Former Real Madrid man Angel di Maria scored a brace against his former club as Paris Saint Germain got their UEFA Champions League campaign off to the best start with a 3-0 win at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday evening.
The Argentine scored the opener from close range in only the 14th minute with a stabbed finish. He then doubled his night’s work with a brilliant effort from outside of the box. Real Madrid were poor throughout the majority but thought they had earned a lifeline as Gareth Bale scored a stunning goal, only for it to be ruled out by VAR.
Thomas Tuchel’s troops secured what could potentially be a statement victory in their pursuit of their first European triumph as Thomas Meunier and Juan Bernat combined in the latter stages, with the former tucking home a brilliant team goal.
Di Maria at the double
The hosts hit the front with pretty much their first attack of the match. Juan Bernat found space down the left channel and crossed the ball towards di Maria who just had enough space to prod the ball past Thibaut Courtois at the near post.
Eden Hazard then went close to an equaliser soon after as he wriggled on the edge of the PSG penalty area but could only fire his shot just wide.
However, the hosts soon doubled their lead and it was again through the unplayable di Maria. Picking up the ball just outside the box, he set his sights on the bottom corner and sent a wonderful effort whistling in.
VAR rules out Madrid lifeline
Despite how tremendous di Maria’s second strike was, it seemed that Bale had topped it as he looped a stunning effort over Keylor Navas in the home goal. The strike was ruled out though for offside due to a handball call via VAR.
Real Madrid were severely disappointing throughout the majority of the match and really struggled to keep their former player quiet. He could have got his hat-trick midway through the second-half but lifted a great effort just over the crossbar.
The visitors once again thought they had finally got on the scoresheet as Karim Benzema tapped in after picking off a ricochet but once again the strike was ruled out by the referee, this time for offside. The Frenchman then also nodded wide when he really should have scored.
Another stunning strike from PSG
The scoring was rounded off at the Parc des Princes as Real Madrid were put to the sword and caught cold on the counter-attack. Intriguingly, it was Bernat and Meunier who broke forwards as the Belgian released the left-back into the box. The Spaniard cut back and rolled the ball to his defensive partner who tucked the ball simply into the net to claim a brilliant victory for the hosts.
Real Madrid really did look shell-shocked as they left the field in Paris. The hosts were in brilliant form all evening and a more emphatic scoreline would not have flattered them whatsoever. The Spaniards failed to have any impact on the match at all and in fact failed to have a single shot on target. PSG were much deserved of their brilliant victory, one they will hope sets them in positive stead for the rest of the European campaign.
Paris Saint Germain: Navas (6); Bernat (7), Kimpembe (6), Silva (7), Meunier (7); Verratti (7), Gueye (7), Marquinhos (6) (Herrera (6), 70′); di Maria (8), Icardi (5) (Choupo-Moting (5), 60′), Sarabia (7) (Diallo (N/A), 89′).
Real Madrid: Courtois (5); Mendy (5), Varane (6), Militao (5), Carvajal (5); Rodriguez (6) (Vazquez (5), 70′), Casemiro (5), Kroos (5); Hazard (6) (Jovic (5), 70′), Bale (6) (Vinicius Jr. (N/A), 79′), Benzema (6).)
Goals: di Maria (14′, 33′), Meunier (90+3′)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Yellow Cards: Carvajal (32′), di Maria (82′), Vinicius Jr. (82′), Bernat (90+3′)
Red Cards: N/A