PSG 3-0 Real Madrid: Di Maria shines without Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani

Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani were all out, but Angel Di Maria ensured PSG did not miss them with a brace against Real Madrid.

PSG winger Angel Di Maria scored a brace against his former club Real Madrid.   -  AFP

Angel Di Maria stepped up in the absence of Paris Saint-Germain's (PSG) first-choice attacking trio by delivering a double in a 3-0 Champions League victory over a lacklustre Real Madrid.

Thomas Tuchel was unable to pick the suspended Neymar or injured duo Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani for the Group A clash at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday, but Di Maria played a starring role against his former club.

Despite having Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale on the field together for the first time, Madrid lacked sharpness and was put to the sword by the Argentina international twice inside 33 minutes.

Bale had what would have been a spectacular goal ruled out for handball after a VAR review and Zinedine Zidane's side was punished for failing to register a single shot on target when Thomas Meunier compounded its misery at the culmination of a stoppage-time counter-attack.

READ| Napoli 2-0 Liverpool: Mertens and Llorente down Champions League holder

Pablo Sarabia appealed for a penalty when he kicked the ball against the arm of Eder Militao – making his first Madrid start with Sergio Ramos suspended – in the first minute, but on that occasion referee Anthony Taylor was unmoved.

PSG was rewarded for its vibrant start in the 14th minute when Mauro Icardi, handed a full debut after his deadline-day loan move from Inter, combined with Juan Bernat, who squared for Di Maria to stab past Thibaut Courtois at his near post.

After Hazard and Bale fired narrowly off target, PSG doubled its lead when Idrissa Gueye teed up Di Maria and the ex-Madrid winger fired a stunning drive home from the edge of the box.

Bale thought he had halved the deficit two minutes later when he lobbed former team-mate Keylor Navas, only for a VAR intervention to reveal the ball touched his arm while he juggled it before shooting.

Di Maria scooped a chance to complete his hat-trick over before Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting replaced Icardi in the 60th minute, while Courtois did well to keep out Sarabia.

After PSG lost Marquinhos to injury, Benzema had a goal ruled out for offside and headed narrowly wide with 12 minutes remaining.

Madrid crumbled in the 91st minute when full-backs Meunier and Bernat surged forward and the Belgian slotted home to round off an impressive win for the host against the shot-shy 13-time champion of Europe. 

 

What does it mean? PSG in pole position

With Club Brugge and Galatasaray – who played out a 0-0 draw earlier on Wednesday – the other teams in Group A, PSG and Madrid have been tipped to battle it out for top spot. Victory over Los Blancos in Paris handed Tuchel's team the advantage, and when it visits the Santiago Bernabeu in November it should prove even more dangerous opponent with Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani likely to be available for selection.

ALSO READ| Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Barcelona: Ter Stegen saves Valverde's men as Messi returns

Formidable Gueye dictates the play

Gueye was everywhere for PSG, dominating the midfield in a way that offered Marco Verratti more creative license. The Senegal international showed great energy to maintain the high press and stifle Madrid, while also adding an assist for Di Maria's second goal.

Militao missing at key moments

When Bernat burst down the left to set up the opener, Militao made no move to get across and put Di Maria under pressure. The Brazil international then allowed Di Maria to peel off him far too easily before he drilled in the second.

Zidane and Casemiro criticise Madrid's lack of intensity in PSG defeat

Zidane, whose team failed to record a shot on target, was unhappy with Madrid's intensity in Paris midweek.

"They have surpassed us in everything, especially what bothers me is the intensity," the Madrid head coach told a news conference, via AS.

"At this level, in this competition, it is complicated if you don't enter the field well. They have surpassed us."

Zidane added: "They are good at creating chances. What has worried me is to see my team without the necessary intensity.

Zidane refused to blame his shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois – beaten by Di Maria from 20 yards before Meunier's late sealer – following the defeat.

"We are all in the same boat. When we win, we all win. And when we lose, we all lose," he said.

"I don't want to point at anyone. It is everyone's fault when it is lost."

Casemiro said there was still time for Madrid to recover, but the midfielder lamented a below-par performance.

"We know that the opponent was going to put a lot of pressure on us. We have almost never entered the game. We had only two chances and made two goals, but the VAR has ruled them out."

"We have not played well, they [PSG] have had control of the game and we know that it is difficult to play here," he told Movistar.

"They are very strong, they have great players. There are no excuses, we have not played well, but there is still time for many things, to keep working.

"There are many things ahead."

"We always try to be aggressive, but of course when the result is 3-0 we know that things are more noticeable," he said.

"We know that if we don't make an almost perfect match here, you don't win. There's a lot of time to change this."

Key Opta Facts

- Real Madrid lost its opening Champions League game for the first time since September 2006 against Lyon (2-0).
- This 3-0 loss equalled the biggest margin of defeat Madrid has suffered in the Champions League under Zinedine Zidane.
- Paris Saint-Germain won for the first time against Madrid in the Champions League, after failing to do so in their previous three (D1 L2).
- Madrid failed to score in a Champions League game under Zidane for the first time since April 2016 against Manchester City.

What's next?

PSG faces a tricky trip to Lyon in Ligue 1 on Sunday, with Madrid visiting La Liga leader Sevilla on the same day.

  Dugout videos