Gareth Bale denied a classic Champions League goal by VAR as PSG thrash Real Madrid

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN beat Real Madrid 3-0 on Wednesday in what was a true evening of ‘what-ifs’.

How PSG must wish they played this way in the Champions League knockout rounds… How Gareth Bale must wish the handball rule hadn’t been tweaked in the summer.

The ball nudged of Bale’s arm as he controlled the ball
His celebration, a message to his critics, was in vain

Without the new ruling that any touch on an attacker’s arm immediately results in a foul, the Welshman would have been celebrating a supreme wonder goal that could maybe have rescued his side a point and revived his Madrid career in the process.

As it is, Angel Di Maria stole the limelight thanks to his own wonderful strike from the edge of the area, doubling up on a 13th minute opener that slipped through Thibaut Courtois’ grasp.

At 2-0 and with Real barely threatening as the first-half came to a close, Bale’s goal was breathtaking but ultimately relied on his arm to control the ball.

Collecting the ball from 25 yards out, the winger flicked it over his marker and juggled a couple of touches before landing a graceful chip over Keylor Navas.

His celebration was Cantona-esque, an understated “here I am” reminder to coach Zinedine Zidane that was taken away from him by the VAR review.

BT commentator Martin Keown remarked he “would’ve been okay with” it being given if he conceded such a goal, while Rio Ferdinand noted how it being given changes “the whole complexion of the game”.

Di Maria enjoyed a great night against his old team
Getty – Contributor
Hazard was far from match sharp on his full debut

In truth, Real deserved very little at Parc des Princes as the new signings and old guard alike failed to click.

Eden Hazard made his first start for the club and looked off the pace, trying his usual moves with gusto but failing in a way that seemed to baffle the £150million man.

Down the other end, the hosts lit up Parc des Princes with gliding one-twos and the busy precision of Marco Verratti and Idrissa Gana Gueye.

Di Maria should have had a hat-trick but chipped high and wide when one-on-one in the second-half, a moment proceeded by Karim Benzema registering Real’s second disallowed goal of the night – and rightly so given the offside Lucas Vazquez’s obstruction.


Group A

Club Brugge 0 – 0 Galatasaray

Paris Saint-Germain 3 – 0 Real Madrid

Group B

Olympiakos 2 – 2 Tottenham

Bayern Munich 3 – 0 Red Star Belgrade

Group C

Dinamo Zagreb 4 – 0 Atalanta

Shakhtar Donetsk 0 – 3 Man City

Group D

Atletico Madrid 2 – 2 Juventus

Bayer Leverkusen 1 – 2 Lokomotiv Moscow

The third came in the dying seconds as full-backs Juan Bernat and Thomas Meunier scampered through on the counter, the latter teed up beautifully for a powerful volley home.

Absent through injury and suspension, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar sat together in the stands and chuckled away.

PSG will need them back for their inevitable run through the knockouts – where they have become the serial chokers – and more performances like this may be enough to end that tag.


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