PSG’s Champions League hopes disappear in mist as Ronaldo leads Real Madrid into last eight


It was a shake of the head from Unai Emery, as he watched Casemiro and the rest of the Real Madrid side celebrate in the 79th minute. Casemiro’s deflected goal, in off Marquinhos, put Los Blancos 2-1 up on the night and 5-2 ahead on aggregate, which then had Paris Saint-Germain needing four goals to progress. Le Parisiens were broken, and there was still time for Lucas Vazquez to hit the post, and for Cristiano Ronaldo to fire a shot at the side-netting as the game wore to a close.

PSG’s message beforehand was how they could do it together, calling on the fans as they sought to overturn a 3-1 first leg deficit. The French side were without the injured Neymar for the return leg, and Angel Di Maria took his place from the first leg. There were two other changes from PSG, Thiago Silva replacing Presnel Kimpembe and Thiago Motta coming in for Giovani Lo Celso.

They were on the front foot early on, but didn’t quite trouble Keylor Navas in the Real goal, even if some crosses caused panic in the visitors’ defence. The first real sight of goal would come Real’s way, Sergio Ramos getting to Marco Asensio’s cross and his effort was saved by Alphonse Areola. Areola would be called upon again in the 37th minute denying Karim Benzema in a one-on-one situation, while at the other end, Navas had to make two saves in quick succession, denying Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe, as half time arrived with the game goalless.

The start of the second half saw the PSG fans create flares which produced fog and mist, an act that stripped the hosts of time. Home captain Thiago Silva urged calm amongst the crowd, showing a sense of urgency as they still sought two goals, but when the deadlock was broken in the 57th minute, it was by Real. Dani Alves was caught sloppy in position, Asensio found Vazquez, whose cross was headed in amidst the foggy sight by none other than Ronaldo.

Now the French side needed three goals just to force extra time, but it got worse, Marco Verratti received his second yellow card for dissent. Three goals behind on aggregate, and a man less, things were as good as over for PSG, but they kept pushing, Edinson Cavani saw his effort blocked by Sergio Ramos, before he himself levelled things on the night. From a Di Maria cross, Thiago Silva peeled off at the back post and his header into the middle of the box was headed goalwards by Javier Pastore before it took a nick off Casemiro and ricocheted off Cavani, it was 1-1 on the night.

Emery’s side still needed two more, on came Julian Draxler for Di Maria, but it would amount to nothing. By the time Casemiro was on hand to score, the mist had cleared up, so had PSG’s chances.

About Olakunle Ajao 289 Articles
Olakunle Ajao is a Mass Communication student at the University of Lagos. Commonly known as 'The Major' by friends and fiends alike, he has quite the obsession with football, watching, reading, writing and playing- although he's not very good at that last part.

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