Another tactical masterstroke from Zidane

07 Mar 2018

Paris-Saint Germain were seen as the favourites to progress past Real Madrid in their Champions League tie, yet another tactical masterstroke from Zinedine Zidane saw Los Blancos continue their quite sensational continental run.

The Champions League is the competition in which the Spanish giants are at their best, few gave the team a chance before the first leg against the Parisian giants but they came through comfortably.

There have been many questions over Zidane’s methods as Real Madrid’s domestic campaign has lurched from one disappointment to another, yet as soon as the Champions League restarted, the French coach made all the right decisions.

In the first leg, Los Blancos were second best for much of the match, Neymar ran the hosts ragged and it became abundantly clear to Zidane that heading to the French capital without a lead would make for an almost impossible task.

He introduced Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio in the second half to try and take a lead and two goals in the last 10 minutes turned the entire complexion of the tie.

Obviously, Neymar’s injury derailed the French club on Tuesday and it skewed the tie in favour of the Spanish club, whose game plan was nevertheless near perfect.

Zidane started with both Asensio and Vazquez in a narrow 4-4-2 formation, one which negated the need for either Cristiano Ronaldo or Karim Benzema to do too much defensive work, with the packed midfield behind them.

As Toni Kroos and Luka Modric both battled with fitness issues, neither were deemed ready to start. The former Bordeaux midfielder thus opted to go with Mateo Kovacic next to Casemiro.

It worked perfectly as the visitors remained compact and prevented PSG building any real steam, both Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe looked totally isolated in the forward areas.

Leaving Gareth Bale on the bench will always create headlines yet the result showed Zidane made the right decision and, with the club exuding confidence, they will once again be hard to stop in the Champions League.

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