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3 things we learned from Real Madrid's narrow win over Paris Saint-Germain

Real Madrid were lucky to beat Paris Saint-Germain in a close game at the Bernabéu.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Real Madrid guaranteed qualification for the Champions League knockout stages with two games to spare as they recorded a 1-0 victory at home to Paris Saint-Germain at the Bernabéu on Tuesday. Nacho scored the only goal of the game in rather fortuitous fashion late in the first half, with the hosts on the back foot for the majority of the encounter.

PSG were dominant throughout the first half, going close to scoring several times before Madrid delivered their sucker punch. The first chance came after some good work down the right by Serge Aurier, though it culminated in a tame shot by Blaise Matuidi from the edge of the area. Zlatan Ibrahimović twice went closer in the following few minutes, though both his low shot from inside the box and his ambitious long-range free kick flashed just wide.

The visitors were eventually punished for their wastefulness with 10 minutes of the half remaining, courtesy of a cruel fluke goal by substitute Nacho. The left back had only been on the pitch a couple of minutes after an injury to his teammate Marcelo, but he found himself in the right place at the right time to volley a deflected Toni Kroos shot past a stranded Kevin Trapp for 1-0.

PSG's response was strong, with Adrien Rabiot's low volley rattling the post almost instantly. Minutes later left back Maxwell swung a lethal deep cross into the Madrid penalty area, though both Edinson Cavani and Ibrahimović failed to make the requisite contact. The final chance of the half came deep in stoppage time --  after taking receipt of a pinpoint pass by Ángel Di María, Cavani was thwarted by Keylor Navas in the one-on-one.

The French side continued in the ascendancy into the second half, but without having the goal to show for it. As the clock ticked on, the intensity that had characterized PSG's  play began to fade. Isco could've killed the game off inside the final 20 minutes, though he was denied from point-blank range by the legs of Trapp. The German shot-stopper was called into action again a few minutes later, beating Kroos' near-post drive to safety.

There was still time for one final effort for the visitors, but Di María smashed a stunning free kick against the crossbar. It was the story of PSG's evening: Close, but not quite close enough.

Real Madrid: Navas; Marcelo (Nacho 33'), Ramos, Varane, Danilo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modrić; Jesé (Vázquez 63'), Ronaldo, Isco (Kovačić 82').

Goals: Nacho (35').

Paris Saint-Germain: Trapp; Maxwell, Luiz, Silva, Aurier; Matuidi (Lucas 75'), Motta, Verratti (Rabiot 17'); Cavani, Ibrahimović, Di María.

Goals: None.

3 Things

1. Ángel Di María should be a good addition for PSG

Despite their significant riches, PSG have often struggled to serve up exciting football. They've regularly demonstrated rather turgid attacking fare, not helped by their long-running and mostly unsuccessful attempt to find a position in which Cavani can thrive alongside Ibrahimović. However, this game was different, and proved they can still be an entertaining team to watch. The addition of Di María adds a dynamism and quality that they've often lacked in the final third, and the Argentine is capable of oiling what can be a painfully static attack. They don't yet look like serious Champions League contenders, but they may well be getting there.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo just isn't as effective as a center forward

The conventional logic is that Cristiano Ronaldo (providing he is human, a fact yet to be confirmed) will eventually lose the pace required of a brilliant winger, and eventually become a good center forward instead. However, until that happens, it seems a complete waste playing him as a lone striker. He's been used as such in both group games against PSG, and hasn't been as involved in either as Madrid supporters would like. It makes it much harder for him to receive the ball in space, and severely limits the pace with which the Merengues can counter-attack. Wake up, Rafa!

3. Who needs David de Gea?!