A Karim Benzema brace was not enough as Real Madrid squandered a two-goal lead to be held to a 2-2 draw by PSG at the Bernabeu on Tuesday
Real Madrid were the more dominant of the two sides right from the get-go and deserved their lead when Karim Benzema scored the opening goal in the 17th minute. Thereafter, though, a frustrating period ensued as PSG no. 1 Keylor Navas thwarted his former side as many as ten times.
The Navas wall was finally breached 10 minutes from time, as Benzema completed his brace, nodding the ball in from Marcelo’s pinpoint cross. However, there was time for a late twist as PSG struck two goals in three minutes from Kylian Mbappe and Pablo Sarabia pulled the game back to level terms.
Real Madrid nearly led with the last kick of the match, only to see Gareth Bale’s free-kick strike the post, as the game ended in a 2-2 draw. PSG, therefore, clinched top spot in Group A while Real Madrid were confirmed as the runners-up and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Thibaut Courtois: 5/10
An intense roller coaster of a game for Courtois, who made a couple of decent saves, but was lucky to not be sent off for a foul on Mauro Icardi as VAR adjudged Marcelo to have been fouled in the build-up to the move. Should have done better to stop Kylian Mbappe, but stood no chance to deny Pablo Sarabia.
Dani Carvajal: 7/10
Carvajal was solid on the night, making an impact on both ends. Heavily involved in the build-up for the first goal, the Spaniard linked up well with Federico Valverde and Isco. Had to cover up for two players at times, with Isco not contributing sufficiently in the defensive phase. Did well to mark Mbappe for much of the game until the latter stages.
Raphael Varane: 5/10
A decent showing for the most part by Varane, who was largely untroubled by Mauro Icardi as well as Neymar. The Frenchman even came close to scoring, only to be denied by the post. But, when it mattered the most, he made a trivial error to allow Mbappe to score PSG’s first goal.
Sergio Ramos: 6/10
Much like Varane, Ramos let the ball drop in the latter stages of the game. Having ensured the defence remained disciplined for much of the game, the fact that Real Madrid lost their shape and were penetrated rather easily is largely down to their captain. Otherwise, Ramos was solid, making four clearances and blocking as many shots.
Starting for the first time since the 6-0 rout of Galatasaray, Marcelo continued from where he had left off. Had a daunting task at hand with Mbappe starting on his flank, but the Brazilian dealt with the threat rather ably. Going forward, he was a menace, creating a number of chances including the pinpoint cross from which Benzema scored his second goal. Quite a resurgent run he is on.
Federico Valverde: 9/10
It it testament to Zidane’s trust in him that Valverde pipped the in-form Luka Modric to the starting spot in midfield. And, the Uruguayan vindicated his manager’s decision with a fantastic all round showing. Not only did Valverde complete three dribbles and made two key passes, he also put in the hard yards defensively, winning three tackles and making as many interceptions.
Indicative of just how influential he was, particularly in the defensive phase, is just how easy it was to overrun Real Madrid in midfield when he was subbed off. Valverde is slowly becoming indispensable for Zidane.
A solid evening for the most part for Casemiro, who did well to stifle a dangerous PSG midfield for much of the first half. Was bothered a bit by the arrival of Neymar, but the Brazilian held his own in his personal duel with his compatriot, until the final ten minutes, when the absence of Valverde was telling, as he almost had too much to do off the ball.
Toni Kroos: 8.5/10
Toni Kroos’ game by numbers vs. PSG:
• most passes completed (101)
• most final third passes (48)
• most chances created (7)
Maestro. 🇩🇪 pic.twitter.com/hV6SuFAlpK
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) November 26, 2019
Incredible performance. With Valverde doing a lot of the legwork alongside Casemiro, Kroos had the freedom to pull the strings without being troubled a lot by defensive workload. Completed 101 of his 103 attempted passes and created more chances than any player on the pitch (7). In a league of his own creatively, Kroos continues his renaissance and could have had a goal of his own if not for Keylor Navas.
A surprise starter, Isco was named in the lineup to overload midfield, which proved to be a masterstroke as Real Madrid thoroughly dominated the midfield battle; even more so after Idrissa Gueye was subbed off for Neymar. Displayed excellent close control and linked up well with Hazard, Valverde and Benzema to assert the hosts’ control in the final third.
Karim Benzema: 9/10
Coming into the game having scored five goals in three games, it was clear that Benzema was the form player for Real Madrid. And, the Frenchman continued to add to his tally, scoring two goals to lead Los Blancos‘ charge for the win. That was just not it, though, as Benzema also played a key role in his side’s build-up play.
As for the goals, the first was a simple finish, but the second was absolutely superb, caressing a fine delivery from Marcelo past the near-impregnable Navas. On another day, he would have celebrated a match-winning hat-trick, if not for the former Real Madrid custodian. Just on an incredible run of scoring form; only Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi have scored more than him this year.
Eden Hazard: 9/10
The player to watch in our preview and a player who just continues to grow with every passing performance in the white of Real Madrid. Hazard might not have any goals to show for his efforts, but he was the player who, alongside Kroos, absolutely ran the show against PSG.
The Belgian wizard played a key role in the build-up to Benzema’s first goal, dribbling past three onrushing PSG players – and nutmegging the referee – before finding acres of space and linking up with Valverde.
It is quite symptomatic that Real Madrid were just not the same team going forward when he was taken off with an injury. That injury is now a major concern for Real Madrid, with Zidane indicating that it is on the same ankle, which prevented him from making his Real Madrid debut for a month.
Gareth Bale: 6/10
Bale was brought on for the injured Hazard and the difference in the players’ levels was apparent. Nevertheless, the Welshman put in a shift for the last 20 minutes and nearly won it for Real Madrid, only to be cruelly denied a wonder goal by the woodwork deep into injury time.
Luka Modric: 7/10
On for Valverde, Modric boosted Real Madrid’s creative output and opened up play nicely in the lead-up to Benzema’s second goal. But, he could not provide as good a defensive cover as Valverde, as PSG easily overran Real Madrid in the middle of the park when scoring their two goals.
Rodrygo Goes: N/A
On for the final 10 minutes or so, Rodrygo had a great chance to set Benzema up for his hat-trick, which would have also been the match-winning goal. But, the Brazilian prodigy ended up taking aim at goal and pulling his shot, much to the chagrin of the star striker. Will learn from the mistake.