French Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain defeated UEFA Champions League victors Real Madrid 3-1 Wednesday night at Ohio Stadium in an international exhibition for the 2016 International Champions Cup.
In front of a crowd of 86,641 diverse supporters—the largest soccer crowd in Ohio history— PSG claimed three points in the competition behind a goal from Jonathon Ikone, and a brace from substitute Thomas Meunier.
“Overall, we saw two teams that need to keep working, work on things this preseason, players getting more minutes,” PSG head coach Unai Emery said after the match. “I think today, for us, was about work. Obviously we want to win and we play to win, but we will continue working, and focus on growing things.”
The last time these two sides met was on November 3, 2015 in a UEFA Champions League group stage match, with Real Madrid winning at home 1-0. But this time, the French Ligue 1 champions struck first early.
In the 2nd minute, PSG’s Jonathan Ikone carried the ball from 25 yards out towards the Real Madrid penalty area, and following a series of deflections, found himself one-on-one with Francisco Casilla. The defender calmly slid a shot past the goalkeeper into the bottom left corner to take the lead, scoring the fastest goal in ICC history.
The Red and Blue, the nickname of PSG, controlled the tempo and possession early in the first 45, but the Champion’s League winners had chances to equalize. Midfielder Mateo Kovacic curled a shot on net in the 18th minute that nipped the fingertips of a diving Kévin Trapp, rattled the right woodwork and bounced back to a waiting Trapp.
PSG defender Thiago Silva exited the match in the 11th minute with a leg injury, making way for the young Thomas Meunier. The Belgian international trotted around the pitch for over 20 minutes with his team in the lead, and in the 35th minute, he made his presence known.
Meunier received a deflected ball at his feet at the top of the 18 yard line, and fired a rising rocket into the left, upper-90 of the goal to double his side’s lead. And five minutes later, the substitute netted his second goal of the night with an easy finish to put PSG up 3-0 late in the half.
Real Madrid, however, would cut the lead to two just before the break when the Red and Blue’s Serge Aurier was called for a handball in the box, awarding Real Madrid a penalty. Captain Marcelo stepped up to the spot, and powered it home.
After a flurry of substitutions from both sides at halftime, the second act of this international exhibition began with a sort of back-and-forth type of feeling, as shots peppered off the gloves of both Casilla and Trapp. Real Madrid held more urgency throughout the second half, controlling over 58 percent of the possession and outshooting the French side 16-12 overall, but could not recover from the first half deficit.
“This was our first match after only ten days of training, so ultimately, this it normal, this is to be expected,” Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane said in the post-match press conference. “Overall, I’m happy with everyone, with all the players.”
PSG—winner of the 2015 International Champions Cup—have now won its last three matches in the competition, dating back to July 29, 2015.
“This is a great club, and a club looking to continue writing its history,” Emery said. “This club has the intent to continue being one of the great teams, and fight against the top clubs in the world.”
Emery’s club will now meet English soccer champions Leicester City this Saturday at the StubHub Center in California, while Real Madrid gets set for a clash with English club Chelsea FC. These matches kick off at 5:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. ET, respectively.