How Zinedine Zidane got the better of Unai Emery in Real Madrid's 2-1 win over PSG

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 15th goal in the last nine games as Real Madrid secured a 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.

The Portuguese opened the scoring before Edinson Cavani bundled in the equaliser. Casemiro then grabbed the winner as Madrid progress to the quarter-finals, winning 5-1 on aggregate.

So what effect did Unai Emery and Zinedine Zidane’s tactics have on their respective team’s?

STATS

PSG

Goals – 1

Shots – 8

Possession – 51%

Tackles – 8

Dribbles – 13

Real Madrid

Goals – 2

Shots – 20

Possession – 49%

Tackles – 36

Dribbles – 5

30-SECOND REPORT

Emery

The PSG coach set his side up in a 4-3-3 formation with Thiago Motta sitting deep in midfield. The hosts saw much of the ball in the early exchanges as Madrid were jittery starters.

However, the Parisians failed to show any ambition in attack and played it too safe. Ronaldo’s goal knocked the stuffing out of them and once Verratti was sent off, their shoulders drooped as the rest of their game was a pretty meek surrender.

Zidane

A 4-4-2 formation left Madrid a little light in midfield but they quickly adapted with wide players and forwards dropping into the middle as they began to interchange and find their rhythm.

Despite PSG initially seeing more of the ball, it was the visitors who showed quality in the final third and created the better chances. Even after Ronaldo’s goal, they continued to push ahead and go for the kill.

Cristiano Ronaldo (C) heads in the opener

Cristiano Ronaldo (C) heads in the opener

TACTICAL TALKING POINTS

Emery

RIGID SHAPE

With Motta anchoring the midfield, the duo of Adrien Rabiot and Marco Verratti had the freedom to push forward through the middle but didn’t take full advantage.

The 4-3-3 system was far too strict with players reluctant to break forward even though circumstances demanded they do just that. A more offensive midfield may have helped with Julian Draxler in the mix to offer some penetration.

Zidane

WIDE-MEN

Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez started the game too wide. That saw the central midfield duo of Casemiro and Kovacic outnumbered in the middle. PSG were allowed clean runs at Madrid’s back four too easily. It also drew Ramos out of position with the defender stepping up to close down the man with the ball.

They were better when the wingers tucked in and made them more compact. That also saw both players wind up on the same side at one point and that combination led to Madrid’s first.

SWITCH

Playing with two up front was always going to facilitate a more direct, counter-attacking style. On a few occasions, Madrid made the most of that with quick transitions.

Not only did they move swiftly from back to front with direct long balls, but the diagonal pass was their go-to move in order to quickly switch play with the forward on that side instinctively peeling away into space, attacking the defender and looking up for forward runners on the break.

PSG gave up after Marco Verratti (2L) was dismissed.

PSG gave up after Marco Verratti (2L) was dismissed.

VERDICT

Emery

His players never looked up to the task and his team selection was safe at best. There was no distinct plan to unlock Madrid when they clearly needed to be on the front foot. Didn’t affect the game with his changes.

Rating – 3/10

Zidane

Spotted their vulnerability in midfield and quickly ensured his players adapted. Excellent choice to start with Vazquez and Asensio who made huge impacts. Didn’t allow his team to be content after the first goal. Timely substitution of the booked Kovacic.

Rating – 8/10

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