Real Madrid registered an unconvincing 1-0 win over French giants Paris Saint-Germian, courtesy of a fortuitous goal scored by left-back Nacho, who came on to replace Brazilian Marcelo in the first half
Rafael Ben tez’s men qualified for the UEFA Champions League knock-out rounds with a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, sending them three points clear at the top of Group A. However, the Ligue 1 side dominated proceedings at the Santiago Bernab u, striking the woodwork on a couple of occasions and missing some gilt-edged opportunities — Uruguayan hitman Edinson Cavani, in particular, guilty of choking in front of goal.
The former Liverpool FC manager acknowledged that his side needs to improve, but cited the absence of key players to injury and the quality of Laurent Blanc’s PSG as mitigating factors in the wake of his team’s unconvincing display.
Ben tez insists quality of PSG makes the win more valuable
The Parisians undoubtedly had the better of the game — particularly in the first half — as they created several good opportunities to test Keylor Navas in the Real Madrid goal. Despite the Spaniards’ better defensive organisation in the second half, the fact that PSG had 60% of the ball while playing away from home would not have gone down particularly well with the Madrid supporters.
Ben tez acknowledged the quality of his opponents on Tuesday, and insisted that this made the win all the more valuable. The Spaniard is quoted by ESPN FC as saying: “This game gives much more value to the result in the away game [a fortnight ago]. This makes that a much better result. We won here, against a great team, we are qualified.
“We knew how to suffer, how to work, in the second half the team improved and might have scored again. But I insist that the value in this win comes from the quality of opponent.”
The 55-year-old also cited the absence of key players due to injury, a list that currently includes the likes of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and James Rodr guez.
“But I insist, we are still winning, qualified, and have been missing players who people thought were among most important in the team,” Ben tez added. “We can keep working on things we’ve not done well, and the return of other players will give us more alternatives.”
Marcelo injury a major negative from Tuesday’s match
The Brazilian limped off in the 33rd minute with what looked like a hamstring injury, but Ben tez defended his decision to play the left-back despite his heavy workload. The extent of the injury is as yet unknown, but with El Clasico just around the corner, the last thing Los Blancos needed was another key player sidelined with injury.
Speaking after the game, Ben tez is quoted by ESPN FC as saying: “Marcelo was already playing many games, we knew anything could happen. As the games go on, the risk rises. It is a hamstring issue, he noticed the pain and did not want to continue.
“Until we know gravity of injury, only thing we can do is lament it. He felt good, he was playing well, so you hold on. But he had a lot of playing time in his muscles, plus lots of travel.”