Ronaldo misses vs. PSG

Wednesday’s collection of Champions League fixtures boasted a matchup of two of the most expensive lineups on the planet. Real Madrid, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale (a combined transfer fee of over £160 million), traveled to the Parc des Princes to take on former player Ángel Di María and Paris Saint-Germain. Going into the match, both of these European giants had eased through their first two fixtures earning top spots in the group with Madrid ahead on goal differential. Regardless of the result, both of these teams look like locks to advance onto the knockout rounds, but a favorable seeding awaits the top club.

Blaise Matuidi had the first semblance of a scoring chance of the match on the 11-minute mark, but Keylor Navas comfortably handled his long distance drive in net. After a relatively slow start to their visit to Paris, Madrid finally looked set to find the back of the net with a series of chances just before the half-hour mark. The closest the visitors came to finding the net during that spree was a close range shot from Jesé, but Kevin Trapp made himself big and kept the scoreboard blank. Five minutes later, a bouncing Ronaldo header forced the German keeper into action once again, but just like Jesé’s shot it failed to find the back of the net.

From the ensuing corner kick, Ronaldo once again got his head to the cross but Trapp stood tall to tip the effort over the bar. Los Blancos continued to apply heavy pressure in the offensive zone during the closing stages of the first half, but a stout defensive effort from PSG kept the sides level going into the break. Other than Matuidi’s early shot, the hosts looked like they were satisfied with walking away from the match with a draw rather than fighting for three points.

Despite the lack of offensive production in the opening 45 minutes, PSG came out firing for the second period of play. Less than five minutes in, Edison Cavani had his first real sight at goal, but the Uruguayan striker was unable to redirect Ezequiel Lavezzi’s cross on target. On the hour mark, the man, the myth, the legend, Zlatan Ibrahimovic out-leapt Sergio Ramos for a head ball, but following the trend of the match the ball soared over the net. Ángel Di María nearly opened the scoring a couple minutes later with a low driven shot from outside the penalty area, and a deflection from Marcelo momentarily puzzled Navas, but the Costa Rican recovered to easily claim the ball.

After observing the opening stint of pressure from PSG, Madrid pushed for a potential winner. Ronaldo was once again the catalyst for the scoring chance, but his tight-angle shot flew just inches wide of the far post. The two clubs exchanged chances for the final 20 minutes of the match, but neither was able to break the deadlock. After a brief interruption from a fan that rushed on the field for some face time with Ronaldo, the final whistle was blown and both sides walked away with a point.

The rather disappointing result leaves the group standings the same as they were going into the day. We won’t have to wait long to see the two face each other again, however, as PSG travels to the Spanish capital in three weeks time. The result at the Santiago Bernabéu could very well decide who leaves Group A on top, and hopefully November’s match will provide a little bit more excitement.


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