Mbappe Scores As PSG Take Control Of Real Sociedad Champions League Tie

Kylian Mbappe scored the first goal as Paris Saint-Germain defeated Real Sociedad 2-0 in the first leg of their last-16 meeting on Wednesday, moving them closer to the Champions League quarterfinals.

PSG’s mediocre first-half performance at the Parc des Princes may have left its fans fearing another in a long series of poor Champions League knockout round finishes in recent years.

However, Mbappe, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the season, broke the deadlock from close range shortly before the hour mark.

Bradley Barcola’s well-taken goal in the 70th minute made it 2-0, giving the French champs a solid lead to carry to Spain for their return early next month.

“We managed to score at key moments. We are happy with this first step. There is still a lot of work to do but it is good to be going there with the advantage,” Mbappe told broadcaster Canal Plus.

Captain Marquinhos added: “We were in great difficulty in the first half but we knew that would be the case.

“The coach gave us an earbashing at half-time and I think that helped because the attitude was much better in the second half.

“We know how important it is to win at home but it is not finished. We need to keep the same mindset between now and then, keep playing well in the league and then go there and play well to secure our qualification.”

There was big pressure on PSG coming into this tie after they had gone out in the last 16 of the Champions League in five of the last seven seasons.

Another early exit this season would be a monumental setback for the Qatar-owned club, especially as Real Sociedad were appearing in their first Champions League knockout tie in two decades.

They also made the trip to Paris having failed to score a goal while failing to win any of their last four games in all competitions.

In addition to that, they were missing captain and top scorer Mikel Oyarzabal as he recovers from injury.

PSG, who gave a Champions League bow at left-back to 20-year-old Brazilian January signing Lucas Beraldo, were aiming to extend a run of 16 games unbeaten in all competitions stretching back to early November.

Away side threaten

However, Mbappe’s early attempt, which was saved by visiting goalkeeper Alex Remiro, was the only time they threatened in a terrible first half performance.

Instead, the away side, who won their group ahead of Inter Milan, were more at ease and came closest to scoring before the break.

In the final minute of the half, captain Mikel Merino controlled the ball before launching a piledriver from 25 meters off the top of the bar and over.

On 58 minutes, PSG broke the deadlock as Marquinhos assisted Ousmane Dembele’s corner from the right to the back post, which Mbappe converted.

It was the French captain’s 31st goal of the season in all competitions, and his fourth in the Champions League. He is largely expected to join Real Madrid after this season.

That eased the hosts, and Mbappe nearly scored again in the 63rd minute, when he recovered the ball high up the pitch and unleashed a powerful effort from outside the box that Remiro pushed over the bar.

Luis Enrique’s team did score again 20 minutes later, when Barcola gathered a ball on the left, skipped past Hamari Traore on his way into the area, and tucked the ball past Remiro for his first Champions League goal.

La Real failed to find a way back into the game, extending their goalless streak to five matches.

They now have a mountain to climb when they face PSG in San Sebastian on March 5, but French fans will be apprehensive given how they have imploded at this level of the competition in recent years against Barcelona and Madrid, among others.

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