Real Madrid wins friendly against PSG; Rain doesn’t deter fans or stars
- Nat High
- On January 2, 2014
Match report Paris Saint-Germain 0 – Real Madrid 1.
On paper, the plan was foolproof: a high profile mid-season friendly in the Gulf sunshine between Qatar Investment Authority-owned Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Real Madrid.
What the 39,170 fans inside Khalifa International Stadium tonight got instead was wet. The heavens opened 10 minutes into the first half, with respite from the rain only coming after the final whistle had gone.
But to the sell-out crowd’s enormous credit, it didn’t deter them one bit from cheering on 2013’s two leading European scorers, PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahmovic or Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo. They had been waiting a long time to see two teams of this calibre, and they weren’t going to let the rain dampen their enthusiasm.
The mid-season friendly is the first of a two-match deal which was part of the deal struck when PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti moved to Madrid in the summer.
PSG’s winter training camp is part of their partnership with the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) to help promote the country as a tourist destination.
The irony of a global audience watching the rain tip down in Doha was lost on no-one. Some things are beyond even Qatar’s powers.
On the pitch, a friendly with 19 substitutions was never going to flow freely, but the tempo slowed even further as the grass became ever more slippery, with players unwilling to make challenges that could injure them ahead of the resumption of their domestic season next week.
PSG’s Cavani put in the most energetic shift in his hour of play, while at the end of the game, Jese Rodriguez’s 19th minute goal was enough to secure the win for the Spanish side. Karim Benzema came close to doubling Madrid’s lead in the second half, but his acrobatic volley hit the crossbar.
The crowd left wet, cold and, judging from my section at least, a little underwhelmed. The overall stadium experience was a marked improvement on last year’s Spain v. Uruguay friendly, but stewarding inside the stadium was notably absent.
With a second Madrid friendly to follow, possibly this summer, there will at least be another chance for Khalifa Stadium officials to improve their skills.
Photo credit: Nat High
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