Perfect 10 Casemiro frustrates Cavani before sealing win for Real Madrid

Perfect 10 Casemiro frustrates Cavani before sealing win for Real Madrid
From ESPN - March 6, 2018

Real Madrid sailed into the Champions League quarterfinals at the expense ofParis Saint-Germain with a 2-1 away victory, and the truth is Zinedine Zidane's side were scarcely troubled by Unai Emery's outfit -- the Frenchman winning the battle of the sacked-if-you-losematch by a country mile. Cristiano Ronaldo maintained his incredible record in Europe and Casemiro struck a fortunate second goal to put the tie beyond the hosts after he inadvertently teed up Edinson Cavani's equaliser.


Even before Marco Verratti crippled his side's chances -- earning a red card on 66 minutes for questioning the authority of referee Felix Brych who managed the game expertly -- the suspicion was that even Neymar may not have inspired PSG to victory was ingrained. Madrid were superior in every facet and Emery throwing on Lassana Diarra for Kylian Mbappe felt like an attempt at job-saving rather than game-chasing. PSG managed eight attempts on goal to Madrid's 22 and only three were on target. Zidane's side hit the woodwork as often as Keylor Navas was forced into a save.


After a nervous opening 10 minutes Madrid took complete control of the game and for 80 minutes never looked like losing over the 90, let alone on aggregate. Karim Benzema endured another miserable evening but that is a matter for June. With Toni Kroos, Isco, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale on the bench, the visitors were still a cut above their pretenders to the European throne.

Manager rating out of 10

9 -- Zidane opted for width in the knowledge that Mbappe and Angel Di Maria would interchange flanks, which also allowed Real to play swiftly from side to side with two extra players available to exploit spaces. Real's shape allowed the back four to keep theirs and Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio, both excellent throughout, contributed to the opening goal.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Keylor Navas, 7 -- May have expected a busier evening. Other than cutting out a dangerous Di Maria cross and making a decent save from Mbappe seconds later, he enjoyed a spectator's view of the action.

DF Dani Carvajal, 9 -- A fantastic covering block on Yuri Berchiche in the second half capped a phenomenal performance. Carvajal ruled his flank, putting in a game-high seven tackles while keeping both Mbappe and Di Maria away from the danger areas.

DF Raphael Varane, 8 -- Solid in the air and launched a few counters with quick-thinking passes from the back. Rarely missed a teammate and covered the lines well against the pace of PSG's runners.

DF Sergio Ramos, 9 -- Drew a fine save from Alphonse Areola after 17 minutes, the first decent chance of the game. Impeccable other than a yellow for a foul on Javier Pastore, PSG barely made a dent in the captain's sphere of influence. Like his side, Ramos rises to the European occasion.


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