Navas saves penalty, PSG beats Club Brugge to reach last 16
PARIS (AP) — On a night when Kylian Mbappé and Paris Saint-Germain’s vaunted attack failed to click, goalkeeper Keylor Navas had to save a late penalty to secure a 1-0 home win against Club Brugge in the Champions League on Wednesday.
The victory sent PSG through to the round of 16 with four straight wins and no goals conceded, but Navas’ first penalty save of his Champions League career proved decisive in a lackluster performance.
The former Real Madrid goalie guessed correctly to smother forward Mbaye Diagne’s rather tame spot kick, having made a far more difficult save to keep out lively striker Emmanuel Bonaventure’s goal-bound effort early in the second half.
Striker Mauro Icardi continued his scoring form with the winning goal midway through the first half, but it was a tap-in and he and Mbappé had few other chances.
Brugge missed the chance to equalize in the 76th minute when Diagne won a penalty after being clumsily fouled by PSG captain Thiago Silva, but he placed his spot kick too close to Navas.
Philippe Clement was furious when Diagne failed to convert his penalty, after the Brugge coach had signaled from the sideline that club captain and midfielder Hans Vanaken should have taken the spot kick instead.
Although PSG is five points ahead of second-place Real Madrid in Group A — with 10 goals scored and none conceded — Brugge played the better football at times and PSG created few chances.
“We knew it would be a tough game, they are a courageous side who like to have possession of the ball,” PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said. “They’ve only lost twice this season and that was against us.”
PSG winger Angel Di Maria had a free kick saved by goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, and Brugge striker David Okereke went close with a curling shot in an even opening 20 minutes.
After a humiliating 2-1 defeat at last-place Dijon in the French league last Friday, PSG looked vulnerable early as an ambitious Brugge side made inroads several times down the right flank.
“I am very proud of my squad,” Clement said. “It is a long time ago a Belgian side played like this against a top team. We must take a lot of confidence from this.”
It was just as Brugge was settling into the game that Icardi scored from close range in the 22nd minute, after the defense made a mess of clearing right back Colin Dabga’s low cross.
The goal was awarded after a quick video review ruled out a possible offside for Icardi.
PSG was caught napping early in the second half and the dangerous Bonaventure drew a fine save from Navas, who was wrong-footed but sprang to his left to tip away his shot and then palmed away Okereke’s follow-up.
“We were certainly equal to Paris today. We created a number of chances and did not give too many away,” Brugge midfielder Mats Rits said. “We also missed the penalty (and) we really deserved more here today.”
Bonaventure, who scored twice in a 2-2 draw at Real Madrid last month, was lively throughout and the 21-year-old Nigerian caused problems on the counterattack with his pace and skill.
Mbappé, who scored a hat trick two weeks ago when PSG won 5-0 in Bruges, had a frustrating night at Parc des Princes and looked disappointed when he was substituted near the end.
Brugge is in third place in Group A — five points behind Madrid and one point ahead of Galatasaray — and left Paris with regrets.
“This really is annoying. We created some good chances, but did not score,” Brugge center half Brandon Mechele said. “Especially in the second half we were more in their half of the pitch then they were in ours. We deserved at least a point here. It really is a missed opportunity.”