Real Madrid will welcome Paris Saint-Germain in the second half of their Champions League last-16 contest on Wednesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu, looking to erase a 1-0 deficit from the first leg at the Parc des Princes.
The only thing that separated the two teams in Paris was a Kylian Mbappe strike in the dying embers, as both capital heavyweights prepare for another meeting of the titans here.
If Kylian Mbappe’s strike proves to be the one that puts an end to Los Blancos’ Champions League hopes, he may find himself in a difficult position with his greatest fans, who attempted and failed to lure him away from the Parc des Princes with a nine-figure amount during the summer transfer window.
Mbappe threaded his way through a sea of white shirts before slotting home easily past Thibaut Courtois, who had saved Lionel Messi’s penalty earlier in the night, to give PSG the upper hand in the monster of a game. Mbappe is expected to join Carlo Ancelotti’s club for free in the summer of 2022-23.
Real Madrid’s European pedigree, on the other hand, is unquestionable, and Ancelotti’s side haS at the very least responded to that setback in ideal fashion by winning three La Liga games in a row, including a 4-1 victory over Real Sociedad on Saturday despite falling behind to a goal inside the first ten minutes.
However, recent history does not favour the hosts this week, with Real Madrid having been eliminated from the Champions League in the last-16 twice in the previous three seasons and having only progressed from one of their last ten knockout matches after losing the first leg in each of those campaigns.
A positive note can be written about Ancelotti’s side’s arrival at the Bernabeu. Los Blancos have now gone 13 games without a defeat on home soil since losing to Sheriff Tiraspol back in September, and PSG has not prepared well for the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal against Real Madrid.
Nice manager Christophe Galtier said emphatically at his post-match press conference that there is a PSG with Kylian Mbappe and a PSG without Kylian Mbappe, and the Aiglons coach’s remarks rang true during their heavyweight encounter against Paris Saint-Germain.
The French champions were defeated for the second time in three Ligue 1 matches as Andy Delort scored the only goal of the game in the 88th minute with Mauricio Pochettino looking on helplessly from the sidelines. PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino cut a frustrated figure on the touchline as his team suffered their second defeat in three Ligue 1 matches.
PSG’s grip on the Ligue 1 title would still require a collapse of monumental proportions, but a string of poor performances on the road have done Pochettino no favours ahead of the second leg, which will take place on a pitch that neither the Bernabeu faithful nor the pitch itself will be particularly welcoming.
In the three years between 2017 and 2019, PSG was eliminated from the Champions League in the last-16 on each occasion, with the first leg being won by at least two goals on two of those occasions. As a result, Les Parisiens will be well aware that the tie is far from over, especially given that Mauricio Pochettino has failed to win any of his last four Champions League away games.
PSG have won just four of their past ten away games in all competitions – two of which came against lower-league opponents in the Coupe de France – and Los Blancos have won their last three home games against the French giants ahead of what promises to be an enthralling encounter.
RMA vs PSG, UCL 2021/22
Date: 10th March 2022
Time: 1:30 AM IST
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid Champions League form:
Real Madrid form (all competitions):
Paris Saint-Germain Champions League form:
Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):
Real Madrid wins: 4
PSG wins: 4
Federico Valverde is expected to be available for selection for Real Madrid after overcoming the virus that kept him out of the victory against Real Sociedad.
It is also hoped that Toni Kroos (hamstring) will be ready for selection, which would be a significant boost for the hosts, who will be without the suspended Casemiro.
A similar suspension has been imposed on Ferland Mendy; however, regular back-up is in some question after an injury suffered last time out by Marcelo.
Despite sustaining an injury in training on Monday when Idrissa Gueye stepped on Mbappe’s foot, the Frenchman is likely to be available to play for PSG.
A fracture was first suspected, but an MRI indicated that Mbappe had not suffered one. He is now believed to be healthy after being included in the PSG travelling squad on Tuesday morning, according to reports. Sergio Ramos is sidelined with a calf injury.
Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Marcelo; Camavinga, Valverde, Modric; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Mendes; Pereira, Gueye, Verratti; Messi, Mbappe, Neymar
With Mbappe, PSG can surely cut their way through a Real Madrid midfield that is unknown to them. The attack may be the best form of defence for the visitors as they aim to expand on their slim lead.
But, we believe that the Blancos will flip the tie on its head and deny PSG’s Champions League ambitions for yet another year, as Ancelotti’s side is enjoying a golden period at their headquarters and PSG are charming to deceive on their travels.
Score Prediction- RMA 2-2 PSG