In the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 matchup between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, the French team were dominating the tie with Kylian Mbappe at the helm. Although the game ended in favor of Los Blancos, thanks to the brilliance of Karim Benzema, it was a difficult task subduing Mbappe.
The Real Madrid defenders had a difficult time containing Mbappe, who ran rings over them all night. His pace was the main threat for the PSG offense, who took every opportunity to give the 23-year-old a chance to stretch his legs. His effort resulted in a goal six minutes before the end of the first half to give PSG the lead.
Not much can be done to slow down Mbappe, but the Madrid defense was woeful in the first half, to say the least, and Embiid could not hide his frustration. The self-acclaimed best soccer player in the NBA took to Twitter to point out the tactical misstep:
“Why does Carvajal insist on playing so high against Mbappe out of all people?”
Coming off the left flank, Mbappe has had green grass ahead of him every time he gets on his bike, mainly because Carvajal played high up for most of the game. It is understandable Madrid needed to play higher up for a chance to win after conceding late in the first-leg. But their high press came back to bite as Mbappe put the French team ahead 1-nil at halftime.
Sixty-six minutes into the game, Madrid coach Carlos Ancelotti eventually called Carvajal to the bench. However, that bore fruit for the Spanish side as their defense looked shored up, and the Frenchman was not given any room to operate.
Joel Embiid and Kylian Mbappe are both dominating their respective leagues
Mbappe has netted 14 times in 28 appearances this season and is the third-best scorer in the French Ligue 1. Embiid, on the other hand, is bossing the NBA, leading the league in scoring with 29.7 points per game.
The Cameroonian is the leading candidate to win the MVP award this season due to his scintillating performances. Injuries have hindered Embiid’s progress a great deal in his career, but it is all coming together for the big man this season.
With James Harden joining the Sixers from the Brooklyn Nets at the Feb. 10 trade deadline, Embiid stands a great chance of winning his first championship. As things stand, the Sixers are heavy favorites to advance from the East.
The Sixers’ next game is on Thursday against the Nets, who are slowly getting back in stride. Embiid would have to show out once again to assert dominance against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.