In the Parc des Princes there was only one king of the Champions League. This has been Cristiano Ronaldo’s competition and he scored the goal that killed off Paris St-Germain’s hopes of overturning a 3-1 deficit against the holders Real Madrid.
For PSG, their season is now over and that will be crushingly hard to take, while coach Unai Emery will pay the price. The Spaniard will not be in charge next season, while there will be bitter disappointment at the French giants falling short again in a competition they desperately want to win. “I want to apologise to the fans,” midfielder Adrien Rabiot said. PSG provided the promised sound but not the fury.
No one could accuse Ronaldo of falling short and he achieved another record: it was the ninth successive Champions League game in which he has scored, equalling a mark set by Ruud van Nistelrooy for Manchester United in 2002-03.
His goal was also his 53rd away from home in the Champions League – another record – and his 117th in total. This season he has 14 in this competition, 31 overall and 22 goals in his past 13 matches. That is some return for a player in decline.
He scored with a trademark, towering header. It was one of those goals we have seen him execute so many times before as he hangs in the air before powering home. In scoring – as he did twice in the first leg – he led Real to an eighth successive Champions League quarter-final as they strive to win it for a third season in a row.
Asensio's vision 😎
Vázquez's cross 👌
Ronaldo's header 🙌
Real Madrid are on their way to the quarter-finals... pic.twitter.com/TeDNoSck9Q
That is the kind of return PSG crave, and their task was made all the more difficult by the absence of the injured Neymar. The game was too much for teenager Kylian Mbappe, who disappointed, and also Marco Verratti, who started brightly but was sent off. Having been booked for a first-half tackle, he was cautioned again for dissent as he petulantly shouted at referee Felix Brych. Verratti, like the rest of his team, again lacked maturity.
What now for PSG? Emery will be sacked and there will be fresh reports in Spain that Neymar wants out, but they are adamant he will stay. They are also adamant they hold no interest in Jose Mourinho, but they need to toughen up.
“It is a disappointment to lose in the last 16, but not to lose against Real Madrid,” Emery said, but that will not cut it.
Paris SG vs Madrid shots on goal
Ronaldo’s was not the only goal and there was even an equaliser from Edinson Cavani, which gave a brief flicker of hope before Casemiro consigned PSG to defeat. There will be repercussions from Uefa for the French club after their raucous, unrelenting fans set off a series of flares, with the referee halting play and the PSG players pleading with their supporters to relent.
Going out to Real is no disgrace, especially since this was a different Real to the side who finished second to Tottenham Hotspur in their group. They did not start with Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos or Luka Modric, but they had Ronaldo and impressive young performers, such as Marco Asensio. They are salvaging a terrible campaign with a pursuit of the trophy they feel belongs to them. This was redemptive for coach Zinedine Zidane.
“Bravo,” he said. It was brave also, not least in his team selection.
The attempts to unsettle Real proved fruitless. There had been fireworks and flares outside their team hotel at 1.30am and even more pyrotechnics greeted their arrival as PSG whipped up an extraordinary atmosphere. It felt like a firecracker, both on and off the pitch, as smoke drifted down from the stands, pungent in the air, creating a haze. It pulsated. It boomed.
But it was not until late in the first half, when Mbappe broke clear down the right, that PSG had a chance. But he shot instead of squaring to the unmarked Cavani.
Before that, Karim Benzema had spurned a hat-trick of chances, including being put through, only for his half-hearted shot to be turned into the side-netting by goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, who also saved from Sergio Ramos.
Paris SG 1 - 1 Madrid (Edinson Cavani, 71 min)
Ronaldo’s goal stemmed from a mistake by Dani Alves, who was signed to bring PSG the experience they lacked in such pressure games. Instead, he lost possession and Asensio charged down the left to find Lucas Vazquez, who crossed deep and there was Ronaldo.
PSG struck back when a diving header by substitute Javier Pastore pinballed around the area before striking Cavani and rebounding in. But they were consigned to defeat when a cross was only cleared to Casemiro, and his shot deflected off Marquinhos and looped in past the wrong-footed Areola.
Some key stats
This is quite interesting (I think). Real Madrid made 38 tackles to PSG's 10 in that game, also winning 62 duels compared to 42. The Real Madrid players worked far harder off the ball, had ideas on how to create chances and looked better everywhere. Zidane nailed his tactics here, switching from a deeper system in the first to a possession heavy one in the second.
No Neymar, big problems
Paris SG vs Madrid shots on goal
All that money spent... and PSG look a long way off being strong enough to really claim a place among the absolute elite of European competition.
The eternal quest for a Champions League trophy evades PSG once more and that will probably be all for Unai Emery. Real Madrid were in control of this one from start to finish and deserve the win.
90 mins +3
Bale tries a shot from 25 yards but it's straight at the goalkeeper. PSG try to counter-attack, Pastore gives the ball away. Real Madrid attack and Marcelo can't find Ronaldo even though he has all the time he needs to pick him out.
90 mins +2
Bale has been on for a while now, been outpaced twice by defenders and I don't think done any defensive running off the ball at all. He's just jogging around waiting for the ball to be passed to him. You need to do some more work than that, Gareth.
Ramos turns up in the PSG box and tries to bicycle kick a cross into the net. Wait, what?!
The pitch opens up for Draxler. He has a player right and left, both move into space and they run at the PSG goal with an overload. Pastore hits a useless cross behind for a goal kick. PSG are defeated and they know it.
Real come forward and Isco launches a long range effort which forces the goalkeeper to palm the ball behind for a corner.
Real Madrid are having a bit of fun now. Varane and Casemiro are superb with their passing play to get out of the high press, Marcelo executes some samba skill and then Ramos tries a shot from 25 yards. He doesn't score.
Cavani is booked for a clear foul on Casemiro. Mbappe is subbed for Diarra. Emery doesn't want this to become embarrassing.
Paris SG vs Madrid shots on goal
Real Madrid hit the post! PSG are falling apart here. Casemiro has the ball in the final third and hits a driven pass into Ronaldo's path. He takes a touch and then launches a sliced effort at goal which hits the side netting.
Miss: Paris SG 1 - 2 Madrid (Cristiano Ronaldo, 83 min)
And the game is done! Real have men over, Ronaldo waits for the overlap, the pass comes into the box and Bale isn't anywhere near where he probably should be inside the six yard box. It doesn't matter, the ball bounces to Casemiro, who shoots and gets a lucky bounce off a defender which takes the ball over the goalkeeper.
Paris SG 1 - 2 Madrid (Casemiro, 80 min)
Ramos is slightly late to a challenge on Pastore and catches the player, receiving a yellow card.
Draxler is on for Di Maria, Kroos for Kovacic.
Gareth Bale comes on for Benzema and goes straight up top alongside Ronaldo.
Average touch positions (76 min)
It should be 2-1 to Real. Di Maria gives the ball away (how many times can PSG get away with that tonight?) and both Benzema and Ronaldo are away with only the goalkeeper to beat. Benzema slows it down, the defenders can get back and Benzema's attempted placed shot is deflected behind. Or at least it looks that way but a goal kick is given.
Guess how happy Ronaldo is that Benzema didn't pass to him.
So about that Cavani guy then eh.
This is beyond lucky for Cavani but a well worked goal by PSG. Real look wobbly for the first time this evening as the ball pings around their six yard box and then comes off Cavani's knee. Right place at the right time.
Paris SG 1 - 1 Madrid (Edinson Cavani, 71 min)
ASENSIO HITS THE POST! It's a smart little move by Real Madrid and Benzema cuts a clever reverse pass into the six yard box for the Spaniard to attack. He snatches at it and hits the outside of the post.
Mbappe attacks down the right, uses some lovely little skill to play in Pastore... and Cavani is offside. This is yet another of those big European games that Cavani hasn't turned up for.
That's the game done then! Verratti is hounded by Vasquez, loses the ball and then chases the referee, shouting at him that he thinks he should have a free-kick. The referee wastes no time stopping the game and showing him a yellow card for dissent. So, so, so stupid. Passion has gotten the better of Verratti there.
PSG try to pass out from the back, Real close them down high up the pitch and win the ball back.
Pastore knocks the ball off Vasquez and stands with his hands in the air asking for handball rather than trying to win it back. Real Madrid are in complete control of this one with and without the ball.
Ronaldo’s goal for your pleasure: pic.twitter.com/045RPlDoGS— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 6, 2018
Disgraceful dive from Di Maria. He's threaded in behind the defence and hurls himself to the floor but the referee doesn't buy it. Di Maria pretends to be horribly injured for about 20 seconds before realising nobody believes him.
Ronaldo dribbles into the box, knows the tackle is incoming and drops to the floor as soon as he gets touched. Booooooo! The referee tells him to get up.
PSG attack, Mbappe works some magic and hooks the ball into the air for Cavani to shoot... but it's wide.
Substitution time: Motta off, Pastore on. That's a very attacking change and I think means PSG are now a 4-2-3-1 instead of 4-3-3.
Real are finding heaps of space in the PSG half.
Possession: Paris SG vs Madrid
I wonder if the smoke from these things had a bit of an effect on the defence for Ronaldo's goal? It's possible... but probably not.
Well well well. PSG have no option but to go for it now - this could be unbelievably entertaining. As an aside, Dani Alves has been poor this evening.
Disaster for Dani Alves! He gives the ball away, Asensio capitalises and bursts down the left, cuts back, and then spins beautifully to face the goal and threads a pass into Vasquez. The cross is superb and floats towards Ronaldo in the mist, who buries the header.
Paris SG 0 - 1 Madrid (Cristiano Ronaldo, 51 min)
Di Maria is played in down the left. That switch of wings means PSG are wider and looking to put the ball into the channel and cross it in.
A thick wave of smoke floats over the pitch as Real break. Marcelo crosses early and Ronaldo rises in the cloud of flare created fog to head at goal... and he's just wide! That was a big chance!
Out: Paris SG 0 - 0 Madrid (Cristiano Ronaldo, 50 min)
The referee has to stop play as PSG fans have about a million flares lit in the stand above the goal. Thiago Silva is trying to signal that they need to stop. There's a Uefa rule about this and it isn't 'flares are great!'
What can PSG do now then? Mbappe is out on the right, Di Maria the left... and they're still pressing high up the pitch as Real try to play from the back. Mbappe completely bins a defender, finds Alves on the right... and PSG with a corner. Much better start to this half.
KICK OFF 2
psg kick off 2
What PSG need to do
3 - Paris Saint-Germain mustered just three shots against Real Madrid in the first half; the lowest total they've managed at home in the Champions League since October 2015 (also v Real). Frustrated. pic.twitter.com/vifyvNjc5G— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 6, 2018
Mbappe looks like the one who can change things. PSG's buildup play is great, they're working it into the final third really well too - but once there, nobody seems to have an idea of what do with the ball. They miss Neymar for sure but could also probably do with someone getting into the 10 space to fire through balls into Mbappe's runs in behind.
PSG midfield in control
Average touch positions (half time)
Buuuuuut that's it. They're not able to put Real under pressure at all and Zidane's team are set up to move the ball wide and attack quickly. I don't get the impression there's enough in this PSG side to turn it around.
PSG have been OK but just don't have enough in them - yet - to really trouble Real here. A couple of chances have gone begging, PSG players are getting wound up with Real ones going to ground easily - especially Casemiro - and Real have a bench full of mega stars to bring on to change things if it doesn't go to plan.
Mbappe is played in behind! He's broken the offside trap and has Cavani to his left to tee up for a tap in! But Mbappe shoots at the near post and only wins a corner.
Attempt Saved: Paris SG 0 - 0 Madrid (Kylian Mbappé, 43 min)
What a waste! Mbappe's made the wrong decision. Both teams are getting frustrated with the other, there are a few aggravated challenges going on now.
Cavani's shot and pass map. Jaysus. pic.twitter.com/GbYP83lKXP— Robbie Dunne (@robbiejdunne) March 6, 2018
Big chance for PSG! Di Maria is played into space inside the box on the right. His first touch is poor, takes him away from goal and he cuts a pass back across the box for Cavani. Navas dives onto it, Cavani tries to get it out of his grip and Real Madrid players surround him to protest.
Zidane is FURIOUS on the touchline.
PSG still not finding a way to get in behind this Real Madrid defence.
Paris SG vs Madrid
BENZEMA IS AWAY! HE MUST SCORE! Marcelo plays it down the left, Alves misses the interception and Benzema only has the goalkeeper to beat. Benzema slows down, looks to place it... and the goalie saves. Brilliant from Areola. Benzema should do better though.
Attempt Saved: Paris SG 0 - 0 Madrid (Karim Benzema, 38 min)
Real win a corner, PSG break quickly and chase the ball, Real win it back and Ronaldo runs at goal. He cuts onto his right, evades a challenge, switches the play and PSG scrappily get it away. Thiago Silva roars at his players to tighten up and stop leaving so much space in the midfield.
So stupid. The free-kick is wide right, whipped into the middle and headed away. Cavani barges into the back of the defender and gives away a free-kick. Why. Why did you do that.
Real Madrid slowing things down a bit now, making sure the midfield is packed and the defence are deep to stay away from the counter-attacking threat of PSG.
Di Maria runs down the right now though at full speed, gets ahead of Kovacic, who slides into a tackle and takes the ball off him. The linesman thinks that's a foul... and he's right. Yellow card for Kovacic.
The corner comes to nothing. Rabiot and Verratti are dictating play from midfield at the moment, staying patient as PSG work their way into the Real Madrid half.
Mbappe tricks his way into a shooting position from the left but bends a long range effort wide of the goal.
Out: Paris SG 0 - 0 Madrid (Kylian Mbappé, 28 min)
Di Maria... wins a corner off the wall.
Mbappe just about controls a long ball, drops back onto it and drives at goal, winning a free-kick about 25 yards out. Di Maria fancies a shot from here.
Di Maria runs through the middle, is easily tackled and goes down moaning about him. I'm not sure why he's winding me up so much tonight, but he is.
In other news, Ronaldo has been drifting into wide positions - Real's attack is very fluid.
Possession: Paris SG vs Madrid
Di Maria's dreadful pass gives Casemiro the chance to break! Verratti spots it and dives into the sliding challenge, catching Casemiro. The Brazilian grabs his leg and then rolls around the pitch as though chasing cheese down a hill... and the referee books Verratti. Seems fair. Di Maria should have been booked for that pass too.
Vasquez comes down the left, cuts inside and Ronaldo takes the ball off him, looks for the one-two and then goes down far too easily in the area. It's a corner, Asensio gets it short and dribbles into the area where he fires a low cross into RAMOS - saved by the goalkeeper! WHAT A SAVE!
Oooooohhhhhhhh controversial scenes! Dani Alves catches Ronaldo with his arm, trying to brush him aside as he chases the ball after an offside decision goes against the Real Madrid player, but Ronaldo kicks out at him! He misses... a rare one for Ronaldo lolololol... but had he hit Alves, there's every chance the referee would have had to send him off.
Verratti is such a tidy little player. He dummies and feints on the spot in the middle of the pitch to keep the ball away from three Real Madrid players. Chance for PSG! Mbappe finds space down the right, tries to play in Cavani for a tap in inside the box... but it's out for a goal kick.
Out: Paris SG 0 - 0 Madrid (Kylian Mbappé, 14 min)
What a ball that is by Asensio. Jeeeeeeeez louise. Asensio dribbles away from the corner, takes it 60 yards or so and then switches play with a long pass to the opposite corner of the pitch, dropping it at Ronaldo's feet. He controls, plays in Benzema, and his shot is deflected wide and high for a corner.
Zidane's team seem nervous. You can understand it, the PSG fans are very loud and the home side are attacking with purpose early on, but they need to keep hold of the ball better. Carvajal is clumsy with it, Vasquez too and Di Maria is showing signs that he's wearing his frustrating skin this evening.
PSG win a corner.
Real Madrid are attacking. Dani Alves tries to do a little too much and is tackled, Ronaldo tries an impossible shot from 25 yards and wins a throw. Vasquez wins a corner. Marcelo goes in hard to make sure PSG can't break from it. Exciting stuff so far!
It's open early on! Di Maria has space on the right and sends a cross into the area which Varane clears. Di Maria tries a rabona cross (why) but shockingly it doesn't quite come off and a nervy looking Real Madrid attack down the right with Ronaldo. He then can't believe a foul has been given against him for bringing down Yuri.
Really nice passing football from both teams so far. They're pinging quick passes around to try and link play.... and the break is on! PSG surge forward from midfield and Yuri (the left-back) challenges Ramos and Navas to the ball in the Real box. Ramos has some words with him which don't look friendly.
Real Madrid are pressing high but have a fairly deep defensive line. It's a scrappy opening few minutes in the artificial fog and Real are passing well, asking the early questions.
Real madrid kick off
After a minute's silence for Davide Astori , constantly interrupted by noisy individual supporters shouting random stuff, the crowd bursts into a round of applause. The cameras stay on Verratti.
There's a haze of smoke from fire crackers... and we're off!
Quite the atmosphere
Wow. This is... intimidating. And I'm not even playing. Flares are going off, the noise is enormous... this should be ace!
The actual champions really are here and they're about to sing the words to the Champions League theme song.
The something somethiiiiiiing, the chaaaaaampions. And then this:
"When I first saw him I knew this was a star in the making"
Guess who Rio Ferdinand is talking about?
It's Cristiano Ronaldo of course. The BT Sport panel are discussing how he's evolved from a winger to a more central striker - goalpoacher - even.
"But he's finished! He's old now!" - is what people were saying a little while ago. People, that is, except ME!
Why it is far too early to be writing off Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo has 10 goals in his last five games.
Stadium is nice and busy
Plenty of Real Madrid supporters are in the Parc des Princes tonight already making a racket. PSG have pulled off this exact victory once before, in 1993, with a 4-1 win in the second leg of the UEFA Cup after a 3-1 loss in the first.
Zidane's book of Carlo Ancelotti running out of pages
It looks very much like tonight is a 4-4-2 diamond, with Zidane opting for players who can keep the ball ahead of Isco and Bale who like to give it away. It's a very functional looking side and likely that Asensio drifts in from the left to form a forward three at times.
PSG starting XI
Di Maria gets Neymar's spot tonight. Thiago Silva is back in too.
Le onze de départ 🆚 le Real Madrid ! 👊#PSGREAL
🔴🔵 #ICICESTPARIS pic.twitter.com/f0K7HByiRG
Real Madrid starting XI
Zidane has injuries to deal with but this is a really interesting lineup tonight.
📝This is our starting XI for tonight's Champions League match against @PSG_English! Let's do this, lads! #HALAMADRID!#APorLa13 pic.twitter.com/0YCYsNetEX— Real Madrid C.F.🇺🇸🇬🇧 (@realmadriden) March 6, 2018
Hello! Welcome to our liveblog for what could be an astonishing comeback by European princes - never yet the king - PSG as they look to overturn a surely insurmountable 3-1 scoreline against Real Madrid. They couldn't... could they?
The protagonist of that incredible Barcelona comeback against PSG is absent this evening having suffered a painful wee injury which could keep him out for several weeks. Neymar is the man I'm referring to and boy will he be missed.
PSG have some incredible players to pick from to replace him - Julian Draxler or Angel Di Maria the most likely - but the star quality Neymar brings is, truthfully, basically irreplaceable. One player does not a team make though and perhaps the other highly paid footballers who live in Paris might step it up a gear and pile on the misery for Zinedine Zidane's team, who are struggling in La Liga still.
Tactical decisions made the difference last time, with Unai Emery going for a defensive approach far too early in Madrid and Zidane tweaking his formation accordingly. Ronaldo is in red hot form at the moment too - this could simply be too difficult a task for Emery's PSG to overturn, which could mean the end of his time in France. Pressure!