PSG suffer Champions League last 16 exit for 2nd straight season

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Paris, March 7 (IANS) French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain were eliminated at the last 16 stage of the UEFA Champions League for the second successive season following their 1-2 loss in the second leg and 5-2 on aggregate to holders Real Madrid.

One year ago, the reigning Ligue 1 champions wasted a four-goal advantage in the first leg to crash out of last 16 against another La Liga giant FC Barcelona, reports Xinhua news agency.

After falling short at 1-3 in the first leg, PSG, without their injured Brazilian star Neymar, knew perfectly that they needed to speed up the game here on Tuesday, while seeing no concrete effect in front of the two-time defending champion in the first half.

Madrid captain Sergio Ramos saw his sweeping attempt denied by goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, who had another excellent save on Karim Benzema’s shot in the 38th minute.

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Areola’s Madrid counterpart Keylor Navas also did his job well in blocking PSG hopeful Kylian Mbappe’s effort just before the interval.

PSG’s fragile defence began to fall apart after the restart, as right back Dani Alves lost the ball possession to Marco Asensio, before Lucas Vazquez fed up for Cristiano Ronaldo’s header in the 51st minute.

Ronaldo has netted in the ninth straight Champions League match, tying the record of Ruud van Nistelrooy. The Portuguese also led the competition’s scoring chart of the season with 12 goals.

PSG were reduced to 10 men in the 66th minute, after Italian midfielder Marco Verratti got his second yellow card for complaining of the match referee’s decision.

The hosts once saw a glitter of hope five minutes later, as their Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani deflected substitute Javier Pastore’s header into the net.

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However, their early farewell finally arrived in the 80th minute following Carlos Casemiro’s shot left Areola stranded on the goal line.

PSG had to swallow their first home defeat in all competitions since March 2016, and they had to wait for at least another season to pursue the European top club competition’s glory.



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