Jese Rodriguez scored the only goal of this high-profile friendly as Real Madrid beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in Doha on Thursday.
The 20-year-old found the back of the net after 19 minutes at Khalifa International Stadium, but following his superb finish, neither his side nor the French champions could overcome a rash of poor finishing in the Qatar capital.
Madrid, in third place in La Liga heading into the winter break, went on the front-foot from the opening kickoff and had a chance to open the scoring in the third minute when Cristiano Ronaldo’s effort sailed over the bar.
But it wasn’t long before PSG had settled into the encounter, and just before the quarter-hour mark, Zlatan Ibrahimovic nearly got on the end of a cross that took a deflection off Alvaro Arbeloa before he barged into Sergio Ramos and was penalized for a foul.
Then, it was Edinson Cavani with a pair of chances—the Uruguay international first missing the target with a shot and then forcing Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez into making a fantastic save following an exquisite, one-touch ball from Blaise Matuidi.
Only seconds later, however, Jese had put Madrid in front.
Alvaro Morata, who had just been called back for offside, this time managed to spring his teammate with a quick pass, and after running onto the ball, Jese was able to roll it past Salvatore Sirigu and inside the far post for the opener.
PSG’s reply came in the form of a series of chances for Ezequiel Lavezzi, but much like his Uruguayan countrymen, the former Napoli attacker was unable to convert any of them.
In the 34th minute, Cavani scuffed yet another chance after some good work from Ibrahimovic, and four minutes later, Madrid youngster Jose Rodriguez rang his shot off the upright.
Both managers made a handful of changes at the break, and with the substitutions, the match lost some of its flow in the second half.
PSG v Real Madrid pretty enjoyable as far as meaningless exhibition matches go. José Rodríguez & Lucas Digne stocking brownie points.— Andy Brassell (@andybrassell) January 2, 2014
Karim Benzema, who had been introduced at the interval, quite nearly doubled Madrid’s lead when he hit the crossbar with a thunderous effort in the 51st minute, and the end-to-end pattern of the contest continued when Thiago Motta headed what should have been a sure goal over the net following a corner just seven minutes later.
Adrien Rabiot and Jeremy Menez also wasted splendid opportunities as the period came to a close, and at the final whistle, PSG will have surely expected a better result given their chances and the general balance of play.
Key Player Grades
Jese Rodriguez: A
He played only the first 45 minutes in Doha, but he nevertheless had time to exhibit both an eye for goal and keen understanding with fellow attacker Morata. Jese has scored twice in nine Primera Division appearances for Madrid so far this season, and given his development—and that of Morata—the future looks bright for Los Blancos.
Edinson Cavani: C
He could hardly have been more wasteful on this night. Against Real Madrid, he displayed none of the finishing ability that has already earned him 12 Ligue 1 goals this term, and he didn’t appear all that impressed when he was withdrawn after 60 minutes.
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PSG will be back in action on Sunday when they visit Brest in the Coupe de France, and they’ll restart their Ligue 1 campaign on January 11 away to Ajaccio. Real Madrid, meanwhile, will host Celta Vigo in La Liga on Monday and will welcome Osasuna to the Bernabeu for a Copa del Rey match on January 9.