The clash of two of Europe’s heavyweights – Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid – ended in sweet triumph for the hosts as Thomas Tuchel’s men eked out a convincing 3-0 victory over Los Blancos in Match Day 1 of the Champions League, Wednesday night.
Di Maria scored two well-taken goals to punish his former club and give PSG their first ever win at home to Real Madrid as hostilities resumed in the UEFA Champions League.
PSG were without three of their star forwards, with Neyman serving a two match ban and both Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani injured.
While PSG cursed their luck before the match began, Zidane was able to hand Eden Hazard his full debut, after the Belgian missed the opening three LaLiga fixtures with an injury, while Bale also came back into the team following his suspension.
But it was another forgotten star who stepped in the gap to push the home side past their more illustrious opponents.
It was the Di Maria show in Paris as the Argentine forward almost single handedly masterminded the downfall of his old club, netting the crucial goals that condemned Madrid to their first ever defeat at the Parc des Princes.
The former Real Madrid man was in inspired form against his old side, prodding PSG ahead in the 14th minute with a neat first-time finish from Bernat’s cut-back.
He then doubled his tally just after the half-hour, with a powerful, dipping strike which nestled into the bottom-right corner, leaving Courtois gasping for fresh air.
Gareth Bale appeared to have pulled one back for Madrid, but his fine effort was rightly chalked off after a VAR check.
Much of the same resumed after the break, with PSG constantly asking dangerous questions of the Real defense while not allowing their guests much of a sniff at goal.
With twenty minutes of play left, Zidane finally blinked. The Madrid coach made two changes, the first of which saw Hazard – who had been marshalled well on his debut by PSG – make way for Vazquez.
Jovic came on to replace James Rodriguez, the second substitution for Madrid suggested a change to 4-4-2.
And the impact was felt almost immediately. It should have been 2-1 when Benzema slammed home from a tight angle, but the linesman’s flag went up. Vazquez was offside, though he was not clearly involved in the play. However, after a check with VAR, the decision stood.
There was still time, though, for PSG to add to the scoreline late in the game.
Meunier started it off, racing forward and combining with Di Maria before laying it off to Bernat, who had charged up in support. The Spaniard dummied to shoot but instead returned the favour and, in composed fashion, Meunier slotted home to make it 3-0.
It was game, set, match to PSG.