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Nacho helps Madrid see off Paris to reach last 16

Real Madrid 1-0 Paris
Nacho's first-half goal split the sides and took Rafael Benítez's team through with two Group A games to spare, the visitors missing a host of chances.

2015 highlights: Real Madrid 1-0 Paris
  • Real Madrid beat Paris to secure top-two finish in Group A
  • Paris spurn number of chances in dominant first half
  • Substitute Nacho makes them pay after 35 minutes
  • Paris unable to find way past Keylor Navas, competition's only unbeaten goalkeeper
  • Next games: Shakhtar v Real Madrid, Malmö v Paris (25 November)

Real Madrid booked their place in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 as they withstood a barrage of first-half Paris Saint-Germain attacks to claim a narrow Group A victory.

The visitors took the initiative from the off and wonderful interplay down the right set the tone as Ángel Di María, back at the Santiago Bernabéu, fed the marauding Serge Aurier. Blaise Matuidi met the Ivorian's centre; Keylor Navas was equal to the midfielder's effort.

Zlatan Ibrahimović then curled two attempts just wide, but it was Madrid who struck first as they made Paris pay for their profligacy. Toni Kroos's long-range drive was deflected high into the air and though there appeared no immediate danger, goalkeeper Kevin Trapp slipped as he came to claim and defender Nacho – brought on two minutes before – volleyed into an open goal.

Paris's morale seemed unaffected as substitute Adrien Rabiot hit the post before Edinson Cavani saw his clipped shot cleared off the line with the final kick of the first period.

The second half was less frantic, the French title holders continuing to enjoy the majority of the ball without creating the same volume of chances. Di María tested Navas and rattled the bar from a free-kick with two minutes left, yet Madrid held on to secure victory and move three points clear in Group A.

Madrid show resolve
It is often said the mark of true champions is not playing well and winning and that is just what Madrid did. They stood firm despite a number of Paris threats – and at times rode their luck – to earn three points, top spot in the group and a place in the last 16 with two matchdays to spare.

Luiz bemoans 'unlucky' Paris

Strength in reserve
Losing a player in the first period is never easy, yet both Madrid and Paris replaced the injured duo of Marcelo and Marco Verratti with ease. Moments after coming on for the Brazilian, Nacho opened the scoring with what was virtually his first touch, while Rabiot showed composure in the centre of the pitch, smacking a post with an excellent volley.

Tale of two goalkeepers
Neither glovesman had conceded in this season's UEFA Champions League, but it was Navas who ended the evening as the only unbeaten custodian in the 2015/16 competition. While Trapp was caught out for Nacho's goal, Navas – who almost left Madrid in the summer – brought security and composure to his side, making two smart saves to keep his record intact.

©Getty Images
©Getty Images
©Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images
©AFP/Getty Images

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