Champions League: Mbappe doubtful as Real Madrid prepare to face PSG

Madrid, March 8 (IANS) Real Madrid look to overturn a 1-0 first-leg defeat when they entertain Paris Saint Germain (PSG) in the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

Madrid were second-best in Paris three weeks ago, barely mustering a shot on goal and only the work of Thibaut Courtois kept PSG at bay until Kylian Mbappe scored a last-gasp winner.

All eyes will be on Mbappe in Madrid as he faces the side that looks set to sign him in the summer, although an incident in Monday’s training session which saw him receive a heavy knock on the top of his foot means the striker is a slight doubt for the game.

The match will also see Neymar and Leo Messi back in the Bernabeu, although former Real Madrid defender Serio Ramos misses out on a return due to injury.

Real Madrid’s main doubt is midfielder Toni Kroos, who is struggling to recover from a hamstring injury and missed Saturday’s easy 4-1 win at home to Real Sociedad. With Casemiro missing the game through suspension, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has to decide who will play in the midfield holding role. Fede Valverde, who has recovered from a dose of the flu will probably replace Casemiro, while Eduardo Camavinga, who scored a 30-metre drive at the weekend, is likely to start if Kroos doesn’t recover in time.

The only other doubt is who will accompany Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr in the Real Madrid attack, with Marco Asensio’s ability to snatch a goal from virtually nothing likely to get him the nod over Rodrygo or Lucas Vazquez.

Meanwhile, the defense will be Fernand Mendy, David Alaba, Eder Militao, and Dani Carvajal, with Luka Modric the one certain starter in midfield.

Real Madrid’s eight-point lead in La Liga means they can focus everything on this game and it will be a big night in the Bernabeu as Ancelotti’s men look to keep their European hopes alive.

–IANS

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