Paris St-Germain were within 30 minutes of a famous Champions League knockout round win over Real Madrid. Leading 1-0 on the night, 2-0 o aggregate, PSG were in total control of the match with Kylian Mbappe unplayable.
But a mistake by PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma proved the catalyst for a dramatic recovery with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema turning home after the Italian dawdled in possession.
Luka Modric’s driving run and intricate pass made Benzema’s second as he levelled the tie against a clearly panicked PSG, and as the visitors attempted to regroup the 34-year-old drove a low effort into the bottom right corner seconds after the restart to settle the tie.
Three goals in 17 minutes exposed everything we knew about PSG. FC Hollywood are great when everything is going their way. But apply some pressure and the French side collapse under pressure.
It doesn’t matter who the manager is. This is a scenario we have seen time and time again in the Champions League. As teams up the pace and intensity in the knockout stages, PSG cannot respond.
PSG’s Qatari president Nasser El-Khelaifi was furious after the match, directing his anger at Dutch referee Danny Makkelie. PSG feel that Benzema had fouled goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma as he gave the ball away in his own box.
Al-Khelaifi tried to storm into the referee’s dressing room and broke equipment according to the referee’s report which stated that he:
“behaved aggresively and tried to enter the referee’s dressing room. When the referee asked them to leave, the president hit a piece of the assistant’s equipment, breaking it.”
According to Marca, Al-Khelaifi’s behaviour was recorded by a Real Madrid employee, who will likely send the footage to UEFA to study for a possible punishment.
PSG sporting director Leonardo continued the party line telling Canal+:
“The decision on Donnarumma is not fair”
“The foul exists and it is clear. It’s impossible not to consult the VAR.
“But I’m not looking for excuses. We’ll have to see what we did.”
The reverberations of this defeat will will be felt in Paris for weeks to come. It is hard to imagine that Mauricio Pochettino ‘and Leonardo will keep their jobs after this. Superstar Kylian Mbappe is expected to leave on a free transfer to Real Madrid this summer, while El-Khelaifi’is excepted to be fined and suspended by UEFA.