The game did not live up to its billing as Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid played out a 0-0 draw at the Parc des Princes last night. It is a result that both sides seemed content with, although we can be disappointed with the lack of chances we created in comparison to Madrid.
The Spaniards without doubt created the better openings and could have nicked a goal had it not been for Kevin Trapp. Coach Laurent Blanc was exactly right with what he said pre-match. We certainly had the lion share of possession, where as Los Blancos defended deep in order to spring quick, sharp counter attacks which they did on numerous occasions.
Rafael Benitez’s men played with a flat 4-4-2, a formation you would not normally associate with Real. Cristiano Ronaldo played up top supported by Isco. Jese, who was terrific at times, played out wide with Lucas Vazquez opposite.
No change to our set-up of 4-3-3. Trapp returned and it was a timely return as he pulled off some key saves, particularly to deny Jese with his legs in the first-half who peeled away following a defence splitting pass by Toni Kroos. It was potentially the move of the match. Real demonstrated their sheer quality in that particular instance.
Marco Verratti came back into the midfield trio after missing the win over Bastia with a calf complaint. And Marquinhos continued in place of David Luiz.
The front three of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Angel di Maria were largely ineffective in truth. We created very little in the final third. Cavani’s first attempt on goal came in the second-half. His movement was good to get ahead of Raphael Varane but we did not see much of it. Varane was a colossal in the heart of the Madrid back four. Ibra had a disappointing night too. The big Swede failed to impose himself on the Blancos defence and they were comfortable.
The visitors were a danger on the break. Ronaldo missed a golden chance at the near post following Luka Modric’s terrific awareness to spark a break but the FIFA Ballon d’Or winner was unable to finish the move off.
In the end, despite some late Parisian pressure, the game finished goalless. We only really sparked to life when Javier Pastore and Lucas Moura came on.
It is the first time this season we have failed to score and our first 0-0 stalemate since March when we were away to Monaco. Nevertheless, RM and ourselves still occupy those two top spots. Malmo beat Shakhtar 1-0 at home to get their first points on the board.
It sets us up nicely for the return clash in the Bernabeu in two weeks time and hopefully it will be more of a spectacle than this one.