PSG 0-1 REAL MADRID (FRIENDLY)
Jese Rodriguez’s goal after 19 minutes was the difference in the heavyweight friendly between PSG and Real Madrid in Doha but it could have been so much different if the French side had taken some of their chances.
PSG boss Laurent Blanc opted to start with a strong side with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva amongst the starters with Lucas Moura, Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez on the bench. Carlo Ancelotti chose to mix his team up with youngsters like Jorge Casado and Jose Rodriguez getting the chance to play with established stars like Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo with Angel di Maria and Karim Benzema amongst the star studded substitutes.
It was clear right from the start that the game would be played at a good pace and both teams were looking to win. Ronaldo signalled his intentions after a couple of minutes but he couldn’t control his shot from range very well.
PSG were in control of the ball and the tempo, though, and created a decent opening after 14 minutes. Marco Verratti received the ball from Cavani on the edge of the Madrid box before returning it to the Uruguayan on the right. Cavani opted to come inside rather than cross and, after the ball deflected off left back Casado, the ex-Napoli man could only slice his volley three or four yards wide at the near post. And the French side were almost made to pay a couple of minutes later.
Real began to get a hold of the ball and some nice passing saw the ball come to Jese 35 yards from goal. The youngster slotted through the perfect through ball for Alvaro Morata who slid the ball past Salvatore Sirigu. However, his joy was shortlived as the flag went up straight away for offside and replays showed that Morata was a good yard offside. It was a warning to PSG but one they didn’t heed.
Asier Illaramendi took on two PSG players while holding off the excellent Blaise Matuidi before playing it to Morata. The young striker played a beautiful first time pass to Jese in behind and the Spaniard slotted coolly past Sirigu. It was a goal from absolutely nothing for Real but it was a lovely move nonetheless.
PSG’s response was a positive one though. An Ezequiel Lavezzi corner from the left caused all sorts of confusion in the Madrid defence and they were glad to see it go over the bar from four yards. The referee said it was because of Alex but replays showed that it was Ramos who almost turned it in.
PSG were beginning to create more and more chances and Cavani was inches away from turning in full back Lucas Digne’s cross-shot before Ibrahimovic controlled a long ball beautifully for Lavezzi but the Argentine winger could only hit his half volley over the bar. Then, some intricate passing involving Cavani, Lavezzi and Verratti set up Matuidi from ten yards but he could only poke it wide under pressure.
Cavani was becoming a threat as well for PSG. The French champions managed to work the ball to the right for full back Gregory van der Wiel whose cross was inch perfect for Cavani but he couldn’t keep the header down. Then, after Matuidi won the ball just outside the Madrid area, Ibrahimovic fed Cavani whose first time volley was inches wide of the far post.
Madrid were not completely out of it with Ronaldo on the pitch. The Ballon d’Or nominee picked up the ball near halfway and drove at the PSG defence. With the defence at sixes and sevens trying to get the ball of him. Ronaldo slipped through Jose Rodriguez who had made the run forward. The young midfielder was in a foot race with Sirigu to the ball and only won on the slide. His effort hit the outside of the post and went away, a huge slice of bad luck for young Rodriguez and another warning for PSG.
Real were now starting to string passes together and create a couple of shooting opportunities. More good work from the impressive Jose Rodriguez saw him fire a great shot just wide of goal while Morata forced a save from Sirigu with a shot from range just as the referee blew for half time.
There were 14 changes at half time with Real changing their entire team which was not unexpected because of this being simply a friendly. The changes did have some effect on the tempo of the game as it didn’t quite click together immediately. Ibrahimovic had an early chance but he was called offside before Madrid came extremely close to doubling their lead on 52 minutes.
Jaime Moreno had the ball on the left and fed an overlapping Marcelo. The full back faked to cross at the byline, taking a sliding van der Wiel out of play before coming inside. He floated a cross with the outside of his left foot to Karim Benzema who chested it down, swiveled and fired a thunderous half volley against the bar from 10 yards. It was a great chance for Madrid again and one that spurred on PSG.
The chances began to arrive again for the French champions. Another corner was won down the left and Lucas swung it in beautifully from the left but Thiago Motta couldn’t keep his header down from 4 yards. Jeremy Menez came on just after the hour mark and his low cross saw Marcelo slice the ball over his own bar with Silva having a half volley blocked by a sea of white from the resulting corner.
PSG’s performance really picked up with the introduction of teenagers Kingsley Coman and Hervin Ongenda for Ibrahimovic and Matuidi. One of Coman’s first touches was to spin Diego Llorente and cross for Ongenda but the midfielder’s header was blocked by Daniel Carvajal. And minutes later Coman almost got in again.
Silva launched a long ball towards the 17 year old whose touch was not the best. However, Jesus Fernandez in the Real Madrid goal and over committed on the run out to meet Coman allowing the youngster to go past him with ease. However, Coman’s shot was tipped wide by the recovering Jesus before it could get anywhere near the goal and from the resulting corner Adrien Rabiot headed just over the bar.
PSG kept creating chances in the final few minutes as they looked to get the equaliser. Menez worked himself some space on the edge of the area and fired a shot just wide of Jesus’ far post before Lucas should have done so much better with his free header 7 yards out from an Ongenda corner. And it was the Brazilian who had the final chance of the game, coming inside Marcelo before scuffing his shot just wide of the near post.
That would, indeed, prove to be the final act as the referee blew for full time. It was an entertaining game with both sides going for it. Real will be happy they kept a clean sheet and beat a strong PSG side while PSG will be happy with their general play but their poor finishing cost them and that can’t happen in the big games later on in the season.
PSG: Sirigu, van der Wiel (Camara 73), Silva (c), Alex (Marquinhos 45), Digne (Maxwell 45) Motta (Rabiot 62), Matuidi (Ongenda 73), Verratti (Pastore 62), Cavani (Menez 62), Lavezzi (Lucas 45), Ibrahimovic (Coman 73)
Subs: Douchez, Maignan, Jallet, Atlan, Diaw
Real Madrid: Lopez (Jesus 45), Arbeloa (Carvajal 45), Nacho (Pepe 45), Ramos (c) (Llorente 45), Casado (Marcelo 45), Illaramendi (Modric 45), Alonso (Casemiro 45), Jose Rodriguez (Isco 45), Jese Rodriguez (di Maria 45), Ronaldo (Romero 45), Morata (Benzema 45)
Goal: Jese Rodriguez
MAN OF THE MATCH: BLAISE MATUIDI (PSG)