Carlo Ancelotti’s reunion with Paris Saint-Germain proved to be a successful one as Real Madrid continued their unbeaten start to pre-season with a 1-0 win over the Ligue 1 champions in Gothenburg.
The Italian coach left the French outfit a matter of weeks ago to take charge at Santiago Bernabeu and saw Karim Benzema strike the opening goal for his side midway through the opening period.
Benzema’s effort was magnificently crafted down the Madrid right. Ozil was the chief architect as he provided the thrust and then the pass that allowed the France international to sweep an accurate shot into the corner of Salvatore Sirigu’s net.
To that point there had been plenty of sparring without any particular quality. Moments earlier, Ezequiel Lavezzi had missed the clearest-cut chance as he planted a close-range shot wide following good work from Maxwell but Cristiano Ronaldo had menaced for Ancelotti’s men.
The game’s opening goal, however, provoked a spell of broken play that favoured Laurent Blanc’s side. Within moments of falling behind Blaise Matuidi had tested Diego Lopez, while home favourite Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was captain for the night, headed narrowly wide shortly afterwards. This period concluded when Javier Pastore had an effort grasped by Madrid’s goalkeeper.
Edinson Cavani was not yet in the PSG side but had he been on the field he would surely have profited from some lax defending that saw Ibrahimovic nod down for Lavezzi six yards out. The Argentine was again wasteful as he scuffed a glorious chance wide.
Moments later, though, Benzema squandered a similarly good opportunity – Madrid’s first since opening the scoring.
Early in the second period, Madrid showed intentions to be a good deal more aggressive and they were rewarded with chances to extend their lead. Ronaldo’s fierce header was kept out by Sirigu, though, and though Portuguese could not hook the rebound on target he soon tested the Italian with another couple of clean hits.
Marco Verratti’s appearance from the bench brought some hope to the otherwise imprecise Parisians, with the Italian’s pass setting up Lucas Moura to drive inches wide.
In truth, though, this was a rare threat from the French club and it was Madrid who came closest to the game’s second goal through Ozil and then substitute Kaka. Stoppage time brought one final opportunity, but Sirigu again denied Ronaldo, whose awkward free kick was pushed clear.
Come full-time, Ancelotti’s men were worthy winners yet PSG boss Laurent Blanc will feel relatively content with his side before their season begins in earnest next weekend with the Trophee des Champions against Bordeaux.