Paris Saint-Germain’s 1-1 draw at Napoli after Liverpool were beaten 2-0 by Red Star in Belgrade meant that Champions League Group C wound even tighter on Tuesday.
Juan Bernat gave the Ligue 1 giants the lead on the stroke of half-time, but PSG gifted the hosts a penalty just after the hour, which Carlo Ancelotti’s men equalised with through Lorenzo Insigne. Despite an excellent individual performance from Neymar and Thomas Tuchel’s men showing strong organisation for the most part, it was not enough to come away with three points.
Liverpool at home in the next round of fixtures is more of a must-win than ever.
PSG avoided defeat, which has to be considered a positive — the French champions are still alive in Group C and can harbour realistic hopes of finishing top. They also looked more purposeful than usual away from home in Europe against quality opposition, and although Napoli eventually equalised, PSG fully deserved to lead at half-time and can be satisfied with what they showed.
Ancelotti got the better of Tuchel in Paris, but the German tactician responded in Naples with an excellent tactical setup that frustrated the Italian master and his players for most of the 90 minutes.
Considering Thomas Meunier’s missed chance in the first half, the fact that top spot in the group was there for the taking and that they were the better side for more of the game than their hosts, PSG can feel frustrated at leaving Stadio San Paolo with only a point. Liverpool slipping up in Belgrade was an unexpected bonus, so it really does feel like an opportunity was missed in Italy — even if a point is nothing to be ashamed of.
Had certain decisions gone their way during the match from referee Bjorn Kuipers, notably Juan Bernat’s second-half penalty shout, some manhandling of Neymar and Jose Callejon’s offside in the buildup to Napoli’s penalty, PSG might well have come out on top.
Manager rating out of 10
8 — Overall, a point at Napoli is a positive result, and it is simply because of PSG’s unfamiliar position as the third team in Group C that it could be deemed inadequate. Tuchel set his team up perfectly, particularly for the first half, and it was Les Parisiens‘ best away showing in the Champions League for some time.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Gianluigi Buffon, 7 — Made some superb saves in the second half to keep Napoli at bay and could do little to stop Insigne’s penalty, but he did flap at one point after half-time and was involved in Napoli’s penalty incident.
DF Marquinhos, 7 — Cool and collected for the most part, he formed part of a back three that largely functioned well.
DF Thiago Silva, 5 — Involved in the Napoli penalty incident, Callejon’s offside or not, it was a soft way to surrender a point to the home side having held out so valiantly.
DF Thilo Kehrer, 6 — Made a key block at 1-0, and despite a first-half booking, he did not look out of place in such an important game.
MF Thomas Meunier, 4 — Missed a great first-half chance and made some questionable decisions at other times; it was uncharacteristically poor from him.
MF Marco Verratti, 7 — Booked late on as his frustration got the better of him, it was understandable — he paired well with Julian Draxler in the middle and was metronomic for PSG over the 90 minutes.
MF Julian Draxler, 7 — Another convincing central midfield performance, which genuinely should have Adrien Rabiot worried about his starting role.
MF Juan Bernat, 7 — Was not undeserving of his goal as part of arguably his best performance since his summer arrival.
FW Angel Di Maria, 5 — Although not as enterprising as Neymar or Kylian Mbappe, he contributed going forward and caused trouble with some of his crosses and passes in attack.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 6 — Teed Bernat up for the opener, he was lively and one of PSG’s most serious goal threats. Although he picked up a first-half booking, his intensity did not drop as he sought to avoid another yellow card.
FW Neymar, 8 — Despite a late booking, he was largely excellent — particularly in the first half. Had he been offered greater protection by referee Kuipers, he probably would have had a greater influence on the encounter.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, NR — Looked to make up for lost time after his latest suspension and got involved.
FW Edinson Cavani, NR — Given the final 13 minutes on his big Napoli return, he arguably needed longer as he seeks a return to full fitness.
FW Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, NR — Sent on at the death to add an extra attacking element, he barely got on the ball in the short time he was on.