Kylian Mbappe scored a stunning individual goal in stoppage time to give Paris St Germain a 1-0 home victory over Real Madrid and spare Lionel Messi’s blushes after he missed a penalty in the Champions League last-16, first leg on Tuesday.
Mbappe danced in between two defenders and calmly slid the ball into the far corner to earn PSG a deserved victory after it had dominated the encounter.
After taking a back-heeled pass from substitute Neymar in the fourth and final minute of injury time, Mbappe cut inside two players down the left and shot the ball between the legs of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Courtois had the starring role until then, denying Mbappe early in each half and then stopping record seven-time Golden Ball winner Lionel Messi’s penalty in the 61st minute. It was awarded after Mbappe was fouled by right back Dani Carvajal.
PSG threw on Neymar for the last 20 minutes as the Brazil standout made his return from a sprained ankle, while Madrid’s star forward Karim Benzema shook off a hamstring injury and faced ex-club rival Messi and France teammate Mbappe.
Mbappe is out of contract at the end of the season and remains heavily linked with a move to Madrid, which had an offer of 180 million euros ($204 million) rejected by PSG last summer.
Now the Spanish giant might get arguably the world’s most dangerous striker for free.
The subplots were in place but the first half did not live up to the hype, save for a few flashes of skill from Mbappe.
The second started better as Courtois produced a superb one-handed save low to his right to deny Mbappe, who was set up by right back Achraf Hakimi’s astute quick pass.
PSG has never won the competition while record 13-time champion Madrid hasn’t reached the final since completing a straight hat trick of European Cups in 2018. Carlo Ancelotti faced the side he once coached, hired near the start of the club’s Qatari-backed takeover as the big name to achieve Champions League glory.
This is the first season in 57 years that the away-goals rule — a way of deciding two-legged matches in European club competitions if necessary — is not being used.