Paris Saint-Germain Bests Real Madrid in Ohio Stadium, 3-1

By D.J. Byrnes on July 27, 2016 at 9:29 pm
PSG Real Madrid at the Horseshoe Columbus Ohio

COLUMBUS - Real Madrid played its first preseason game of the 2016 campaign, and things did not go according to plan for the European Cup winners against French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

86,641 raucous fans from around the world weathered a pregame campus traffic logjam to stuff the Horseshoe for the collision of Spanish and French champions. They were rewarded with four first half goals.

PSG midfielder Jonathan Ikoné, an 18-year-old playing his first season with the senior team, opened scoring in the second minute after taking possession of a fortuitous ricochet off a defender and dribbling through two more.

PSG took a hit six minutes later when its captain, Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, slid for a tackle on the right flank which earned him a yellow card. Silva stayed on the ground, writhing from a hip injury. PSG manager Unai Emery substituted him with Thomas Meunier. 

Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic attempted a curler from the left corner of the penalty box in the 18th minute, forcing a diving save from PSG keeper Kévin Trapp. It would be Real's best chance for the next half hour.

Meunier proved to be a dynamite substitution in the 35th minute when he unleashed a frozen rope from outside the box that left Madrid keeper Kiko Casilla grasping at air.

Meunier didn't stop there. Five minutes later, a through ball freed him on the right flank. One on one with Casilla, Meunier attempted a cutback pass to a wide-open and trailing Edinson Cavani. Casilla blocked the attempt, but the ball rebounded to Meunier, who registered the first half brace.

Though Madrid found themselves down 3-0 in the first half, they managed to salvage some respect before the whistle. PSG defender Serge Aurier threw his hand in front of a cross, earning the penalty for Madrid in the 44th minute.

Brazilian defender Marcelo converted from the spot with a powerful kick into the upper right goal moments later. 

Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane made substitutions at halftime with a wave of academy products. Real took control in the second half as the "O-H-I-O" chant rolled around Ohio Stadium in the 55th minute.

Cavani scored what appeared to be his first goal on American soil in the 65th minute before referee Hilario Grajeda waved it off on an offsides call. Three minutes later, Meunier linked up with Cavani, but the Uruguayan frontman duffed his defender's pass with a shot that went well wide of the goal.

After both teams engaged in possessions of intricate midfield passing, fans jeered in the 77th minute to show their displeasure at the lack of goals. Both teams, however, seemed resigned to the final scoreline after Madrid surged to start the second half.

And indeed, that was the final score when Grajeda blew his whistle to signal full time.

The win makes PSG 3-0 in the 2016 International Champions Cup. It will play English Premiere League champions Leicester in Carson, California on Sunday.

Real Madrid is now 0-1 in International Champions Cup play. It plays English side Chelsea at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Sunday.

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