Tuesday's round of UEFA Champions League group stage fixtures saw the first pair of teams securing assured slots in the tournament's next phase. Both Real Madrid and Manchester City now have strong enough standings in their groups that they are guaranteed of either first or second place. The Vikings, in particular, have been dynamite so far in the prestigious European tournament, with three wins and one draw under their belts so far. More impressive, Real Madrid beat PSG in 2015 UCL group stage play, Paris Saint Germain were one of the tougher opponents in this year's UCL but the Vikings held their own and took three points.

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A Tough Opponent

Indeed, Paris Saint Germain are a soccer superpower in their home country, where they've won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles. However, the football club, who have now faced Real Madrid in back-to-back Champions League matches, couldn't muster much of their trademark offensive dominance while playing against Cristiano Ronaldo and company.

That's not to say that the Parisians played poorly in their UCL bouts with Madrid. On the contrary, the first match the Real Madrid Home Shirt 2015 - 2016two teams played against one another-an October 21st fixture at PSG's Parc des Princes-was a complete dead heat. Paris Saint Germain led the game in possession, and Real Madrid led the game in terms of shots on goal, but the score ultimately ended up reading 0-0, when all was said and done.

Playing at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Tuesday, Paris Saint Germain once again topped the Vikings in terms of possession, controlling the ball for 62 percent of the match. The Parisians also racked up scoring opportunities, particularly in the first half when Blaise Matuidi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Edinson Cavani all nearly found the back of the Real Madrid net.

An Unlikely Hero

It was the home team, though, that converted one of their opportunities into a goal. At the 33rd minute, defender Jose Iglesias (better known as Nacho) took the pitch as a substitute for an apparently injured PSG Home Shirt 2015 - 2016Marcelo. As a defender, Nacho has rarely been in a position to score. He tallied a solitary regular season goal during Real's 2014 2015 La Liga campaign, and netted another in a club friendly earlier this year, but certainly hadn't ever gotten close to scoring in the Champions League.

Tuesday marked Nacho's 13th Champions League appearance for Real Madrid, and 13 was evidently his lucky number. Just two minutes after Nacho took the pitch, he got a golden opportunity. A shot on the Paris Saint Germain goal by Real's Toni Kroos was blocked and sent flying high into the air. When it finally came back down to earth, it was still in PSG's penalty area, and Nacho was there to volley it into the net.

Nacho proved to be the unlikely hero of the match for Real Madrid, as the second half came and went without either football club getting past the brick-wall work of goalkeepers Keilor Navas and Kevin Trapp. Cristiano Ronaldo-still the current top Real Madrid Third Shirt 2015 - 2016scorer for the 2015 2016 Champions League, with five goals to his name-took a long-range shot at the 50th minute, only to have it sail over the crossbar. Isco nearly put Real up 2-0 at 74 minutes but had his shot deflected by Trapp.

The oft-criticized Angel di Maria, meanwhile, was arguably the MVP for Paris Saint Germain, nearly scoring three times in the second half. Navas, doing great work in the goal, easily blocked the first but nearly let the second slip by. Di Maria's third shot meanwhile, hit the crossbar in the final minutes of the match, PSG's chances at forcing a draw dying with it.

The victory boosts Real Madrid to 10 points in the Group A standings and, as previously mentioned, secures the Spanish football club a spot in the round of 16. There are still two group stage matches to go, so it will be interesting to see what the Vikings do against Shakhtar Donetsk and Malmo FF now that the pressure is off. Rafael Benitez has been a conservative tactician since taking over as Real Madrid manager, but will he loosen up a bit now that his soccer team has less to lose?

Paris Saint Germain, meanwhile, have seven points in the Group A standings and are still a safe bet for round of 16 advancement. After all, Shakhtar and Malmo have only taken three points each from their first four fixtures.

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