Watch highlights of goals and key plays as Real Madrid beats PSG 3-1 in a star-studded first leg of the Champions League round of 16.
Real Madrid has dealt with doubters for weeks and weeks, but on Wednesday, the reigning European kings showed that perhaps they're not done just yet.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice, and Marcelo added a key late finish to give Real Madrid a come-from-behind 3-1 win over PSG to open their Champions League round of 16 series.
The stakes are high for both clubs entering the round. Real Madrid has limped through the 2017-18 season, and the Champions League is the last remaining frontier it can realistically conquer this season. Amid its struggles, a wholesale revamp has been speculated for the club, but it can quiet those shouts by advancing and eliminating big-spending PSG on the strength of established stars like Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
The Ligue 1 power has gone all in on establishing itself as a European champion, though, and it largely coasted through the group stage. A first-leg knockout affair at the home of the two-time reigning champion required a different level, though, and summer signings Neymar and Kylian Mbappe weren't able to provide the fireworks expected, with Adrien Rabiot the lone goalscorer for the Parisians.
Real Madrid pressed early, and Ronaldo got his first chance in the third minute, whipping in a volley off the bounce from a tight angle but sending it beyond the far post.
PSG nearly gifted Real Madrid the lead a couple of minutes later. Toni Kroos had a clean look from 20 yards parried away by Alphonse Areola, but it hit right off Marquinhos, who narrowly missed hitting it into his own net.
Real Madrid was given an injury scare 10 minutes in when Marcelo went down in a heap holding his right wrist. He was down on the field for a considerable amount of time but was able to carry on.
A chippy, physical match continued to ensue. Neymar, who was bumped off the ball on a couple of occasions, was given an early yellow for a foul on Nacho.
Real Madrid’s strategy to counter Neymar appears to be to knock him on his rear.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) February 14, 2018
Another yellow card came out for PSG's Giovani Lo Celso, who bumped Isco just outside the PSG box. That gifted Ronaldo a chance off the free kick from 20 yards, but he fired it too high and over the bar.
Ronaldo was then denied by Areola moments later. Marcelo found Ronaldo with a perfect ball across the field, but the on-rushing goalkeeper made himself big and took the shot directly off the face to keep Real Madrid off the board.
⏱| 28’ en un mano a mano Cristiano vuelve a perderse la oportunidad de abrir el marcador al estrellar el balón en la cara de AREOLA— Deportes TVC (@DeportesTVC) February 14, 2018
⚽️| #RMD 0-0 #PSG #ENVIVO #UCLporTVC | @TelecadenaHon
🎙| @JimmyArturo pic.twitter.com/aMzxiFDwsN
PSG found the breakthrough in the 33rd minute, and it came from Adrien Rabiot. Mbappe put in a cross from the right, where Nacho beat Neymar to it, only to touch the ball into Rabiot's path. The midfielder capitalized, beating Keylor Navas for the key away goal.
Real Madrid pulled even just before halftime after being gifted a penalty by Lo Celso. He was judged to have pushed Kroos down in the box off a short corner after Benzema was robbed by Areola, and Ronaldo converted the ensuing penalty to make it 1-1. The goal was Ronaldo's 100th in the Champions League as a member of Real Madrid.
Navas denied Mbappe a go-ahead goal in the 49th minute. Neymar found the Frenchman with a pinpoint pass across the box, but the Costa Rican goalkeeper was up to the challenge, and his rebound was kept away from danger as well.
A cagey second half continued and the match appeared headed for a draw until the 83rd minute. Luka Modric pounced on a turnover and found Marco Asensio to his left. Asensio's cross was punched away by Areola but right off Ronaldo's thigh on the doorstep, and the Portuguese star got enough on it to score his second and give Real a 2-1 lead.
That lead became 3-1 just three minutes later. Marcelo did the honors, turning in a fantastic, clutch finish from inside the box after another cross from Asensio to give Real Madrid a larger margin for error and PSG plenty to think about as the scene shifts to Paris next month.
Here were the lineups for the teams:
The second leg will take place on March 6 at the Parc des Princes in Paris.