PSG 3-0 Real Madrid: 5 Hits and Flops | UEFA Champions League 2019-20
A weakened Paris Saint-Germain side stunned 13-time European champions Real Madrid with a 3-0 win to kick off Group A in this season's Champions League group stages, after a well-taken Angel Di Maria brace and Thomas Meunier's close-range finish in stoppage-time.
PSG were without star trio Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani - all sidelined with respective injuries - as their squad depth was tested against an unpredictable Real side, who also had key men sidelined for this fixture.
Di Maria, who spent four years at the Bernabeu, netted two first-half strikes to gift Les Parisiens a solid lead before the break. Moments change games and things might have been different had Gareth Bale's stunning volley not been correctly ruled out for handball.
Referee Anthony Taylor intervened after VAR review showed the ball brushed his arm while Bale attempted to control it before striking over former teammate Keylor Navas. Bale, who has started the season in fine goalscoring form, came close on two more occasions in the first-half while Eden Hazard also threatened at times.
Di Maria could've had his hat-trick after the hour mark, but chipped narrowly over the bar before Pablo Sarabia squandered a golden opportunity minutes later. Karim Benzema had a goal ruled out for offside before the Frenchman headed narrowly wide as time wore on and the visitors' hopes of recovering a positive result lessened.
Their fate was finally sealed in stoppage-time, as Thomas Meunier capitalised on a mistake in possession to counter with speed and opposite fullback Juan Bernat galloped forward alongside him. Bernat teed up Meunier who scored the third Champions League goal of his career, with Real defenders nowhere to be seen and compatriot Thibaut Courtois helpless.
PSG were emphatic winners on this occasion, a result that will have damning consequences going forward for Zinedine Zidane unless he can recover their troubling situation accordingly in future. Here's a look at five hits and flops from a memorable night in Paris:
#5 Flop: Daniel Carvajal
Dani Carvajal hasn't looked at his world-class best in recent seasons against top opposition and again, this was the case here. It didn't help matters that he lacked regular midfield support from Toni Kroos nor James Rodriguez out of possession which was quickly apparent.
PSG duly exploited that weakness, continuously exploiting the spaces behind him with timely overlapping runs. His role in the hosts' first and final goals were damning, while he couldn't afford another poorly timed challenge after being booked midway through the first half.
For the opener, Bernat and Mauro Icardi combined with a swift one-two beyond the 27-year-old, who found himself quickly chasing shadows moments after Raphael Varane's poor partial clearance. He couldn't cut out the pass to Di Maria in time, whose swift strike caught Courtois out at his near post, where the goalkeeper probably should have done better.
Ball-watching and out of shot for Meunier's goal, it rather typified his overall display. While not solely at fault, there was much more he could and should have done differently to avoid being caught out on a stage where subtle mistakes are magnified and highlight supporters' eagerness for Achraf Hakimi's (on loan at Dortmund) return to Spain, where he'll have a fair chance and aim to provide fierce competition at right-back in the not-too-distant future.