PSG-Real, Mbappé alone on his planet – Liberation

Led by their world champion striker, the Parisians won (1-0) on Tuesday against loanees from Madrid, in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Rematch in three weeks.

The round of 16 first leg between Paris-SG and Real Madrid will have changed with one blow: Kylian Mbappé, a personal feat in stoppage time (1-0, 93rd) and the Parisians who take the lead before the return to Madrid on March 9, a meager reward as the vice-champions of France will have put themselves in a game that the Spaniards will have never seemed to play, as if they were looking elsewhere. Towards the return match? Towards another football, waiting, in a Champions League all in generosity and incandescence? An arbitration miracle, as the Merengue have accumulated for half a century? Or just couldn’t they anymore, managing the twilight of an outdated team?

Divine surprise on the Madrid side, however, two hours from kick-off: the French Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema, injured for weeks, are in the composition of the merengue. It changes a lot of things: two dragsters (Mendy and the Brazilian striker Vinicius) on the Spanish left side, shocking on the weak side (the right) in Paris, and the White House finds its master to play. A great scheme: Real arrives at the kick-off with momentum. If the Parisians score the shot, the Spanish team wins the game before the game.

wear their shoes

Only here, either Kylian Mbappé and consorts were expecting this low manoeuvre, or they don’t care, but they settle in the game as in their living room. The people of Madrid do not pass the midfield and it is the weak point of Real, the right defender Dani Carvajal, that the strong player of Paris-SG (Mbappé) drives crazy. The poor side never stops breaking his face, his teammates Eder Militao and Luka Modric come to pour buckets full of water to put out the fires, Mendy is moved on the shoulder by Hashraf Hakimi and the men trained by Carlo Ancelotti get back in place slowly, as if they didn’t want to wear out their shoes.

It’s so big that you end up wondering at each Parisian occasion (2nd minute, 17th) if there isn’t that: a Machiavellian plan for Paris to leave feathers there before picking up the dead in the last twenty minutes. We have to wait half an hour to see the people of Madrid land their first possession game in the Parisian forty meters, the Whites grow bolder and open the doors to Mbappé, threatening in counter-attack (42nd). 0-0 with lemons, a half like a dream and even a lie, as if the intox before the match on the absence of Benzema persisted in the game.

Art of nullity

The recovery sees the Parisians increase the pressing by a floor, Mbappé – always him – forcing the goalkeeper Courtois to lay down his two meters in a fraction of a second (an art) to take out a pivot shot (50th), while no less of four players had closed on the French international. Carvajal, in the fog, lowers Mbappé into the area, which Mbappé leaves the peno to Lionel Messi. Who misses it (60th). Like what, helping a friend in need…

The Parisian players take the impact, the duels and the shots (16 to 2 with twenty minutes to go), everything there is to pick up in a cautious match, where the players are afraid of everything. Real intrigue, missing passes from five meters, improvising strange toro (we pass the ball to each other in short passes) in their own penalty area and leaving on the field a Benzema obviously far from the account physically or a Vinicius who will go as far as ‘to undertake to dribble himself (78th). Neymar, who dyed himself blond, returns, the pace of the match not likely to eject him from the carousel.

A shot from off-centered Neymar licks the crossbar, like the fate of a match that Paris-SG will have held in its hand without ever closing its fingers on it, the Spaniards fall at the slightest friction or inflate a confusion of importance to let the minutes, an art of nullity (no game, no ambition) which they very little lacked to impregnate the match. Because Mbappé went there, walking two Madrid players (Militao and Lucas Vazquez) to open his shot with his right foot between the legs of a finally beaten Courtois. We will also have understood that this team is that of the tricolor world champion. And from him alone.

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