Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Real Madrid: Di Maria shines without Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani

By Sports Desk September 18, 2019

Angel Di Maria stepped up in the absence of Paris Saint-Germain's first-choice attacking trio by delivering a double in a 3-0 Champions League victory over a lacklustre Real Madrid.

Thomas Tuchel was unable to pick the suspended Neymar or injured duo Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani for the Group A clash at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday, but Di Maria played a starring role against his former club.

Despite having Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale on the field together for the first time, Madrid lacked sharpness and were put to the sword by the Argentina international twice inside 33 minutes.

Bale had what would have been a spectacular goal ruled out for handball after a VAR review and Zinedine Zidane's side were punished for failing to register a single shot on target when Thomas Meunier compounded their misery at the culmination of a stoppage-time counter-attack.

Pablo Sarabia appealed for a penalty when he kicked the ball against the arm of Eder Militao – making his first Madrid start with Sergio Ramos suspended – in the first minute, but on that occasion referee Anthony Taylor was unmoved.

PSG were rewarded for their vibrant start in the 14th minute when Mauro Icardi, handed a full debut after his deadline-day loan move from Inter, combined with Juan Bernat, who squared for Di Maria to stab past Thibaut Courtois at his near post.

After Hazard and Bale fired narrowly off target, PSG doubled their lead when Idrissa Gueye teed up Di Maria and the ex-Madrid winger fired a stunning drive home from the edge of the box.

Bale thought he had halved the deficit two minutes later when he lobbed former team-mate Keylor Navas, only for a VAR intervention to reveal the ball touched his arm while he juggled it before shooting.

Di Maria scooped a chance to complete his hat-trick over before Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting replaced Icardi in the 60th minute, while Courtois did well to keep out Sarabia.

After PSG lost Marquinhos to injury, Benzema had a goal ruled out for offside and headed narrowly wide with 12 minutes remaining.

Madrid crumbled in the 91st minute when full-backs Meunier and Bernat surged forward and the Belgian slotted home to round off an impressive win for the hosts against the shot-shy 13-time champions of Europe. 

 

What does it mean? PSG in pole position

With Club Brugge and Galatasaray – who played out a 0-0 draw earlier on Wednesday – the other teams in Group A, PSG and Madrid have been tipped to battle it out for top spot. Victory over Los Blancos in Paris handed Tuchel's team the advantage, and when they visit the Santiago Bernabeu in November they should prove even more dangerous opponents with Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani likely to be available for selection.

Formidable Gueye dictates the play

Gueye was everywhere for PSG, dominating the midfield in a way that offered Marco Verratti more creative license. The Senegal international showed great energy to maintain the high press and stifle Madrid, while also adding an assist for Di Maria's second goal.

Militao missing at key moments

When Bernat burst down the left to set up the opener, Militao made no move to get across and put Di Maria under pressure. The Brazil international then allowed Di Maria to peel off him far too easily before he drilled in the second.

What's next?

PSG face a tricky trip to Lyon in Ligue 1 on Sunday, with Madrid visiting LaLiga leaders Sevilla on the same day.

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Barcelona players were first to want agreement over pay cut – Suarez Coronavirus: Barcelona players were first to want agreement over pay cut – Suarez

    Luis Suarez defended Barcelona players and said they were the first who wanted to reach an agreement over a pay cut.

    Barcelona players agreed to a 70 per cent pay cut earlier this week amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    In a statement confirming the move on Monday, Barcelona star Lionel Messi took aim at senior figures at the club for putting players under pressure over something they always knew they would do.

    Suarez said players were hurt by reports they were unwilling to accept a salary reduction.

    "A lot of hurtful things have been said about the squad's salary cuts," the forward told Sport 890 on Thursday.

    "People have said that the players didn't want to accept them, then it was said that players from other areas of the club had reached an agreement, when the reality is that we were waiting to try and find the best solution for the club."

    Suarez added: "It hurts when people say things like that because we were always the first people that wanted to reach an agreement, as we know what the club's situation is.

    "No player in the squad refused a wage cut. A mutual agreement was reached between the players and the club. The captains spoke to the president and nobody refused it."

    More than 52,900 people have died from coronavirus worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 10,300 in Spain.

  • De Bruyne alongside Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar as world's best – Del Piero De Bruyne alongside Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar as world's best – Del Piero

    Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne belongs among the world's best alongside Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, according to Alessandro Del Piero.

    Messi and Ronaldo are widely regarded as the world's two best players, ahead of Paris Saint-Germain stars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

    But Del Piero, a Juventus great, feels De Bruyne should be considered among the best.

    "To define the strongest player, you should specify in what," he told Sky Sport on Thursday.

    "In addition to the sacred names such as Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar that attract the audience at 360 degrees, there are players of incredible depth, like De Bruyne."

    De Bruyne had scored nine goals and provided 18 assists in 35 games in all competitions before this season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Juventus star Dybala has become complete, says Del Piero Juventus star Dybala has become complete, says Del Piero

    Alessandro Del Piero lauded Paulo Dybala and believes the Juventus star has become "complete" after an off-season transfer saga.

    Dybala, 26, was linked with a move away from the Serie A giants during the close season, but ended up staying before making an impressive start to the campaign.

    The Argentina international had scored 13 goals and provided seven assists in 34 games before the season was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Del Piero, a Juventus great, hailed the playmaker for his growth and said Dybala could be a future captain of the club.

    "Paulo has already worn the armband a few times and if it has already happened it is because they consider him to be up to it," he told Sky Sport on Thursday.

    "As far as I know him personally, I believe that his maturity has grown a lot, primarily due to the reaction he had after this summer, which underlines the growth in terms of personality.

    "He has always been available and dedicated to work and I think he is complete in this respect too."

    Juventus were top of Serie A and in the Champions League last 16 when the season was suspended.

    Del Piero believes they can win the Champions League for the first time since 1996 if the campaign gets back underway.

    "If the tournament will start again, Juve have everything to win this year," he said.

    "There are teams that in different ways have the potential to win, but Juve can do it."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.