PSG rallies to draw 2-2 with Madrid and clinch 1st place
MADRID (AP) — It was another great Champions League night for Keylor Navas at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
Like many times before, the goalkeeper left the field with the Bernabéu crowd chanting his name.
This time, though, his outstanding performance was key for Madrid’s opponent, Paris Saint-Germain, which salvaged a 2-2 draw to clinch first place in Group A of the Champions League on Tuesday.
“I’m not surprised,” coach Zinedine Zidane said about Navas. “He had these types of performances when he played for us. He did his job. I think he had four or five very good saves. But it was for them, unfortunately.”
Navas kept PSG in the game after Karim Benzema gave Madrid a 2-0 lead with a goal in each half at the Bernabéu, then Kylian Mbappé and Pablo Sarabia scored in the 81st and 83rd minutes to seal the draw for the visitors.
Mbappé’s goal came after a mistake by current Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is yet to earn the full support of the Madrid fans.
Navas had his name chanted by the Madrid crowd and saluted them as he made his way to the changing room after the game.
“I’m really thankful,” said Navas, who helped Madrid win three Champions League titles before joining PSG this season. “Together we lived some incredible moments here.”
Second-half substitute Gareth Bale nearly gave Madrid the win with a free kick that hit the post deep into injury time, this time with Navas already beaten.
PSG, which started the match without Neymar and Edinson Cavani, needed only a point to clinch first place.
Madrid had secured its spot in the knockout round in advance thanks to Club Brugge’s 1-1 draw at Galatasaray earlier Tuesday in the other group game. PSG had already advanced after winning its first four matches, including 3-0 against Madrid at home.
“We played a great match,” Zidane said. “We are not happy with the final result, but we are happy with how we played. We are happy with what we did for the first 80 minutes. If we can keep playing like this, I’ll be satisfied.”
PSG was outplayed during most of the match on Tuesday, with Navas making good saves to keep the hosts from adding to their lead.
“Real Madrid was the better team for many minutes tonight,” PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said. “Real Madrid played quite well, with a lot of confidence.”
Benzema put Madrid ahead from close range in the 17th and added his second with a header in the 79th. Mbappé pulled PSG closer a couple of minutes later after a mistake by Courtois, who let a cross go underneath him. Substitute Sarabia netted the equalizer with a shot into the top corner.
PSG thought it had been awarded a penalty and a red card to Thibaut late in the first half, but the decision was reversed by video review because of a push by Idrissa Gueye on left back Marcelo before Mauro Icardi was fouled by the Madrid goalkeeper inside the area.
Tuchel started the match with Icardi, Ángel Di María and Mbappé up front, with Neymar coming in after the break but not contributing much. The Brazil playmaker made his return from injury last Friday in a 2-0 win over Lille in the French league. He hadn’t played since Oct. 5 because of a muscle injury sustained while playing for Brazil during an international break.
Zidane kept Luka Modric and Bale on the bench, using Francisco “Isco” Alarcón and Federico Valverde in midfield. Bale came off the bench in the second half, again being loudly jeered by the Bernabéu crowd.
His late free kick struck the left post of Navas. The Wales forward replaced Hazard, who had an ankle injury.
Benzema scored his first goal after Isco’s shot hit the post. Hazard started the breakaway that led to the goal, with Dani Carvajal and Valverde also getting involved in the well-orchestrated move. The second goal by the French striker was a header off a Marcelo cross.
Mbappé’s goal came after Madrid defender Raphael Varane and Courtois didn’t commit to a low cross inside the area. After the ball went underneath the goalkeeper, Mbappé had an easy shot into the open net.
Sarabia’s well-struck shot from inside the penalty box closed the scoring.