Madrid through to CL knockouts

Real Madrid are safely through to the knockout rounds of the Champions League after a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain.

Malmo’s heavy defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk meant the winners of Madrid-PSG would be guaranteed a place in the top two and it went to Los Blancos, against the run of play.

Nacho, perhaps the most unlikely scorer there could be, not least because he only entered the atch moments before netting, put a below-par Madrid in front just past the half-hour.

Marcelo had to be withdrawn, thrusting the cantera product into the fray, and after Kevin Trapp totally mis-read the flight of Toni Kroos’ deflected shot and left his goal open, Nacho produced a delicate finish into the empty net.

PSG created the game’s better chances but were unable to breach Keylor Navas’ net and rarely looked in danger themselves before Trapp’s error.

Navas and Sergio Ramos returned in place of Kiko Casilla and Nacho, who started the win over Las Palmas, while PSG included Decima winner Angel Di Maria.

The opening stages were hampered by a clash of heads between Serge Aurier and Isco and an injury to Marco Verratti, totally disrupting the flow of the game.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave Navas something to think about with a low effort that had the goalkeeper sprawling, but it arrowed wide.

An Ibrahimovic attempt from around 30 yards caused concern for Navas as it fired low past the post, while there were worries of a different kind when Marcelo had to go off just past the half-hour mark, Madrid’s squad not containing another natural left-back.

And yet it was Nacho who opened the scoring, though PSG went close to equalising with their very next attack as Adrian Rabiot hit the woodwork.

Rabiot soon after sent a well-hit drive flashing past the goal and on another night would have had two of a few PSG goals, Madrid fortunate to be in front after Maxwell’s devilish cross evaded Edinson Cavani.

Isco could have doubled Madrid’s lead on the stroke of half time after a neat passing move from Madrid, their first of the match, and the lead could then have been eradicated when Di Maria led a break and fed Cavani, who seemed to mis-hit his effort.

The second half started in similar fashion with Di Maria this time having the shot but not testing Navas, then Ronaldo sent a frustrated effort high over the crossbar.

Trapp palmed a deflected Isco effort over the bar as Madrid showed some more urgency than had been on display in the first half.

It was again Isco against Trapp a little later with the German this time saving at the near post, after Isco had been elbow smashed by David Luiz and had his earlier head wound opened up.

PSG lost some of their control of the tie as they chased the equaliser, the game opening up for Madrid breaks after the introduction of Lucas Vazquez.

There was little Madrid could do about Di Maria’s late free-kick, even Navas left standing and watching as the ball cracked against the crossbar, and somehow Madrid escaped with three points and their clean sheet record intact.

Real Madrid 1-0 Paris Saint-Germain

Nacho 35

Real Madrid: Navas; Danilo, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo (Nacho 33); Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Isco (Kovacic 82), Jese (Lucas Vazquez 63), Ronaldo

Paris Saint-Germain: Trapp; Aurier, Luiz, Silva, Maxwell; Motta, Verratti (Rabiot 17), Matuidi (Lucas Moura 75); Cavani, Ibrahimovic, Di Maria

Referee: Clattenburg [ENG]

Tags Paris Saint-Germain