Evening all! Well, this is a bit of a big one isn't it? Our Champions League
coverage on Sports Mole
continues from the Parc des Princes as Paris Saint-Germain
welcome Real Madrid in Group A. Both of these sides have collected six points from two group games this season and they are among the favourites to win the competition outright. This has all the makings of a fascinating match from the French capital!
This will be the fifth meeting between the two teams in European competition. PSG have won two of the previous four, losing just once in the process. Their previous encounters were in the knockout stages and it was PSG that eliminated Real Madrid on both occasions. In the 1992-93 campaign, PSG beat Real Madrid 5-4 on aggregate in the UEFA Cup and one season later, the French club were 2-1 aggregate winners in the Cup Winners' Cup. Real Madrid have never beaten PSG at the Parc des Princes.
Right, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the team news...
PSG: Trapp; Aurier, Marquinhos, Silva, Maxwell; Verratti, Motta, Matuidi; Di Maria, Ibrahimovic, Cavani
REAL: Navas; Danilo, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Isco; Jese, Ronaldo, Vasquez
So there we have it. No real surprises in the PSG XI this evening, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line with support from former Real Madrid star Angel di Maria and Edinson Cavani. Serge Aurier is preferred at right-back to Gregory van der Wiel, while the absence of Brazilian international David Luiz means that Marquinhos starts alongside the skipper Thiago Silva in defence. Despite recent calls for a start, Javier Pastore is once again named among the substitutes tonight.
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As for Real Madrid, their squad is really stretched at the moment due to injury. They travelled to Paris without the likes of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Dani Carvajal, but Sergio Ramos does start despite a shoulder problem and fit-again Luka Modric has just about made the bench. There are spots in attack for Lucas Vasquez and Jese Rodriguez alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, while Brazilian pair Casemiro and Danilo also start in midfield and defence respectively.
Speaking of Ronaldo, Saturday was a monumental day for the Portuguese, who became Real Madrid's all-time leading scorer after netting in the 3-0 win over Levante in La Liga. The 30-year-old's strike in the first half moved him onto 324 goals for the Spanish giants, one clear of the legend that is Raul. What's more, the goal ended a rare four-match drought in Spain's top flight for the attacker, which was his joint-worst run since he moved to the Bernabeu in 2009. Oh, there is also the small matter of Ronaldo's 82 Champions League goals, which is currently a record. Sorry Lionel Messi!
However, Ronaldo, and indeed Real Madrid, will need to be at their very best this evening if they are to overcome a very strong PSG team, who have won their last five games in all competitions. Laurent Blanc's side are currently in their eighth group-stage campaign, but have gone out in the quarter-finals in each of the last three seasons. Somewhat surprisingly, the French outfit have not actually made the semi-finals of Europe's premier competition since the 1994-95 campaign.
PSG opened their Group A campaign with a 2-0 home win over Malmo, before recording a very impressive 3-0 victory at Shakhtar last time out. In truth, it would be a surprise if PSG and Real Madrid did not qualify from this group, but who finishes top is a question that needs answering. We will have a better idea of that after the pair have clashed in back-to-back European games.
PSG's home European record against Spanish opposition is strong, having only lost two of their 12 fixtures with teams from La Liga. Overall, they have won 10 of their 24 European matches against Spanish sides, losing eight times in the process. They were beaten 3-1 at home by Barcelona in last season's quarter-finals, however, and will be been to put on a better show this evening.
What's more, PSG have only lost one of their last 35 home games in European competition, winning 23 times in the process. They have also scored in each of their last 18 home games in this competition. The last time that they failed to find the back of the net in a European fixture in Paris was back in September 2004, when they were beaten 3-0 by Chelsea. Those are very impressive numbers.
As mentioned, PSG have won each of their last five games and four of those successes were in the league. A total of 26 points has left them top of Ligue 1, four points clear of surprise second-place Angers. Blanc's team will also enter this match off the back of a 2-0 win over Bastia at the weekend, which followed a 2-1 victory over Marseille before the international break.
As for Real Madrid, they are competing in the Champions League for the 19th consecutive season, which is the longest ever run. They have never failed to make it out of the group stages of this competition and lifted their 10th European Cup at the end of the 2013-14 campaign. The fact that they have made it to at least the semi-finals in each of the last five seasons is another indication of their incredible credentials in the competition. They will be there or there abouts once again this term.
Like PSG, Real Madrid have collected six points from two group games this term. Los Blancos opened with a comfortable 4-0 win over Shakhtar, before recording a 2-0 victory at Malmo. As it stands, the Spanish giants are unbeaten in their last eight away games in the Champions League, which is a run that stretches back to the 2012-13 season, when they lost 2-1 at Borussia Dortmund.
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Meanwhile, the goalless draw with Atletico Madrid in last season's quarter-finals was only the second time in 31 away Champions League games that Real Madrid had failed to score, which is an indication of the task facing PSG this evening. It is also worth noting that Real Madrid have won their last three games against French opposition, scoring nine times without conceding.
As mentioned, PSG are currently top of their domestic table and the same can be said for Real Madrid, who currently lead the way in La Liga. Three teams in Spain's top flight (Real, Celta Vigo and Barcelona) have collected 18 points from their eight fixtures and although Los Blancos have drawn three times in the league this term, an unbeaten start has left them atop the division.
Before the international break, Rafael Benitez's side drew 1-1 at Atletico Madrid, but they returned to winning ways at the weekend with a comfortable 3-0 victory at home to Levante. It is an important couple of weeks for Los Blancos, who travel to high-flying Celta Vigo next weekend and will also travel to Sevilla after welcoming PSG to Spain for the reverse group match.
PREDICTION! I think this could be a very tough night for Real Madrid, who are without a number of key players. I am finding it difficult to predict an away win and I am actually going to side with the hosts here. For me, a very tight 2-1 victory for the French champions in Paris.
Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the first 45 minutes of action. The noise levels are rising, that is for certain. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - could be vital tonight. It is the standout fixture in the Champions League this evening.
KICKOFF! Just a reminder that the winner of this match - if there is one - will finish the evening top of Group A. A draw, however, would leave Real ahead on goal difference. It is a massive game in Paris and you can sense that in the stands. Right, the visitors get the first period underway here...
... as expected, it has been a fast start from the hosts, with Di Maria already threatening down the right after good work from Matuidi. Real Madrid manage to clear down-field towards Ronaldo, but PSG regain the possession and put together another smart passing sequence.
Half-chance for Real Madrid as good work down the left leads to Marcelo having a shot from a wide angle, but his effort was always away from the goal. Moments before, Jese had combined with Ronaldo and delivered towards the centre of the box, but there were no takers in white.
It is good defending from Varane as the Real Madrid centre-back comes across to challenge Ibrahimovic, who had found space inside the box. The resulting corner is cleared for another set piece, but the second is also dealt with as Varane gets ahead of Marquinhos to clear the danger.
Decent spell of pressure from the home side as they force a succession of corners, but Real Madrid stand strong and manage to force PSG back into their own half to keep possession.
BOOKING! Matuidi (PSG) is booked for a late challenge on Casemiro.
The resulting free kick is taken by Ronaldo, but his effort is straight into the wall.
SAVE! Matuidi wriggles free outside the Real Madrid box before sending one towards the bottom corner, but Navas gets down well to make the save. Moments before, Aurier had a shot blocked.
Well, 13 minutes into the match and it has been a very even contest thus far. PSG have done the better work in the final third, but Real Madrid have looked dangerous when in possession. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - will be vital in this type of game.
Half-chance for the home side as Silva rises above everyone inside the Real Madrid box to meet a free kick from Motta, but his header was always rising over the crossbar. Should have done better!
Ramos, who entered this match with a shoulder problem, does not look too comfortable as he hits the deck following a late challenge from Ibrahimovic, but no card is produced by the referee.
Aurier has been a threat for PSG in the opening 18 minutes here, but the right-back moved just too soon to meet a Di Maria pass and the flag was raised. Down the other end, Jese delivered towards Ronaldo, but Trapp was out to make the save, before Casemiro had a long-range strike blocked.
Casemiro just needs to be careful as the Brazilian commits another foul by bringing down Di Maria and the Argentine has some strong words for the referee. PSG continue to look the more dangerous team in the final third, but Marcelo has been a real threat for Real Madrid thus far.
Half-chance for Real Madrid as Kroos lines one up from outside the box, but his low effort was always moving wide of the post. Good work from the away side in the build-up to that chance.
SAVE! Much better chance for Real Madrid this time as Kroos does excellently to slide a pass into Jese inside the box, but the Spaniard's low effort brings a very smart save from Trapp!
Apologies for the lack of updates - technical problems. However, I am back now and the score is still goalless with little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining. It has been a tight game.
PSG have been dangerous in the final third, but their best work has come down the right with Di Maria and Aurier, rather than through Ibrahimovic and Cavani, who have actually been quite quiet in the opening 31 minutes of this contest. Real Madrid will be pretty pleased at this point.
CHANCES! Very good pressure from Real Madrid brings a succession of chances. First, Trapp gets down to deny Ronaldo, before the attacker brings a wonderful save from the PSG goalkeeper with a towering header. It is Real in control as the first period continues to develop here.
PSG force a half-chance as Verratti delivers a dangerous free kick into the Real Madrid box, but brilliant defending from Varane, who has been excellent, sees the danger cleared. Casemiro attempts to break for the visitors, but loses possession to Cavani, who he then brings to the ground.
Well, no goals in this opening half, but the match has set alight in the last 10 minutes or so and it is Real Madrid that look the more threatening. PSG's big players have not turned up thus far, while the offside flag has not exactly been kind to the hosts. Not much of this first half remaining.
CHANCE! Somehow PSG survive another Real opportunity, with the ball being hacked clear just yards from the goal-line. It was Maxwell that made first contact after a quick corner had led to Marcelo delivering a super cross. PSG are a little bit on the ropes here it must be said!
Real Madrid again break down the left after strong work from Marcelo, who has been excellent, but Marquinhos brings the full-back to the ground. Lucky to escape a booking there.
SAVE! Ronaldo finds space outside the PSG box before releasing a powerful strike, but Trapp gets down well to make the save. It appears that these two teams will enter the break on terms.
A smart passing sequence from the home team leads to Motta attempting to pick out the run off Maxwell, but the pass was just too strong and that should be that for the first period here.
HALF-TIME: PSG 0-0 Real Madrid
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 0-0. It has been an open and entertaining half between two attacking teams, but Real Madrid have had the better chances it must be said. Let's hope for some goals in the second 45 minutes here!
STATISTICS! PSG have just about shaded the possession with 52%, but they have only had three attempts, just one of which was on target. Real Madrid, meanwhile, hit the target four times from 10 attempts. The best chance of the first period fell to Jese after the Spaniard found space inside the PSG box, but Trapp was on hand to make a smart save. Matuidi, meanwhile, has received the only card.
BENCH WATCH! PSG have plenty of attacking options on their bench this evening, with the likes of Lavezzi, Pastore and Lucas all in reserve. Real Madrid, meanwhile, are without a number of key players tonight, but still have options in the shape of Cheryshev, Modric and Kovacic.
RESTART! Here we go then - both sets of players re-join us on the pitch for the second period. Will we have a breakthrough in Paris? Let's hope so! The hosts resume the action in this Group A match...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind if the score remains level for the next 15, 20 minutes here. PSG just lost a bit of control in the latter stages of the first period after a good start.
Cavani is penalised for a late challenge on Casemiro and the striker is touch fortunate to escape a yellow card. Real Madrid are enjoying most of the possession in the early moments.
CHANCE! Rare sight of goal for Cavani as the PSG striker meets a cross from Motta, but his effort just moved wide of the post. Just about the home side's best sight of goal tonight.
BOOKING! Verratti (PSG) is booked for a late challenge on Ronaldo.
Real have a free kick in a very, very dangerous position here...
... Ronaldo strikes the resulting free kick, but his effort is deflected wide for a corner.
In truth, a point would suit both sides tonight, but I would be surprised if this game actually finished goalless. In fairness to Real Madrid, without a number of key players, they have been the better side in the opening 52 minutes of this match. The score remains all square though.
We have not seen an awful lot from Cavani or Ibrahimovic this evening, while Di Maria has also been quiet after a strong start for the home team. Real Madrid again make good ground down the left when Marcelo finds space, but Aurier is on hand to make the block. Moments later, Vasquez finds space just outside the box, but his effort is blocked for a corner. Good pressure from the visitors.
Half-chance for Cavani as the PSG striker finds space just outside the Real Madrid box, but Ramos is on hand to make a fine block. Excellent defending from the Spanish centre-back.
Super defending from Aurier this time as the right-back gets in the way of an Isco effort to clear for another Real Madrid corner, which brings a home free kick when Varane bundles into Trapp.
The offside flag has not been too kind to PSG this evening and another decision goes against Matuidi, who had found space in a dangerous area. A poor free kick from Navas presents the ball straight to Di Maria, but the Argentine cannot take advantage of the Costa Rican's gift.
BOOKING! Ramos (Real Madrid) is booked for a late challenge on Verratti.
The resulting free kick is taken by Ibrahimovic, but the Swede's strike is blocked.
No movement on either bench at the moment, but both managers will be considering changes with little under 30 minutes of football remaining. The second period has not yet ignited here.
SAVE! Di Maria, who has been quiet this evening, finds space inside the Real Madrid box before attempting to find the bottom corner, but Navas gets down well to make a really smart save.
PSG SUBS! Cavani is replaced by Pastore for the hosts, while a second change quickly follows as Lucas enters the frame in place of Di Maria, who has flattered to deceive tonight.
REAL SUB! Modric replaces Isco in Real's first change.
Little over 20 minutes of football remaining and both managers have showed their hands with some changes. In truth, the game needed alterations. It has gone a little sour in Paris.
You still get the feeling that there is a goal in this match as we enter the final 20 minutes. In truth, a goalless draw would not be the worst result for either side, who would remain in control of their own outcome in this group. However, both teams are pressing forward at this stage.
CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Real Madrid to take the lead as Jese picks out Ronaldo with a super pass inside the box, but from a wide angle, Ronaldo's effort just whistles wide!
REAL SUB! Cheryshev replaces Jese.
Half-chance for the home side this time as Lucas, who has been bright since entering, finds space outside the box before trying his luck, but his effort was always moving wide of the post.
Lucas then heads over from close range following a super cross from Aurier.
BOOKING! Vasquez (Real Madrid) is booked for a late challenge on Aurier.
Little over 10 minutes of this Group A clash remaining and the score is still goalless. As it stands, you sense that it would be a better result for Real Madrid due to their currently injury crisis. For PSG, it has been a frustrating evening with nothing much coming off in the final third.
PSG SUB! Lavezzi replaces Verratti in PSG's final change.
Pastore has been nice and bright since entering for the home side, but a loose touch from the Argentine leads him to concede possession and then bring Casemiro to the ground for a free kick.
Ibrahimovic is once again flagged offside, which has been the story of the Swede's night. He has not had much of a say on this contest up until this point, but there is still time here.
Ronaldo stands over another free kick after Aurier is adjudged to have brought Marcelo to the ground, but the 30-year-old's effort is cleared for another corner, which PSG also deal with.
BOOKING! Cheryshev (Real) is booked for a late challenge on Pastore.
BOOKING! Aurier (PSG) is now booked for a foul on Casemiro.
Not long left in this match and it does appear that the two teams will share the spoils, which would be a decent result in the circumstances. Both would have taken it before the match.
Cheryshev fires wide of the post from a wide angle as time continues to tick on here.
A spectator has just run on the field and attempted to get close to Ronaldo, but the man has been intercepted by stewards. That is about the most exciting part of this second period!
We are into the second of three additional minutes and quick feet from Navas prevents PSG from having a clear sight of goal, with the stopper racing out to clear a through pass.
PSG with one last push as they break forward in the final minute of added time...
... Ibrahimovic rises inside the box to meet a cross from the left, but his header is blocked.
FULL-TIME: PSG 0-0 Real Madrid
So there we have it. The referee brings the match to a close with the points shared in a goalless draw. The result means that Real Madrid are still top of Group A on seven points, while PSG, who also have seven points, sit second. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action. Good evening!