opportunities either, although he did work hard off the ball.
Lionel Messi: 6/10
Lionel Messi has not scored or assisted against Real Madrid since Cristiano Ronaldo joined Juventus at the start of the 2018/19 season. ? pic.twitter.com/dXBn4KYsNR
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 15, 2022
Playing as a false-nine against his old foes Real Madrid, Messi largely operated in deeper areas which meant he did not pose much of a goal threat. But he did create a chance or two for Mbappe. The biggest moment came in the second half when he stepped up to take the penalty, but failed to beat Courtois. He somewhat redeemed himself by creating an opportunity for Neymar.
Kylian Mbappe: 9/10
The man who is set to join Real Madrid in the summer tormented them on Tuesday, showing how big of a threat he can be. Mbappe looked to make things happen each time he got on the ball. The Frenchman was twice denied by Courtois, won the penalty which Messi spurned, and finally won it for PSG with the last kick of the game. World class.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 15, 2022
Replaced Di Maria with a little over 15 minutes left to make his first appearance since late November. Neymar looked lively in his cameo and ensured PSG kept Real Madrid under pressure. He got the assist for the winner.
Idrissa Gueye: N/A
He came on for Danilo in the 87th minute. Added energy and intensity and had an attempt thwarted by Courtois.
Real Madrid Player Ratings
Thibaut Courtois: 8/10
Thibaut Courtois deserved better… pic.twitter.com/dxm7wGq76w
— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) February 15, 2022
The man who kept Real Madrid in the game, Courtois made several huge saves throughout the contest – none bigger than the stop he pulled off to deny Messi from the penalty spot. However, he did end up getting beaten by Mbappe in stoppage time. The Belgian deserved better support from his teammates.
Dani Carvajal: 3/10
He was torn to shreds by Mbappe and Mendes on the flank. Carvajal just could not keep up with the French forward and constantly came out second-best in their duels. A poor lunge on the former AS Monaco man led to a penalty in the second half, but Courtois spared his blushes. He was taken off not long after.
Eder Militao: 7/10
The Brazilian was easily one of the better outfield players for Real Madrid on the night as he stayed alert at the back and thwarted PSG on numerous occasions. Militao covered on the right side for Carvajal and stuck it out under pressure. However, he was one of the players that Mbappe ran past, leading to the winning goal.
David Alaba: 7.5/10
Like Militao, Alaba was another top performer for Real Madrid as he threw his body on the line time and again to get in the way of PSG forwards. The Austrian international made several key interceptions and blocks, including stopping an effort from Mbappe, and was strong in his challenges.
Ferland Mendy: 5/10
Back from injury, the Frenchman was thrust into the lineup by Carlo Ancelotti, but he did not look fully fit. While Di Maria did not trouble him that much, Mendy struggled every time Mbappe shifted to his flank, while he hardly offered anything in the attacking sense. Booked and will miss the second leg due to suspension.
Luka Modric: 5/10
A disappointing display from the veteran midfielder. He was pinned back deep for most parts, and when he did get on the ball, Modric was unable to drive Real Madrid upfield and make things happen. He did help out defensively, cutting out spaces for Messi, but it was an underwhelming display overall.
— Real Madrid C.F. ???? (@realmadriden) February 15, 2022
An early booking meant that he will miss the second leg, but the Brazilian stuck to his task for the rest of the game and did a lot of dirty work in the middle of the park in an attempt to stop Mbappe and Messi. At the same time, he also used the ball well when in possession, but could not drag Real Madrid back in the game.
Toni Kroos: 5/10
The German international was nowhere near his best on the night as PSG’s control of the proceedings meant he could not get on the ball and dictate play for Real Madrid. Even when he did have the ball, Kroos was not progressive enough with his passes and was outdone by Marco Verratti.
Marco Asensio: 3/10
A forgettable night for the Spaniard who did absolutely nothing of note at the Parc des Princes.
?| Ancelotti: "The problem has been that the ball couldn't reach Benzema. But also Vinicius or Asensio. We didn't have the ball."
— Madrid Xtra. (@MadridXtra) February 15, 2022
Karim Benzema: 5/10
The Frenchman returned from injury for the big game but clearly was not 100% fit and lacked that bit of sharpness. He did show some lovely touches and link-up, but never posed a major goal threat, while the service he received was not adequate either.
Vinicius Junior: 5/10
The Real Madrid winger made a few decent forward runs and drew a few fouls, but never really looked to be a major threat. He was well-marshalled by Hakimi and Danilo Pereira.
Lucas Vazquez: 4/10
On for Carvajal in the 72nd minute. He was beaten by Mbappe in the lead-up to the late goal.
Rodrygo Goes: 5/10
Came on for Asensio in the 72nd minute. He had one or two promising moments but not enough to turn things around.
Federico Valverde: N/A
Replaced Modric in the 82nd minute. He could not block Mbappe’s strike.
Eden Hazard: N/A
Sent on in place of Vinicius Junior with less than ten minutes left. Hazard did little of note.
Gareth Bale: N/A
Late substitute for Benzema.