Kylian Mbappé scored in second-half stoppage time to secure a 1-0 win for Paris Saint-Germain against Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes.
The France international latched onto a slick back heel from Neymar and held off Madrid defenders Militao and Vasquez before slotting the ball through the legs of the Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Mbappé’s strike spared the blushes of Lionel Messi who missed a penalty in the 62nd minute.
“It was almost a very good night,” Courtois told British broadcaster BT Sport.
“Obviously Messi takes a lot of penalties so it’s hard to guess right but I went left and made a good save.
“The goal was a bit annoying. We lost the ball in midfield, then Mbappé goes away easily from two players. You have to close the angle so I went down as fast as I could to block, but the ball went in just the right space under my body.”
PSG, fielding Messi behind Angel Di Maria on the right and Mbappé on the left, had the first chance of the encounter after Mbappé scampered down the left wing and pulled the ball back for Di Maria.
However the Argentine lashed wastefully over the bar.
Madrid failed to take notice. And the hosts continued to dominate possession but were held at bay.
After the pause, PSG continued to press Madrid who finally succumbed. Just after the hour mark, Daniel Carvajal clipped Mbappé as he sped into the penalty area and referee Daniele Orsato pointed to the spot.
But Messi messed up the occasion. His shot to the bottom right hand corner was parried away for a corner.
Ten minutes later Neymar entered the fray for his first taste of action after three months out with an ankle injury. The world’s most expensive footballer was instantly in the mix drawing a foul just outside the Madrid penalty area.
But that assault too was beaten away as Madrid kept possession without attempting to penetrate the PSG rearguard.
And just as it appeared that Carlo Ancelotti’s men had secured a draw to take back to the Santiago Bernabeu on 9 March, Neymar combined with Mbappé to display what 400 million euros worth of attacking talent can yield.
“It’s a bit hard to take after such a game,” added Courtois. “Even with a draw we would have had to win at home. But we believe and we are sure we can win.”
PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino, reflecting on the night, hailed his players’ resilience. “Of course missing the penalty was a blow but the team kept on going and kept on believing right until the very end. I am pleased with their performance.”
In the night’s other game, last season’s beaten finalists Manchester City thrashed Sporting Portugal 5-0.
Portugal international Bernardo Silva bagged a brace in the rout at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon. Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling scored City’s other goals.