Neymar was superb at the Santiago Bernabeu for Paris Saint Germain in the 1st leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid. He dazzled around the pitch and showcased some brilliant footwork to leave the Madrid crowd in awe of his flair, but the Brazilian superstar had nothing to show for his sumptuous efforts. On the other hand, his Ballon d’Or rival and Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo might not have had an equally sensational outing but finished the game as the top scorer and became the first ever player to bag 100 Champions League goals for Real Madrid.
Real Madrid got better of PSG with a 3-1 victory in a game which saw some late drama. From 1-0 down in the first 40 minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace to help his side take the lead and emerge as winners. The blockbuster encounter was lit up by the Brazilian ace who made some daunting run forward and toyed around the Madrid defenders but was not able to capitalise on his efforts. The most expensive player in the world who orchestrated PSG was free-flowing throughout the game but was far from effective when required.
After a showing some remarkable skill down the left flank, Neymar created a fruitful chance for his strike partner Kylian Mbappe who couldn’t finish. Neymar himself got a few opportunities but couldn’t find the back of the net. A day when the travelling PSG fans were expecting fireworks from him which could have silenced the Bernabeu crowd, Neymar was only good on the ball. PSG’s highly touted attacking trio of Neymar, Mbappe and Edinson Cavani failed to score a single goal together as a result of which the Paris glamour boys were subjected to a 3-1 defeat.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo started out as a calmer player and waited for his opportunities. He struck his first in the 45th minute on a penalty awarded to Real and had earlier hit PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola’s face in the first half with a brilliant run forward. The Real Madrid record goalscorer after his first was lost from the game for a bit long but came back to haunt PSG in the final stages of the clash.
Remaining alert in front of the PSG goal, Ronaldo capitalised on a deflection from Marco Asensio’s skidding low cross that came to him after getting deflected from PSG keeper Alphonse Areola. He sent the ball into the nets with his knees and scripted history by becoming the first ever Real Madrid player to score 100 goals in the Champions League.
Marcelo reaped fruits of his hard-work just three minutes later to score the third for Real Madrid and give PSG a strong farewell from the Bernabeu with a message that it’s the result that matters and not how you achieve it. Neymar might have been the most skilful player in the game but his direct rival Ronaldo proved his Champions League pedigree with a brace that can hurt PSG’s chances in the competition further. Ronaldo might not have bossed the opposition defenders but he showed his decisive prowess which earned a magnificent result for his team.