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The footballing world had its eyes on the Saudi city of Riyadh on Thursday night. During this short truce, PSG was on the road to play a gala match against Riyad Season, a formation made up of the best players from Al Nassr and Al Hilal, the two big clubs in the city. All trained by former PSG Marcelo Gallardo. Who says Al Nassr necessarily said Cristiano Ronaldo, a real star in his new home, and who was playing his very first match since his transfer. And on the PSG side, there is obviously no question of rotating. The Neymar, Mbappé and Messi trio therefore started. This meeting therefore seemed to be the last confrontation between the two legends CR7 and LM10 who have accumulated 12 Ballons d’Or between them. Something to please football lovers.
On the pitch, the show was frankly at the rendezvous and the two teams played the game. Quickly, PSG took the advantage thanks to… Lionel Messi. The Argentinian, well served by a wonder ball from Neymar, opened the scoring by taking advantage of the hazardous exit from Al Owais (3rd). Perfect start to the match for the Parisians who eased off afterwards. This benefited the Saudi team which got a few chances. Cristiano Ronaldo, very leggy, tried a lot and ended up equalizing from the penalty spot. After eating an (involuntary) right hook from Keylor Navas on an aerial exit, CR7, stunned and well marked in the eye, insisted on taking charge of his penalty himself. He transformed it without trembling (34th) and delighted the enclosure of King Fahd of Riyadh with a “SUUU” of which he has the secret.
Spectacle, goals and a great atmosphere
After this goal, both teams left a lot of space. Kylian Mbappé lacked precision in his last gesture despite several good chances on his part. The Bondynois ended up converting as a passer for Marquinhos shortly before halftime (2-1, 43rd). A feat since three minutes before Juan Bernat was guilty of a gross fault on Al Dawsari which logically earned him the expulsion (40th). But outnumbered, PSG could not hold their lead until half-time. After an error by Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo, who had just found the post with a header, followed well and equalized with a powerful strike (2-2, 45th + 6). Just before this goal, the Parisians had missed the goal of the break. Neymar saw, and this is quite rare to be underlined, his penalty pushed back by Al Owais (45th + 4). When they returned from the locker room, the match started again on the same basis.
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In a rather interesting rhythm, the two teams put on a show. Sergio Ramos restored the advantage to PSG (53rd) after a good serve from Mbappé while the Korean Hyun-Soo Jang equalized in stride (56th). And four minutes later, it was Mbappé who went there for his goal. He transformed a penalty obtained by Messi and therefore left by Neymar who had missed one, a little earlier (59th). And at the hour of play, Christophe Galtier and Marcelo Gallardo made many changes. Cristiano Ronaldo was coming out, as was the MNM. Galtier notably involved the many Parisian titis like Gharbi, Zaire-Emery, Housni, Pembele. Finally, at the end of the game, and despite the numerical inferiority and a few chances, it was Hugo Ekitike who sealed the Parisian victory (79th, 5-3) because the reduction of the gap from Talisca (5-4, 90th) will not change anything. PSG therefore offers itself a prestigious victory which will restore confidence in the team after the recent defeats against Lens and Rennes. This meeting will also have allowed Christophe Galtier to give back playing time to young Parisians, but also to Renato Sanches and Nuno Mendes back from injury. For his part, Cristiano Ronaldo took the opportunity to warm up before his official premiere this weekend in the Championship. And the Saudi leaders who want to develop their football benefited from a meeting rich in goals during this event. In short, everyone is happy.